Hello Retro, all,
This small extract may help:
From notes by Maurice Walshe to his translation of the Sutta in the Digha Nikaaya (DN. 30) p. 610 - 611:
"This Sutta may seem the most uninteresting and unedifying of the entire Nikaaya. Yet, properly considered, it has its interest, first, as an example of the forms Buddhist propaganda was perhaps sometimes obliged to assume, and also from the point of view of iconography, as some of the marks came to be depicted in images of the Buddha; the great reclining Buddha-figure in Wat Pho in Bangkok is a well-known example.
RD (Rhys Davids) has a wide-ranging introduction tracing the possible origins of such marks, which clearly must have been important in the minds of influential Brahmins in the time of the Buddha (see, e.g. DN 3). However, later Brahmin tradition has preserved very little about them. Certainly, many of them seem quite arbitrary and even difficult to distinguish clearly. Nevertheless, there are more traces of their influence in later Buddhist writing (and, as observed, iconography) than RD is anxious to admit, and there are even 'eighty minor marks' mentioned in addition to the thirty-two major ones here listed.
Both lists, major and minor, are found in the Dharma-sa.mgraha (de. Kenjiu Kasawara and F. Max Muller, 1885, rep. Delhi 1981), carefully collated with the lists as they occur in the present Sutta and elsewhere.
RD remarks that 'most of the marks are so absurd, considered as marks of any human, that they are probaby mythological in origin, and three or four seem to be solar'. He adds that 'our Suttanta seems gravely ironical in the contrast it makes between the absurdity of the marks and the beauty of the ethical qualities they are supposed, in the Suttanta, to mean.' But it must be added that, however absurdly as regards the details, they are intended to show the relation between action and karmic result, and they could have been used pedagogically to inculcate this lesson. Scholars are agreed on the fairly obvious fact that this is one of the latest texts in the Nikaaya, and this is even hinted at in the commentary itself. The verses, ascribed to Aananda, show an exceptionally wide variety of metres, but all of late types. It is possible that someone tried to give this unpromising material some literary grace by dexterous versification. I considered trying to reproduce the different metrical forms in translation, but decided this was beyong my powers. Perhaps some translator will attempt this one day."
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---