Gods are hot. Right? They’re perfect, so in addition to being all-knowing and all-powerful, it totally makes sense that they’d be all-attractive. Just look at Apollo’s abs. Stare at them for a while.
Apollo, the God of Rippedness
But forget the Greeks! Forget the Romans! And leave aside my weird childhood crush on the pictures of Jesus in my teen bible!
Jesus is totes crushworthy
Because the religion you would least suspect of caring about physical beauty has got a total lock on Cosmo-style checklist obsessiveness about pretty deities. That’s right: the Buddhists have a tradition of listing the Thirty-two Major Characteristics and the 80 Minor Characteristics of the
Buddha. These lists, detailed in ancient sutras and other Buddhist writings, describe the features that make the Buddha and his numerous reincarnations and manifestations so Hollywood glam. And it’s not just the Buddha – if you’re particularly saintly, you might even have or develop some of the characteristics, too.
Some of the characteristics are pretty standard-issue for a deity, like number 15, having a golden aura spread in a ten-foot diameter all around his body (because a mere 9 feet of golden light is just not enough) and number 8, having “thighs like a royal stag” (p.s., turns out that this is not as good a compliment to give your boyfriend as you might think).
But some of the characteristics are a little more special. Take number 32, having an “ushnisha” on the crown of the head. I always thought that Buddha statues showed him with some sort of awesome bun on the top of his head, but nope – it’s actually supposed to be a “fleshy protuberance” growing out of his skull (which is covered in hair because, duh, having really awesome hair is also a characteristic of the Buddha). Hopefully this isn’t one of the characteristics you will develop.
The Buddha is hotter than you
Also, that dot on the Buddha’s forehead? That’s another characteristic, and is called the “urna.” It symbolizes the third eye, but sources say that what the Buddha actually had in the middle of his forehead was a “whorl of hair,” which sounds like something that the plumber pulls out of your drain and then makes you come look at (seriously, why do they always call me in to look? I knew it was hair that was making my bathtub drain so slowly! If you pull up a unicorn, let me know, but otherwise I’m good!).
Another style the Buddha is rocking is big, long, stretched-out earlobes. You might think that they look like the ears of sad hipsters who have removed their ear gages… and you would be 100% correct. Turns out that the Buddha, back when he was a mere human, Prince Siddharta, who had not yet achieved enlightenment, wore heavy golden, jeweled earrings, as was the fashion when you were an ancient Indian prince. When he entered into his quest for spirituality, he removed the earrings along with the rest of his fancy stuff, but they had been so heavy that they stretched out his earlobes. So don’t be sad, hipsters who used to have ear gauges!
Man with Buddha Ears
Characteristic five is that the Buddha had “finely webbed” toes and fingers. Basically, the Buddha was Spiderman. Makes a lot of sense. What doesn’t make as much sense to me is characteristic ten, which describes the Buddha as having a “well-retracted male organ.” I was going to Google that, but then panicked and thought that all I would get was porn. Steampunk fetish porn. I don’t want that kind of thing on my computer. Plus why do I want to think about the Buddha’s naughty bits? Or his non-naughty bits, actually, if they were retracted that far. Wait, was the Buddha a potential contender on Ru Paul’s Drag Race?
Ok, I Googled “Buddha genitals” and got this explaination from a Buddhist text, the Gaṇḍhavyūha, of why having a retracted penis is a good thing: “[The Buddha’s] genitals were ensheathed, well hidden deep in the body as with a thoroughbred elephant or stallion. Even when naked, any woman, man, youth or girl, old, middle-aged or young person, whether lustful or potentially lustful, on seeing him would not have even the least desire.” Oooooooh. So the Buddha can be super-hot, but won’t cause anyone to sin in their hearts by desiring his bumpy, lobed-out, strangely haired body. I gotcha.
The Buddha’s junk is not junky
And the last major characteristic I’ll mention is number 26, “saliva that improves the taste of all food.” I want that. I could live on tofu that tasted like chocolate.
The 80 Minor Characteristics are, by contrast to the Major Characteristics, a little picky and also more obscure, like when they have those highly technical conversations on America’s Next Top Model about the shape of someone’s collarbones. For example, one of them is that the Buddha’s “knees have no protruding kneecaps” which is totally something that a supermodel hopeful would have written on her resume. However, one of the Minor Characteristics is “he has no right elbow” which is kinda blowing my mind and, for reasons unknown, making me think of
the Buddha as being like Inspector Gadget.
So, in essence, the Buddha was a hard-bodied celestial ex-hipster foodie/ potential drag queen. Sounds like he might be hanging out in my coffee shop in Williamsburg right now. I’d better get down there and start flirting before his current reincarnation decides to abandon soy lattes and achieve enlightenment. I’ll recognize him by the hair growing out of the middle of his forehead, and no deeply-sheathed penis is going to stop me…