Sunday, July 3, 2022

🔗📝 collection of notes on 'nāga'


Most general definition of 'nāga' = 'giant'

AN 6.43 gives a great gloss of 'nāga'. It can be a 'giant' elephant, 'giant' serpent, 'giant' man, even a 'giant' tree.

🔗📝 collection of notes on AN 6.43 and KN Thag 15.2, a great gloss of 'Nāga', doing jhāna in all 4 postures

'nāga' can also be the Buddha, or any arahant

See AN 6.43 again, where the Buddha adds to the definition of  'nāga' by including people who are 'giants' in the sense of virtue and spiritual attainment.

'nāga' is a real, living breathing dragon, not a 'mythological' serpent

Why do pāḷi dictionaries always say a nāga/dragon is 'mythological'?
The suttas talk about dragons as real animals, not imaginary myth. Such as SN 46.1
SN 46.1 - 🔗🔊 Himavanta: Himalayas: STED 7sb formula with a beautiful simile of mighty dragon descending from himalayas

Not to mention the existence of crocodiles, dinosaurs, some of which flew, in prehistoric times, and the fact that the oceans contain way more volume than all the land mass we've explored, and we know for sure there are all kinds of unidentified animal life forms down there in the unexplored depths.

Is the Buddha mythological too just because you never met one? Is the Arahant mythological? Are expert meditators (of all religions) who've seen dragons delusional or mythological? 

There are 12 zodiac signs and the order goes like this: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Each animal has its own unique characteristics. Interestingly, the Chinese Zodiac came about when the Jade Emperor wanted to select 12 animals to be his guards

In the Vinaya, it stipulates shape shifting dragons are not allowed to ordain as Bhikkhu monk
... Once a Naga, a powerful serpent who can take the form of a human being, was mistakenly ordained as a monk. Shortly after, when asleep in his hut, the naga returned to the shape of a huge snake. The monk who shared the hut was somewhat alarmed when he woke up to see a great snake sleeping next to him! The Lord Buddha summoned the naga and told him he may not remain as a monk, at which the utterly disconsolate snake began to weep. The snake was given the Five Precepts as the means to attaining a human existence in his next life when he can then be a monk. Then out of compassion for the sad snake, the Lord Buddha said that from then on all candidates for the monkhood be called 'Naga' as a consolation. They are still called 'Naga' to this day.   

pāḷi dictionary should be based on pāḷi suttas, not modern man's prejudice and ignorance

If nothing else, the pāḷi dictionaries are based on the pāḷi suttas , and if the suttas and vinaya bhikkhu rules treat dragons as real, then the dictionary should as well.

Forum discussion

JamesTheGiant wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 11:56 amSo dragons are real? Talking, flying, magical-powered shape-changing dragons that we read about in the suttas?
And not in some other realm, but actually on our Earth about 2500 years ago.

There's a strange discrimination against nāga (dragon) that isn't there for other not easily verifiable things in the suttas.
Are the heaven of the 4 great kings mythological?
Heaven of 33?
Any devas and ghosts?

Brahma, many other deva realms can change their appearance at will, taking on humanoid, animal form.
Why is it hard to believe nāgas (who are supposed to have excellent samādhi and psychic power) can do so as well?

The vinaya has a rule preventing a dragon (who temporarily took human form) from ordaining as a bhikkhu.
Is that a myth too?

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