Author Topic: What is a Naga?  (Read 28870 times)

Roberto

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What is a Naga?
« on: September 07, 2011, 07:36:44 PM »
I saw in a post just now, that even the "Naga's" came to receive teachings from the Buddha.

Were they a different race of people from another part of India?

WisdomBeing

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Re: What is a Naga?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2011, 09:40:07 AM »
i believe that Nagas are serpent-like creatures who live in or near water places. i personally like snakes very much and have been fascinated by them. I find it interesting that snakes have appeared in all religions, from the proverbial Satanic serpent in the garden of Eden to Hindu mythology to folklore from Scandinavia, Mexico, ancient Babylon etc.

Anyway, as i presume that you are interested in the Nagas of the Buddhist tradition, I found this article which may be useful: http://www.khandro.net/mysterious_naga.htm

The word Naga comes from the Sanskrit, and nag is still the word for snake, especially the cobra, in most of the languages of India. When we come upon the word in Buddhist writings, it is not always clear whether the term refers to a cobra, an elephant (perhaps this usage relates to its snake-like trunk, or the pachyderm's association with forest-dwelling peoples of north-eastern India called Nagas,) or even a mysterious person of nobility.  It is a term used for unseen beings associated with water and fluid energy, and also with persons having powerful animal-like qualities or conversely, an impressive animal with human qualities.

Mythology

In myths, legends, scripture and folklore, the category naga comprises all kinds of serpentine beings.  Under this rubric are snakes, usually of the python kind (despite the fact that naga is usually taken literally to refer to a cobra,) deities of the primal ocean and of mountain springs; also spirits of earth and the realm beneath it, and finally, dragons.

In Indian mythology, Nagas are primarily serpent-beings living under the sea.  However, Varuna, the Vedic god of storms, is viewed as the King of the Nagas, ie. Nagarajah.

All nagas are considered the offspring of the Rishi or sage, Kasyapa, the son of Marichi.  Kashyapa is said to have had by his twelve wives, other diverse progeny including reptiles, birds, and all sorts of living beings. They are denizens of the netherworld city called Bhogavati.  It is believed that ant-hills mark its entrance.

The naga-Varuna connection is retained in Tibetan Buddhism, where Varuna, lord of weather, is known as Apalala Nagarajah.

As a category of nature spirit:

"Nagas [kLu] are a class of beings (often snake-like in form) that dwell in a variety of locations ranging from waterways and underground locations and also in unseen realms. These beings have their own perceptions and vary in their enlightened level as do humans and other beings. Nagas are susceptible to suffering created by mankind's carelessness and basic ignorance of proper conduct in nature and disrespectful actions in relation to our environment. Therefore Nagas often retaliate towards humans when they behave in such ignorant manners. The expression of the Nagas' discontent and agitation can be felt as skin diseases, various calamities and so forth.

Additionally, Nagas can bestow various types of wealth, assure fertility of crops and the environment as well as decline these blessings. For this reason the practice of Lu Sang has been developed or arises as a natural method to increase prosperity, and assist the Nagas by preserving the positive qualities of their natural environment." ~ Tsewang Ngodrup Rinpoche

The bodhisattva Manjushri, in wrathful form, can appear as Nagaraksha (Tib: jam.pal lu'i drag.po).

Nagas and Water

Water symbolizes primordial Wisdom and in psychoanalysis, the storehouse that is the unconscious mind.  However, to paraphrase Sigmund Freud commenting on the interpretation of symbols in dreams, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."  That is, the water in naga lore is really wet.

In the language of Kashmir, the word for "a spring" is naga and, in fact, nagas are considered the earliest inhabitants of that region.  In a sense this is borne out by geology since that valley was once

"a vast span of water, similar to a huge dam, walled in by high mountains. The Nilamatapurana records how the valley was elevated out of water and left under the care of the Nagas, of whom Nila, the son of Kashyapa, was the chief."  Kashmir is named after Kashyapa where "the term ‘naga’ stands for spring; 'chesmah,' and 'negin' for small spring.  Springs are the main source of water in Kashmir."  And "the auspicious and famous river of Kashmir, the Vitasta (Jhelum) originates from a spring near Verinag and is responsible for the water supply to most parts of the valley.  The religious significance of the river is established by the Nilamata Purana [Myth of the Indigo Goddess] when it records the entire land of Kashmir as the material manifestation of Uma and describes her as the divine form of the Vitasta."

"A large number of temples were built near springs and were dedicated to the worship of nagas." and "These places have become great centres of religious pilgrimage. The place names of certain areas, e.g. Verinag, Anantnag and Seshanag even today remind one of the intimate relations between the valley and the popularity of the Naga cult. The Rajatarangini of Kalhana mentions Sushravas and Padma Nagas, who were tutelary deities connected with the Wular lake. The Dikpalas of Kashmir are believed to be four nagas, viz. Bindusara in the east, Srimadaka in the south, Elapatra in the west and Uttarmansa in the north."

Many Kashmiri festivals relate to Naga worship, "for example during the first snowfall, Nila, the Lord of Nagas, is worshipped.  The Nagas are also propitiated in April and are related to Iramanjari Puja and to Varuna Panchmi, which is organised in July-August."   And "in the darker half of the month of Jyeshtha, when a big festival is organised to propitiate the king Taksakyatra. The Nilamatapurana listed 527 Nagas that were worshipped in Kashmir. In the account of Abul Fazal, the court historian of Akbar, there are references to seven hundred places sacred to serpents."

The purana also points to the association of the cult of Nagas with that of Shiva.  In the Mahabharata and Harivamsa texts, Shesha was considered the son of Shiva.  A lesser relation was developed with regard to Vishnu as in his sheshashayi form which links the primal waters with the sleeping Vishnu.  Also, Balarama who is Krishna's elder brother is the personification of the snake, Ananta. 

Kashmiri names such as Vishnasar and Krishnasar are Vaishnavite ones where the suffix sar means 'reservoir.'  Even though Kashmir may be Muslim-dominated in contemporary times, a spring is  "understood as naga and enjoys the respect of every religion."

"The prosperity goddess, Lakshmi, is said to have taken the form of the river Visoka (now known as the Vishov) to purify the people of Kashmir. Most probably, treating springs and rivers with great reverence wittingly or unwittingly resulted in the ecological balance necessary for a healthy and natural interaction between the environment and man." 

" . . . every naga has a snake as its guardian deity. Fishing is prohibited in these springs, though the fish which come out of the main garbha [den, lair] of a naga can be caught.  Restrictions on fishing have definitely helped to some extent to preserve water ecology."

"Hindus still propitiate these nagas. At Martanda Naga even srada is performed. Water is offered by Hindus to the Sun God and to their ancestors (purvaj).  Before having darshan of the snow linga at Amarnatha a holy dip is essential in the Seshanaga.  A person suffering from a skin disease is said to be cured after having a bath in Gandhakanaga (sulphur spring) at Naghbal, Anantnag."

"Muslims show their respect for these nagas in many ways. They offer sacrifices and organise fairs on many festivals such as Id, [e]ven they do not catch fish in these nagas. Their faith in nagas can further be established by an example from Anantnag district, where during days of water scarcity or extra rainfall, people offer sacrifices to the Vasuk Naga (the water of which remains in the valley during summer only and disappears in winter.)  They have full faith that offerings to Vasuk will bring rain or stop it as desired."

~ B. Malla,  Water Resources and Their Management in Kashmir

In Thai symbolism, naga and makara are closely linked.

Naga Mythology

Vasuki [also Basuki,] the naga king, has the gem, Nagamani, on/in his head.  It is a universal panacea [cure-all] and is a bestower of fortune. 

Manasa Devi, the serpent goddess, is Vasuki's sister.  She is mostly identified with the cobra, but she can cure any snakebite; indeed, any adversity.  A popular Indian film shows Manasa coming to visit a man in his prison cell.  She drinks his offering of milk, then leaves, opening the cell for him on her way out.

Now the maternal naga ancestor, Kadru, once enslaved Vinata, mother of birds.  To ransom her, the Garuda stole amrita, the elixir of immortality, from the gods. Before the serpents could even have a taste, Indra stole it back again, however, a few drops of amrita fell to earth.  The serpents slid through it which is why their skin now has the capacity of renewal.

The grass upon which the nectar fell explains why serpents have forked tongues.  Although they did not get to drink the amrita, the split in their tongues caused by the sharp-edged  dharba [or, durva] grass provided them a blessing in disguise.  According to Kurt Schwenk, ("Why snakes have forked tongues," Science vol. 263, 1994)  the evolutionary success of advanced snakes is partly due to their special tongues.  The forked tongue allows the snake to simultaneously sample two points along a chemical gradient, which is helpful in instantaneous assessment of trail location.  It may also play a role in mating.

Naga and Fertility

Because of its shape and its association with renewal, the serpent is a phallic symbol.  This powerful emblem of fertility is thought to bring plentiful harvests and many children -- images of nagas adorn houses and shrines and temples.  It is said that when a king once banned snake worship, his kingdom suffered a drought, but the rains returned once the king himself placated Vasuki.

Above is a naga stone erected in anticipation or in gratitude for blessings received.

Role of the Naga in Buddhism

Nagas are said to have raised their hoods to protect the Buddha, and other jinas [spiritual victors] like the Jain saint Parshva.  However, at least 1500 years before Buddha Shakyamuni's enlightenment when Ananta or Muchilinda with his many heads sheltered him, the mythic image of nagas doing homage to a great yogi was well-known.

Many examples of the naga association with the Buddha appear on the walls and along an avenue leading to the temple of Ankhor Wat in Kampuchea (formerly, Cambodia) and also in Buddhist temples in Shri Lanka (formerly, Ceylon.) 

Nag'arjuna

The Indian mahasiddha, Nagarjuna, received his illuminating insights and tantric empowerment with the help of the nagas in the lake beside which he meditated.  Nagarjuna is one of the main champions of Buddhist philosophy, and is traditionally portrayed with a sunshade or halo formed by a multi-headed serpent.  He is called the Second Buddha, partly in tribute to his having established the Madhyamaka [Middle-Way, ie. neither materialist nor nihilist nor idealist] school of philosophy.

As there are serpents in Tibet, and nagas known as kLu play a role in the symbolism of Himalayan Buddhism and in Tibetan mythology, so Nagarjuna is known as Lu-trub.

The tradition of Sera Monastery holds that when Sakya Yeshe was on his way back from visiting China, it so happened that the set of Tengyur (Buddhist scriptures) donated by the emperor fell into the water while the party was fording a river. The travellers could see that the texts were hopelessly lost and so, distraught, they continued on their way back to Sera.

When the caravan finally got back, the monks told them that just before their return, an old man with attendants had visited Sera and presented a set of scriptures to the monastery.  He said that he was delivering it for Sakya Yeshe.  It was believed that the old man was really a Naga king, for when the texts were examined, it was found that they were still a bit damp.

The traditional life-story [Tibetan: namthar] of Niguma, the female companion of Naropa, begins during the time of one of the earliest Buddhas in a region covered by water ruled by a great Naga King.  This Naga was an accomplished and compassionate disciple of that Buddha and gave his permission for the miraculous drying up the water for the purpose of erecting a great temple and monastery.  A bustling city grew up around these which acquired a certain reputation, and came to be called The Land of Great Magic. This is the place that Niguma was born.

Niguma developed the powerful tantric techniques referred to as the Five Dharmas of Niguma.  The best known is called the Dream Yoga of Niguma.  Her disciple, Naljor, is considered the head of the Shangpa Kagyu denomination of Tibetan Buddhism.
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thor

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Re: What is a Naga?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2011, 07:50:48 PM »
WB has given an exhaustive run down of what Nagas are, thank you! Apart from what has been written, my only encounter with nagas is with naga wealth vases, and well as naga possessions. As Nagas are considered worldly beings, those dealing with them should be quite careful not to offend, as they can be very touchy, i heard. Nagas have a particular affiinity with Chenrezig too.

Roberto

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Re: What is a Naga?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2011, 07:58:49 PM »
Heck... Naga possession. I assume you mean "snake". How interesting, animals possessing humans. I'm used to the western form of possession with the devil and exorcism, but what about this. how would you get rid of a Naga possession? Is it like anaconda the movie if you came face to face with one?

Dolce Vita

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Re: What is a Naga?
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2012, 02:06:27 AM »
I was told that if we contract skin diseases, it is because we have offended the nagas? What do we do when we have offended the nagas?

Positive Change

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Re: What is a Naga?
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2012, 08:55:38 AM »
I find Nagas facinating. In fact I find anything "mystical" fasinating especially if there are documented "proof" of its existence even though I may not have seen one in the flesh myself. Here are some excerpts I found online which is interesting because it shows that even though prevalent in Buddhism and Hinduism, it is also very much a cultural "interest" and part of one's history especially in South East Asia. Why? I suppose these cultures still preserve the rich heritage they have whereas the West has unfortunately "forgotten" or suppressed their past. Do take a read:

IN BUDDHISM:
Traditions about n?gas are also very common in all the Buddhist countries of Asia. In many countries, the n?ga concept has been merged with local traditions of great and wise serpents or dragons. In Tibet, the n?ga was equated with the klu, wits that dwell in lakes or underground streams and guard treasure. In China, the n?ga was equated with the lóng or Chinese dragon.

The Buddhist n?ga generally has the form of a great cobra-like snake, usually with a single head but sometimes with many. At least some of the n?gas are capable of using magic powers to transform themselves into a human semblance. In Buddhist painting, the n?ga is sometimes portrayed as a human being with a snake or dragon extending over his head. One n?ga, in human form, attempted to become a monk; when telling it that such ordination was impossible, the Buddha told it how to ensure that it would be reborn a man, able to become a monk.

In the 'Devadatta' chapter of the Lotus Sutra, an eight year old female Naga, after listening to Manjushri preach the Lotus Sutra, attains Buddhahood in her present form. This reveals: 1) that Buddhahood can be attained in one lifetime; 2) that women can attain Buddhahood in their present form, and 3) animals can attain Buddhahood in their present form.

Gigantic naga protecting Buddha amongst the other sculptures of Bunleua Sulilat's Sala Keoku.
N?gas are believed to both live on Mount Sumeru, among the other minor deities, and in various parts of the human-inhabited earth. Some of them are water-dwellers, living in streams or the mer; others are earth-dwellers, living in underground caverns.

The n?gas are the servants of Vir?p?k?a (P?li: Vir?pakkha), one of the Four Heavenly Kings who guards the western direction. They act as a guard upon Mount Sumeru, protecting the devas of Tr?yastri??a from attack by the Asuras.

Among the notable n?gas of Buddhist tradition is Mucalinda, protector of the Buddha. In the Vajrayana and Mahasiddha traditions according to Beer (1999), many notable fully enlightened nagas also transmitted and/or transported terma into and out of the human realm that had been elementally encoded by adepts.
Norbu states that according to tradition the Prajnaparamita terma teachings are held to have been conferred upon Nagarjuna by Nagaraja, the King of the nagas, who had been guarding them at the bottom of a lake. Refer Lotus Sutra.

IN HINDUISM:
Stories involving the n?gas are still very much a part of contemporary cultural traditions in predominantly Hindu regions of Asia (India, Nepal, and the island of Bali). In India, n?gas are considered nature spirits and the protectors of springs, wells and rivers. They bring rain, and thus fertility, but are also thought to bring disasters such as floods and drought. According to traditions n?gas are only malevolent to humans when they have been mistreated. They are susceptible to mankind's disrespectful actions in relation to the environment. They are also associated with waters—rivers, lakes, seas, and wells—and are generally regarded as guardians of treasure. According to Beer (1999), Naga and cintamani are often depicted together and associated directly in the literature.

They are objects of great reverence in some parts of southern India where it is believed that they bring fertility and prosperity to their venerators. Expensive and grand rituals like Nagamandala are conducted in their honor (see Nagaradhane). In India, certain communities called Nagavanshi consider themselves descendants of Nagas.

Varuna, the Vedic god of storms, is viewed as the King of the n?gas. N?gas live in P?t?la, the seventh of the "nether" dimensions or realms. They are children of Kashyapa and Kadru. Among the prominent n?gas of Hinduism are Manasa, Sesha, and Vasuki.

The n?gas also carry the elixir of life and immortality. Garuda once brought it to them and put a cup with elixir on the ground but it was taken away by Indra. However, few drops remained on the grass. The n?gas licked up the drops, but in doing so, cut their tongues on the grass, and since then their tongues have been forked.

Vishnu is originally portrayed in the form sheltered by a Shesha naga or reclining on Shesha, but the iconography has been extended to other deities as well. The serpent is a common feature in Ganesha iconography and appears in many forms: around the neck, use as a sacred thread (Sanskrit: yajñyopav?ta) wrapped around the stomach as a belt, held in a hand, coiled at the ankles, or as a throne. Shiva is often shown garlanded with a snake.

Nagas are also snakes that may take human form. They tend to be very curious.

Maehle (2007) affirms that according to tradition, Patañjali is held to be an incarnation of ?di S'esha.

OTHER TRADITIONS:
For Malay sailors, n?gas are a type of dragon with many heads; in Thailand and Java, the n?ga is a wealthy underworld deity. In Laos they are beaked water serpents. Phaya Naga, Water Dragon, is a well-known dragon in Thailand. People in Thailand see it as a holy creature and worship it in the temple. It allegedly lives in Mekong river.

In Lake Chinni
In Malay and Orang Asli traditions, the lake Chinni, located in Pahang is home to a naga called Sri Gumum. Depending on legend versions, her predecessor Sri Pahang or her son left the lake and later fought a naga called Sri Kemboja. Kemboja is the former name of what is Cambodia. Like the naga legends there, there are stories about an ancient empire in lake Chinni, although the stories are not linked to the naga legends.

In Cambodia
Cambodian Naga at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh
In a Cambodian legend, the n?ga were a reptilian race of beings who possessed a large empire or kingdom in the Pacific Ocean region. See Kaliya. The N?ga King's daughter married an Indian Brahmana named Kaundinya, and from their union sprang the Cambodian people. Therefore still Cambodians say that they are "Born from the N?ga". Cambodia or Kambhuja is also said to have been derived from the word Kambhoj. Kambhoj are the Indo-Aryan people from the Northwest of India & Iran. They are mentioned in the ancient Sanskrit texts and epigraphy. The Naga (clan) is also said to have its origins in Kashmir (North India), indicating a link due to close geographical proximity of both peoples.

The Seven-Headed N?ga serpents depicted as statues on Cambodian temples, such as Angkor Wat, apparently represent the seven races within N?ga society, which has a mythological, or symbolic, association with "the seven colors of the rainbow". Furthermore, Cambodian N?ga possess numerological symbolism in the number of their heads. Odd-headed N?ga symbolise the Male Energy, Infinity, Timelessness, and Immortality. This is because, numerologically, all odd numbers come from One (1). Even-headed N?ga are said to be "Female, representing Physicality, Mortality, Temporality, and the Earth."

In Laos
The Lao language poem San Lup Bo Sun (or San Leupphasun Lao: ?????????) uses enmity with the garuda as an allegory for Siam's victory in the Laotian Rebellion of 1826 – 1829, led by Lord Anou of Vientiane in what was then southwestern Lao territory and is now Isan, the northeastern territory of Thailand, which uses a red Garuda  as her national emblem.

Along the Mekong
The legend of the N?ga is a strong and sacred belief held by Thai and Lao people living along the Mekong River. Many pay their respects to the river because they believe the N?ga still rule in it, and locals hold an annual sacrifice for the N?ga. Each ceremony depends on how each village earns its living from the Mekong River — for instance, through fishing or transport. Local residents believe that the N?ga can protect them from danger, so they are likely to make a sacrifice to N?ga before taking a boat trip along the Mekong River.

Also, every year on the night of 15th day of 11th month in the Lao lunar calendar at the end of Vassa, an unusual phenomenon occurs in the area of the Mekong River stretching over 20 kilometres between Pak-Ngeum and Phonephisai districts in Nong Khai province, Thailand. Fireballs appear to rise from the river into the nighttime sky. Local villagers believe that N?ga under Mekong River shoot the fireballs into the air to celebrate the end of Vassa, because N?ga meditate during this time.

A photograph on display in bars, restaurants, guesthouses, and markets around Thailand captioned, Queen of Nagas seized by American Army at Mekhong River, Laos Military Base on June 27, 1973 with the length of 7.80 meters is a hoax. The photograph is actually that taken by USN LT DeeDee Van Wormer, of an oarfish found in late 1996 by US Navy SEAL trainees on the coast of Coronado, California.

In 2000, Richard Freeman from the Centre for Fortean Zoology visited the area and talked with witnesses who claimed to have seen gigantic snakes far larger than any python. The general description was of a 60 foot serpent with black scales that had a greenish sheen. Freeman speculated that the n?ga legend was based on a real animal, possibly a giant madtsoiid snake.

In the Philippines
In many parts of Pre- Hispanic Philippines, The naga is used as an ornament in the hilt ends of longswords locally known as a Kampilan

Namdrol

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Re: What is a Naga?
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2012, 09:34:48 AM »
Many people misunderstood that Naga means dragon, be it the mythical Chinese dragon or the "dragon-slayer" dragon that spits fire in the western mythology. The Naga we are talking about are not those in the mythology, they are real.

Attached is a pic of the Naga that really exists, the ones that are mentioned in the Dharma text, they look like half-snake half-human, and have different personality, usually lives near water, will be offended if you offer meat, and can be malicious if offended.

On the other hand they are also keepers of wealth and precious Dharma text as in Nagarjuna's case.




shugdentruth

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Re: What is a Naga?
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2012, 02:59:42 PM »
wat kind of skin order is a symptom of naga possession??

WisdomBeing

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Re: What is a Naga?
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2012, 01:25:15 AM »
I had a Chinese friend at school who told me once that she had caught 'snakes' and showed me the scar on her arm.. it was shingles, but she believed that she caught it from invisible snakes. She told me that she had to go to the temple and the monk there would wave joss sticks over the affected area and chant mantras. I was pretty fascinated with that story. I don't know if anyone else has heard something like that?

Another friend said her dad could see nagas... and they looked like large snakes.... i do believe that nagas exist because so many people can see them. I wonder about the differences between the half man/half snake and the full snake imagery though. The half man half snake drawing reminds me of mermaids. Maybe that's what the sailors saw. Or perhaps the nagas can change their shape, after all in the story above about the old man with attendants returning the tengyur to Nagarjuna would have looked like proper people otherwise everyone may have freaked out.

I guess i have interesting friends.
Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

shugdentruth

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Re: What is a Naga?
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2012, 06:04:46 PM »
Wow, that is an interesting story. I have a friend that always dreamt of snakes and bumped into snakes, as in literally. He would see them when walking to school and on the way to the super market. One day, he met a psychic and the psychic described his dreams to him with 90% accuracy. My friend freaked out and asked the psychic how he knew. The psychic told him that a snake curled around my friend's leg told him. He had no skin disorder. Is that considered a naga possession or protection??

Big Uncle

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Re: What is a Naga?
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2012, 06:27:30 PM »
I had a Chinese friend at school who told me once that she had caught 'snakes' and showed me the scar on her arm.. it was shingles, but she believed that she caught it from invisible snakes. She told me that she had to go to the temple and the monk there would wave joss sticks over the affected area and chant mantras. I was pretty fascinated with that story. I don't know if anyone else has heard something like that?

Another friend said her dad could see nagas... and they looked like large snakes.... i do believe that nagas exist because so many people can see them. I wonder about the differences between the half man/half snake and the full snake imagery though. The half man half snake drawing reminds me of mermaids. Maybe that's what the sailors saw. Or perhaps the nagas can change their shape, after all in the story above about the old man with attendants returning the tengyur to Nagarjuna would have looked like proper people otherwise everyone may have freaked out.

I guess i have interesting friends.

Dear WB,

I heard of this before. Nagas who are crossed with you can cause strange skin diseases and I am not surprised that your friend offended a Naga unknowingly. In Buddhism, there are a lot of practices that one can engage in, like the Black Garuda practice and Trakpo Sumtril to overcome Naga afflictions but the practice must be recommended/prescribed and given by a qualified Lama. Nagas are also highly respectful of Avalokiteshvara and they would be partial to anybody who recites the Mani mantra or does any of the Sadhanas and associated practices.

Also, there are many Gurus and deities associated with Nagas. Nagarjuna is pictured with Nagas above his head and he is depicted as so because he is said to have gained the trust and authority over the mysterious and powerful Nagas. It was the Nagas who bestowed Nagarjuna with the Prajnaparamita Sutra, which was safely hidden in their world after the Buddha passed into Parinirvana. Another Buddha associated with Nagas is one of the 35 Confessional Buddhas names Nagesdvaraja or Tathagata King of the Nagas. He is a very neat Buddha just like Nagarjuna, he has a Nagas rising above his head and shielding him. He has a blue body and white face. The Buddha is with the unusual mudra.

Klein

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Re: What is a Naga?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2012, 12:45:18 PM »
I was told that if we contract skin diseases, it is because we have offended the nagas? What do we do when we have offended the nagas?

It's best to quickly request for a divination to be done if you've offended the naga. It's very dangerous to offend nagas. I heard that during a retreat to purify the nagas effects on the victim, the victim has to be vegetarian because nagas don't like meat.

If the situation is not arrested asap, the victim may suffer from permanent damages to the body caused by the naga. So it's best to resolve it immediately.

negra orquida

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Re: What is a Naga?
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2012, 04:01:18 PM »
I heard that dreaming of snakes is not a good omen, does anyone know about this? 

The first time I dreamt of a snake was during university... was in a bad relationship.  I dreamt of a snake tightly curled around my right wrist.  I related this to my mother and she said "It must be your friend". Hehe.  Didn't have any snake dreams until about 2 years ago, had 2 or 3 of them within a few months.  The last time I had a snake dream and told a friend, my friend was really scared and concerned and immediately gave me a ruel (i think either Yamantaka or Black Manjushri) for protection "just in case". That really freaked me out.  My friend did say that the snake in the dream could be a protector instead... I felt better at that! But  I have never dreamt of snakes every since.

Quote
In the 'Devadatta' chapter of the Lotus Sutra, an eight year old female Naga, after listening to Manjushri preach the Lotus Sutra, attains Buddhahood in her present form. This reveals: 1) that Buddhahood can be attained in one lifetime; 2) that women can attain Buddhahood in their present form, and 3) animals can attain Buddhahood in their present form.
Just wondering... why are nagas classified as animals?

vajraD

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Re: What is a Naga?
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2012, 05:05:15 PM »
Nagas to me are a snake like creature (mystique creature). They live and can be anywhere from water or land. I have also heard that there are high monk that keep Naga vase. Since we should not pray to Nagas can anyone explain re Naga vase that the monks keep by monks? As I know naga vase are always thrown back to the see after a few day pujas to calm the water/sea after pujas are done. Is that true? Can anyone explain more.

Ensapa

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Re: What is a Naga?
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2012, 10:33:01 AM »
Nagas are a class of beings that manifest themselves to us humans as dragons or snakes as that is the form that we can understand them as. The western terms Leviathan and Salamander refers to nagas and they usually control water as this is the element that they are most proficient in. In eastern mythology, they are the Chinese dragons and they do also manifest as unusual snakes.

In Buddhism, we are told that Nagas have very powerful spiritual power/psychic powers that the wiccans and witches can only dream to achieve of and they are highly intelligent but they are also easily jealous and easily angered, which kinda sounds like some autistic savants. However, they are counted as a form of animals and they get greatly annoyed by people who eat meat in their presence.

We are also taught that birth as a Naga happens if we study a lot of Dharma but put little to practice or if we do not hold the vows and pay little attention to them. Both The Lamrim and Shuragama Sutra (Hsuan Huas commentary) highlights this point. Lamrim gives the example of Elapatra Naga who used to be a monk but broke his vows and was born as a Naga, while Shuragama sutra states that the Nagas are "quick with the vehicle but slow with the percepts(vows)"

In both the instances of a Thai forest monk who wished to see a naga in the forest, and to Hsuan Hua himself, nagas manifested as a snake with a red head and green body to show them their presence and signify that they pay their respect to the monks. There are many other well documented cases of nagas manifesting and they rarely do as they are very vain and will only do so if they feel that you are worth their respect.