Question re Nagas

Proclus
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Question re Nagas

Post by Proclus » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:35 pm

I have a question regarding Nagas. In some Sadhanas or apologies, it seems that we are befriending Nagas, but in other Sadhanas, it seems that we are subjugating Nagas, for example, visualizing a Garuda devouring a Naga.

I am confused as to how to maintain both positions - how can I befriend Nagas and also subjugate them.
Thank you

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Malcolm
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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by Malcolm » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:16 pm

Proclus wrote:I have a question regarding Nagas. In some Sadhanas or apologies, it seems that we are befriending Nagas, but in other Sadhanas, it seems that we are subjugating Nagas, for example, visualizing a Garuda devouring a Naga.

I am confused as to how to maintain both positions - how can I befriend Nagas and also subjugate them.
Thank you

The Nāga kings are beneficial, in general, though easily angered. The lower class nāgas are the main problem.
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Grigoris
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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by Grigoris » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:26 pm

There are also two types of Naga: black and white.

We (mainly) subjugate the black and appease the white.
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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by Mantrik » Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:58 pm

Grigoris wrote:There are also two types of Naga: black and white.

We (mainly) subjugate the black and appease the white.
Do you have any more info on this 'black and white' aspect, please?
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Malcolm
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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by Malcolm » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:38 pm

Grigoris wrote:There are also two types of Naga: black and white.

We (mainly) subjugate the black and appease the white.
There were five castes of nāgas: royal, brahmin, merchant, farmer, and outcasts. It is the outcasts that cause the problems.
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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by tingdzin » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:43 am

The Tibetan naga literature comes from a variety of sources, there is a mass of lore, and there is no Naga Encyclopedia that has all the answers in a consistent way. Furthermore, naga mythology from India, etc. was overlaid onto the pre-existing Tibetan concepts of the klu (lu), which usually referred to ill-defined subterranean powers, not necessarily serpents. The two cannot be seen as simply the same, although they have been running in harness for so long it is difficult to separate the concepts derived from the two sources.

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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by Grigoris » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:50 am

I have been taught (sorry Mantrik, it was an oral teaching) that the offerings always go to the white naga as the black naga utilise any assistance/offering to increase their strength, attain power and cause more problems.
Malcolm wrote: It is the outcasts that cause the problems.
Seems that the plebeians in every class of sentient beings are the rabble rousers and trouble makers! :tongue:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by Mantrik » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:57 am

Grigoris wrote:I have been taught (sorry Mantrik, it was an oral teaching) that the offerings always go to the white naga as the black naga utilise any assistance/offering to increase their strength, attain power and cause more problems.
Malcolm wrote: It is the outcasts that cause the problems.
Seems that the plebeians in every class of sentient beings are the rabble rousers and trouble makers! :tongue:
In Mongolia the Black Nagas are Earth, the Blue are Water and the White are Air etc. Nagas are seen as pervading all, so mountain spirits as well as water. This fits in well with the thought that we can piss off the Nagas by polluting earth and air as well as water.
If we think in terms of the 3 Realms, then the Black are from the Lower Realm and the White from the Middle Realm (ours) so the practices you quoted fit this cosmology.
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Malcolm
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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by Malcolm » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:18 pm

tingdzin wrote:The Tibetan naga literature comes from a variety of sources, there is a mass of lore, and there is no Naga Encyclopedia that has all the answers in a consistent way. Furthermore, naga mythology from India, etc. was overlaid onto the pre-existing Tibetan concepts of the klu (lu), which usually referred to ill-defined subterranean powers, not necessarily serpents. The two cannot be seen as simply the same, although they have been running in harness for so long it is difficult to separate the concepts derived from the two sources.
There is at least one encyclopedic source in Tibetan: the klu 'bum dkar nag khra gsum. Granted, these volumes, which belong to the Bon school, show considerable evidence of Indian overlay, but they also contain tons of native Tibetan lore.

According to Bon text, the klu 'bum dkar po (White Volume of the Nāgās), the nāgas are the offspring of the union of the king of the Gnyan, Gnyan spar ba Dung mgo g.yu’i thor tshugs (The gNyan Flying Conch Head with Turquoise Topknot) with the Sa bdag bstan ma, Gser mdog gser gyi bum pa can (The Golden One with a Vase of Gold). In this text, nāgās are held to live in springs.
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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by Proclus » Sat Aug 05, 2017 3:43 pm

Thank you all for relaying your knowledge, which does give me some guidance. It is most appreciated.

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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by crazy-man » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:04 am

Nāgā
A class of beings classed with Garulas and Supannas and playing a prominent part in Buddhist folk lore. They are gifted with miraculous powers and great strength. Generally speaking, they are confused with snakes, chiefly the hooded Cobra, and their bodies are described as being those of snakes, though they can assume human form at will. They are broadly divided into two classes: those that live on land (thalaja) and those that live on water (jalaja). The Jalaja-nāgā live in rivers as well as in the sea, while the Thalaja-nāgā are regarded as living beneath the surface of the earth. Several Nāga dwellings are mentioned in the books: e.g.,
Mañjerika-bhavana under Sineru,
Daddara-bhavana at the foot of Mount Daddara in the Himālaya,
the Dhatarattha-nāgā under the river Yamunā,
the Nābhāsā Nāgā in Lake Nabhasa,
and also the Nāgas of Vesāli, Tacchaka, and Payāga (D.ii.258).
The Vinaya (ii.109) contains a list of four royal families of Nāgas (Ahirājakulāni): Virūpakkhā, Erāpathā, Chabyāputtā and Kanhagotamakā. Two other Nāga tribes are generally mentioned together: the Kambalas and the Assataras. It is said (SA.iii.120) that all Nāgas have their young in the Himālaya.
Stories are given - e.g., in the Bhūridatta Jātaka - of Nāgas, both male and female, mating with humans; but the offspring of such unions are watery and delicate (J.vi.160). The Nāgas are easily angered and passionate, their breath is poisonous, and their glance can be deadly (J.vi.160, 164). They are carnivorous (J.iii.361), their diet consisting chiefly of frogs (J.vi.169), and they sleep, when in the world of men, on ant hills (ibid., 170). The enmity between the Nāgas and the Garulas is proverbial (D.ii.258). At first the Garulas did not know how to seize the Nāgas, because the latter swallowed large stones so as to be of great weight, but they learnt how in the Pandara Jātaka. The Nāgas dance when music is played, but it is said (J.vi.191) that they never dance if any Garula is near (through fear) or in the presence of human dancers (through shame).
The best known of all Nāgas is Mahākāla, king of Mañjerika-bhavana. He lives for a whole kappa, and is a very pious follower of the Buddha. The Nāgas of his world had the custodianship of a part of the Buddha's relics till they were needed for the Māha Thūpa (Mhv.xxxi.27f.), and when the Bodhi tree was being brought to Ceylon they did it great honour during the voyage (Mbv. p.. 163f.). Other Nāga kings are also mentioned as ruling with great power and majesty and being converted to the Buddha's faith - e.g., Aravāla, Apalālā, Erapatta, Nandopananda, and Pannaka. (See also Ahicchatta and Ahināga.) In the Atānātiya Sutta (D.iii.198f.), speaking of dwellers of the Cātummahārajika world, the Nāgas are mentioned as occupying the Western Quarter, with Virūpokkha as their king.
The Nāgas had two chief settlements in Ceylon, in Nāgadīpa (q.v.) and at the mouth of the river Kalyānī. It was to settle a dispute between two Nāga chiefs of Nāgadīpa, Mahodara and Cūlodara, that the Buddha paid his second visit to Ceylon. During that visit he made a promise to another Nāga-king, Manjakkhika of Kalyānī, to pay him a visit, and the Buddha's third visit was in fulfilment of that undertaking (Mhv.i.48f.).
The Nāgas form one of the guards set up by Sakka in Sineru against the Asuras (J.i.204). The Nāgas were sometimes worshipped by human beings and were offered sacrifices of milk, rice, fish, meat and strong drink (J.i.497f.). The jewel of the Nāgas is famous for its beauty and its power of conferring wishes to its possessor (J.vi.179, 180).
The word Nāga is often used as an epithet of the Buddha and the Arahants, and in this connection the etymology given is āgum na karotī ti Nāgo (e.g., MNid.201). The Bodhisatta was born several times as king of the Nāgas: Atula, Campeyya, Bhūridatta, Mahādaddara, and Sankhapāla.
In the accounts given of the Nāgas, there is undoubtedly great confusion between the Nāgas as supernatural beings, as snakes, and as the name of certain non Aryan tribes, but the confusion is too difficult to unravel.
http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_names/n/nagaa.htm

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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by crazy-man » Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:00 pm

The Klu: Their Roles Within the Shamanic and Buddhist Contexts
https://pages.shanti.virginia.edu/relb2 ... -contexts/

Klu in Tibet: Beliefs and Practices
https://www.duo.uio.no/handle/10852/38825

Demon Directories: On Listing and Living with Tibetan Worldly Spirits
https://perfumedskull.com/2016/06/05/de ... y-spirits/

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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by Sahajaya » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:12 am

Proclus wrote:I have a question regarding Nagas. In some Sadhanas or apologies, it seems that we are befriending Nagas, but in other Sadhanas, it seems that we are subjugating Nagas, for example, visualizing a Garuda devouring a Naga.

I am confused as to how to maintain both positions - how can I befriend Nagas and also subjugate them.
Thank you
In general, human beings have done great harm to natural environments and Naga habitats where the Nagas (best seen as nature spirits) have lived for millennia. Having disturbed, desecrated their homes, and treated them with gross disrespect out of human arrogance and ignorance, many understandably have become resentful of humans. On the other hand some Nagas are advanced Dharma students. I have learned to sincerely regret my transgressions and help heal the naga wounds, make them feel well, placate and help them as a friend. This I have found to be the best remedy -- to honor and respect the earth, water ways, and nature and honor the non-visible spirits that live there. Technically there are many other spirits INyen, etc) other than what are termed, nagas, that are not normally visible to the eye sense. There are practices and offerings that some Tibetan and shamanic tribes use to solidify this friendship.
Severely disturbed nagas may be difficult to help. Ask your teacher if need be.
Sarva Mangalam!
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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by jkarlins » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:03 pm

Anyone have suggestions for practical household issues relating to nagas and spirits?

I wonder about cleaning my drain in the tub. I don't think they'd like strong acids. Lye? I've tried natural products and plunging, but we have a slow drain sometimes?

I wonder about things like this, do folks run afoul of nagas by doing things like this, dumping the wrong stuff down the drain, and so on.

Jake

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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by Sahajaya » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:50 pm

jkarlins wrote:Anyone have suggestions for practical household issues relating to nagas and spirits?

I wonder about things like this, do folks run afoul of nagas by doing things like this, dumping the wrong stuff down the drain, and so on.

Jake
According to my teachers, yes, avoid polluting your environment and angering nagas as much as possible. YMMV, of course.
sarva mangalam
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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by jkarlins » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:51 pm

thanks!

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Malcolm
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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by Malcolm » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:22 am

Sahajaya wrote:
jkarlins wrote:Anyone have suggestions for practical household issues relating to nagas and spirits?

I wonder about things like this, do folks run afoul of nagas by doing things like this, dumping the wrong stuff down the drain, and so on.

Jake
According to my teachers, yes, avoid polluting your environment and angering nagas as much as possible. YMMV, of course.
sarva mangalam

Nāgas lash out indiscriminately. It might be your neighbor dumping toxic shit down the drain, but your family winds up with the horrible skin diseases, not his.

This merely points to the fact that apart from the clear stupidity of pissing in ponds and streams, problems with Nāgās and other nonhumans is systemic and pervasive, as the First Nations have been warning us for centuries.
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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by jkarlins » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:05 am

Ok, thanks Malcolm.

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Malcolm
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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by Malcolm » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:11 am

jkarlins wrote:Ok, thanks Malcolm.

This does not mean one remains passive, there are many remedial things one can do such as klu bsangs, sgrib bsangs, bsnol bsangs (sang offerings to nagas, for removing obscuration, and for removing contamination), certain kinds of chöd practices, prayer flags, treasure vases, stupas building, placing stones carved with the Guru Rinpoche mantra in the water, and so on. Also First Nations peoples have many methods, one can collaborate with them for this common purpose.
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Re: Question re Nagas

Post by pemachophel » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:03 pm

Loppon Namdrol's advice is good. At our center, we offer Naga puja at least once a month (on lu-theb day/s) as well as Naga sang and Naga apology on other lu-theb days. Sometimes people ask what this has to do with gaining Enlightenment. It has to do with one's Bodhisatvic vows. By offering Naga puja, Naga sang, Naga apology, etc., we are benefitting sentient beings: A) the Nagas themselves and B) all the other sentient beings that share their/our environment. If one understands Naga puja, it involves the practice of all six Paramitas. Naga puja is actually one of the most popular pujas we offer each month.
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

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