The countenance of the Buddha is like the clear full moon,
Or again, like a thousand suns releasing their splendor.
His eyes are pure, as large and as broad as a blue lotus.
His teeth are white, even and close, as snowy as white jade.
The Buddha’s virtues resemble the boundless ocean.
Infinite wonderful jewels are amassed within it.
The calm, virtuous water of wisdom always fills it.
Hundreds and thousands of supreme concentrations throng it.
The marks of the wheel beneath his feet are all elegant —
The hub, the rim, and the thousand spokes which are all even.
The webs on his hands and his feet are splendid in all parts —
He is fully endowed with markings like the king of geese….
His marks and signs are as unfathomable as the sky.
And they surpass a thousand suns releasing their splendor.
All like a flame or a phantom are inconceivable.
Thus I bow my head to him whose mind has no attachments. — “In Praise of the Buddha,” from the Suvarnaprabhasa-Sutra
The Suvarnaprabhasa Sutra — also known as the Golden Light Sutra — is part of the large body of Buddhist sacred literature. Divided into Sutras (discourses), Vinaya (rules for monastic discipline) and Abhidharma (analytical texts), Buddhist sacred texts provided a mixture of practical and mystical instruction. As part of the “Confession Sutra,” the Golden Light Sutra seeks to foster the practice of confession of faults among Buddhists. Particularly influential among Japanese Buddhists, it provided a model for the well-run state, which the Japanese emperors used to legitimize and strengthen their rule.