The Naga and Buddhism

The Naga and Buddhism


This magical being got involved in many of Buddha’s quest for his enlightenment. The Naga's live at the bottom of deep rivers, seas and oceans and in the bowels of the earth and they also live in wells and lakes.. They can fly in the air however; they do not do so too often because they will become exposed to attacks from their eternal enemies, the galon (garuda) birds. They protect meditators and spend wisdom as well as strong magical powers (theikdi). They have many peaceful and wrathful forms. They also live in wells, lakes and rivers.


Naga's in Buddhism

In Buddhism, nagas are often represented as door guardians or, as in Tibet, as minor deities. The naga king Muchalinda, who sheltered the Buddha from rain for seven days while he was deep in meditation, is beautifully depicted in the 9th–13th century Mon-Khmer Buddhas of what are now Thailand and Cambodia. In Jainism the Tirthankara (saviour) Parshvanatha is always shown with a canopy of naga hoods above his head.


Naga Puja

The Naga puja is mainly performed to appease nagas that one may have been offended, or to please nagas that are active in areas where one wishes to live, work or conduct business.

One of the eight classes of spirits, nagas are serpent-like in form and live primarily in water bodies and to a lesser extent are associated with earth and trees. They are powerful beings whose abilities include controlling the weather, bringing good fortune and wealth, and enhancing fertility and positivity. Conversely, nagas can also inflict disease, obstacles and natural disasters when displeased.

It is wise to conduct naga pujas and make the traditional offerings of incense and ritual cakes to nagas prior to disturbing the earth for any reason, particularly for construction and development projects. Nagas are very sensitive towards humanity's carelessness, improper conduct in nature and disrespectful actions in relation to the environment. Disturbed nagas will frequently retaliate with skin diseases and natural calamities unless the appropriate pujas are done beforehand.

Once the puja is done, it is said that one's present wealth, fame, health, merits will improve, good weather, resources, peace and prosperity will abound, obstacles and sickness will be eliminated, and one's practices will be accomplished.

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