The Buddha's body is probably not "straight like Brahma"

Among the 32 marks of the great man, we find brahmujugatta, usually translated as “his body is as straight as that of Brahmā".

However it seems that here we have an adjective from √brah + ma, equivalent to the Sanskrit bṛṃh, having the sense “grown, extended” or in this case, “tall”. Thus we should translate, “his body is tall and straight” or something similar.

The commentary consistently glosses this phrase with:

Brahmujugattoti brahmā viya ujugatto, ujumeva uggatadīghasarīro
Brahmujugatta means as straight as Brahmā, his body is quite straight and grown long.

Thus it admits of both explanations.

This sense of brahma is not found in Cone’s DoP, which treats this phrase under the normal brahma. I noticed it due to the Digital Pāli Dictionary, an excellent resource which, as here, sometimes contains senses missed in other dictionaries.


I’m tempted to start a folk etymology that this is the origin of “Burma” :laughing:

For those interested


Have you been using it? I find it really helpful!

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I have, but obviously I’m not using it at anywhere near the level you are.

Bhante, is it possible Brahma in this case means that he just as tall as the sky? Because people only could have looked his face up in the sky. So Brahma here tall as heaven? Or heavenly? Meaning beautiful.