Your Spiritual Journey

Factcheck : Story of Buddha’s head and 108 snails

There is a popular internet legend that Buddha’s head which is often depicted with curls is actually not his hair but 108 snails that died protecting Buddha.

This story is completely fake and has not scriptural basis what so ever. The first instance of this story appears in books around 1850s. It is worth noting that Buddha and Buddhism are one of the most international aspected of Hinduism which spread wide an far and consistent with Dharmic beliefs blended itself with local culture, religions and traditions in a seemless way. It is possible that the story of snails on Buddha’s head might be one such adaption to some local legend.

The oldest statues of Buddha are from 1st century onwards and mostly found in the Gandhara (modern day Kandahara of Afghanistan) region. These depict Buddha as clean shaven but with long hair tied up like typical Hindu sage.

Seated Buddha from Gandhara - Wikipedia

His hair are not straight but curly. These curls got depicted in many ways throughout history and some artists simplified it by just putting wavy texture on Buddha’s head which many people misunderstood for snails.


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