Monday, August 29, 2011
Dragons and the Dona Sutta ("I am awake")
Though there aren't many references to dragons in Zen teachings, other than a few old legends, there are images of dragons in nearly every temple I've visited in Korea and "Yong"(Chinese for "dragon") is commonly used in combination with another character in the names of temples and even monks.
In the Pali Canon, I don't think there is any mention of dragons at all, but there is "naga" which could mean either a great elephant or a great, magical serpent, which actually isn't that different from the Chinese concept of a dragon. It also was adopted as a term to describe the Buddha and his arahant disciples.
Here is the interesting Dona Sutta, from Access to insight, in which the Buddha is refered to as a "naga" but in the end rejects any attempts at being defined, other than, simply, "I am awake."