Buddha drawing

Little known facts about the Buddha


By Gayla Patrick

Did you know Buddha sported a man bun?

Reportedly, Buddha’s acorn-like hairdo has been mistakenly identified as snails. Legend claims that the snails would cover his head on their own accord to either keep it warm or to keep it cool. However, this is not the case at all. Rather, his ancient hairstylists were actually artists from an early Buddhist territory called Gandhara which is now what we refer to as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Apparently, curly hair tied up in a knot at the top of the head was the happening style of the times. The portrayal of Buddha with a man bun was impacted by art from Persia, Greece, and Rome before making its way into Chinese culture where the curls became known as knobs or snails with the top representative of all the wisdom in the Buddha’s head.

Did you know Buddha was into lobe gauging?

It was a common practice to pierce and stretch the lobes in ancient India. Youngsters would have their ears pierced at an early on and as they grew, so did the size of the clay cylinders studded in their earlobes. This trendy practice of the way past left the recipients with elongated lobes.

Once the Buddha renounced his worldly ways, he removed his ear plugs but was left with the aftermath. To hear the Chinese tale it (yes, I meant that), the Buddha’s humongous ears are another indicator of his wisdom and great compassion. He went from hip to holy, Just. Like. That.

Did you know Buddha….um, well, uh….there’s not any delicate way to put it so: When the Buddha was a mere 16 years old, he married his first cousin of the same age.

That’s right—he wed his father’s sister’s daughter. Of course back in the day and in this particular region of the world, marriages were arranged and marrying family members was preferential in royalty.

And get this! After having a childless marriage for quite some time, Buddha left his princehood and his family shortly after the birth of his only child to seek nirvana.  Later, after his epic awakening, Buddha retrieved his family and brought them to the monastery. His son became a monk at the tender age of seven. Maybe the rest of us should just enlighten up!

Did you know Buddha sat motionless under a tree for 49 days?

Apparently, he vowed to stay under a pipal tree (a.k.a bodhi tree, sacred fig, ashwattha, yada, yada, yada…) until he reached enlightenment. And he did. He discovered and coined the “Middle Way” after that, claiming that extremes of either self subduing or self indulging were not the paths he sought.

Rumor has it he meditated and fasted for those 49 live-long-days. Now who wouldn’t be screaming, “There’s got to be a better way!!”?

Did you know Buddha had a tooth pulled post mortem?

Allegedly, his tooth was extracted at some point during the cremation process and is now located in Sri Lanka. This semi-famous specimen is housed at a Buddhist temple honorably deemed the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.

Now here’s something even more ironic: said temple is in a royal palace complex formerly known as the Kingdom of Kandy. Currently, the city that guards this rotten tooth is simply called Kandy. Word on the street for centuries has been, “Whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country.” That must be some sweet tooth!


gayla-patrickGayla Patrick is somewhat of a gypsy. She originated from Illinois, but wanderlust has carried her far and wide. She has a bachelor’s in psychology and sociology along with teaching certificates in TEFL/ESL and Montessori. Her chosen occupations as a teacher and a writer have allowed her to travel abroad and experience cultures vastly different from her own. Currently, she’s hanging out with a friendly neighbor to the north enjoying the sights and sounds of Windsor, Ontario, doing some freelance writing, working on a novel and recovering from a bout with breast cancer. She also loves nature and critters of all kind—especially elephants, drawing and painting, crocheting and cooking. She thoroughly enjoys Facebooking with people, old and new, from all walks of life, and is a singer/songwriter. She meditates, irregularly, often using binaural beats and isochronic tones and finds meaningful discussion on metaphysics and philosophy engaging.

Photo: (source)

Editor: Dana Gornall