What is Nāga world and Supanna world? where are they loacted?

Exploring the Dhamma, as understood from the perspective of the ancient Pali commentaries.
User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 7530
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:55 pm
Location: Whitby, Canada

Re: What is Nāga world and Supanna world? where are they loacted?

Post by Coëmgenu »

Dhammanando wrote: Mon May 25, 2020 4:48 pm For example, are the nāga followers of Virūpakkha in the Cātummahārājika heaven animals? Or are they devas of serpentine form? I've never seen any explicit statement either way, but I think the Theravāda position ought to be that they are devas, for at the Third Council the Theravādins rejected the claim of the Andhakas that there might be animals living in the heavenly realms.
It's probably a Third Council split then maybe, bhante, because I can find plenty of Buddhist images of garudas hanging out in heaven too (Do garudas also get a split between earthly/mundane varieties and heavenly/celestial varieties too?), and those are simply "large (magical) birds," i.e. animals, to go with the "large (magical) snakes." To be fair though, it makes more intuitive sense for magical birds to be in the heavens, the "magical skies" so-to-speak, than magical snakes.

I suppose it depends on how animistic or chthonic we are willing to consider the backdrop of Buddhism as versus how Āryan or Heaven/Sky-Centred we think it may have gotten and when. Does this sky-centring/heaven-centring pre-date the Buddha, is the unanswerable question.

Answerable in this forum, though, of course.
Dhammanando wrote: Mon May 25, 2020 4:48 pm I don't know for sure, but I rather suspect that the watery worms who preserve Mahayana sūtras will probably have rather short life-spans on that account.
This is a bit off-topic, so I don't want to go into it too much, but you've accidentally stumbled on something I have a positively geeky interest in, and now I must hold back the prapañca so as to not produce a giant off-topic essay and respect this subforum.

Your description of them as "worms" reminds me of another religion that has a preoccupation with "the deep," namely Abrahamic monotheism. The "worms" of the deep are often Tiamat and her children in translations like the King James. For instance: Genesis 1 is Marduk's victory over Tiamat, the lady of the deep, reframed as Elohim's triumph over Tehom.
bərêšîṯ bārā ɂĕlōhîm; ɂêṯ haššāmayim wə ɂêṯ hā ɂāreṣ.
In the beginning, [Elohim] created the heaven and the earth.

wə hā ɂāreṣ, hāyəṯāh ṯōhū wāḇōhū, wə ḥōšeḵ ɂalpənê ṯəhōwm; wə rūaḥ ɂĕlōhîm, məraḥep̄eṯ ɂalpənê hammāyim.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of [Tehom]. And the spirit of [Elohim] moved upon the face of the waters.
Aside done.

:focus:
ॐ अ अं आं अंः आंः अं आं इं ईं उं ऊं ऋं ॠं ऌं ॡं एं ऐं ओं औं अं अः
अं रं पं चं नं लं दं वं डं षं वं तं यं ष्टं कं सं मं गं थं जं श्वं

व्हँ व वं वां वंः वांः वं वां विं वीं वुं वूं वृं वॄं वॢं वॣं वें वैं वों वौं वं वः
धं शं खं क्षं स्तं ज्ञं र्थं भं छं स्मं ह्वं स्तं घं ठं णं फं स्कं य्सं श्चं टं ढं

आँः वीँः राँः हूँः खाँः वज्रधातूँः वाँः
JustSweepin
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:36 pm

Re: What is Nāga world and Supanna world? where are they loacted?

Post by JustSweepin »

Dhammanando wrote: Sun May 24, 2020 8:06 am Start with chapters 5 and 6 of G.P. Malalasekera's The Pali Literature of Ceylon, (1928)

Then for more depth, chapter 5 of Oskar von Hinüber's A Handbook of Pali Literature

Then:
Toshiichi Endo, Buddha in Theravada Buddhism: a study of the concept of Buddha in the Pali commentaries, (1997)

And if you can manage to find a copy:
Toshiichi Endo, Studies in Pali Commentarial Literature: sources, controversies and insights, (2013)
Thank you, Bhante. This should make for interesting reading.
thomaslaw
Posts: 628
Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:55 am
Location: Australia

Re: What is Nāga world and Supanna world? where are they loacted?

Post by thomaslaw »

thomaslaw wrote: Fri May 22, 2020 5:42 am The following article may be of interest to you:

Choong, Mun-keat. “A comparison of the Pāli and Chinese versions of Nāga Saṃyutta, Supaṇṇa Saṃyutta, and Valāhaka Saṃyutta, early Buddhist discourse collections on mythical dragons, birds, and cloud devas”, in Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, vol. 18 (May 2020), pp. 42-65.

http://jocbs.org/index.php/jocbs/issue/view/20/showToc
According to the article (pp. 46-7, 62), only the Chinese version says that if the naga king serves the Buddha, then garudas are unable to eat nagas. This is because the Tathagata (Buddha) constantly practices the four kinds of mind (i.e. loving-kindness, compassion, empathic joy, and equanimity). So, the naga king protects the Buddha, as being shown also in the form of religious art.

But, why only the Chinese version says that? The idea possibly also is found in other Pali texts? Any suggestions?
User avatar
rhinoceroshorn
Posts: 1177
Joined: Fri May 01, 2020 7:27 pm

Re: What is Nāga world and Supanna world? where are they loacted?

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

Dhammanando wrote: Sat May 23, 2020 7:14 am
confusedlayman wrote: Sat May 23, 2020 6:58 am dont like the snake body architecture
But that doesn't mean you wouldn't like it if it became your body architecture.

I'm reminded of a story from the commentaries where an evil queen gets reborn as some kind of blood-sucking insect, but with the ability to recall her former life. While sitting at a roadside with another beetle of the same species she sees a royal chariot going by. She tells her fellow beetle that the king riding in the chariot is her former husband. The other beetle asks her if she still feels any wifely affection for him. The evil-queen-turned-beetle scoffs at the idea and replies that if she got the chance she'd happily suck every drop of blood from the king's body to feed her present beetle husband.
:rofl:
Eyes downcast, not footloose,
senses guarded, with protected mind,
not oozing — not burning — with lust,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
See, Ānanda! All those conditioned phenomena have passed, ceased, and perished. So impermanent are conditions, so unstable are conditions, so unreliable are conditions. This is quite enough for you to become disillusioned, dispassionate, and freed regarding all conditions.
Dīgha Nikāya 17
User avatar
Ontheway
Posts: 2330
Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2021 3:35 pm

Re: What is Nāga world and Supanna world? where are they loacted?

Post by Ontheway »

Can read Supanna samyutta... These divine creatures attended to the Buddha during Mahasamaya Sutta event too. Unlike many Yakkhas, Supannas (aka garuda) taken refuge in the Buddha.

Mahasamaya Sutta:
They who swoop down swiftly on naga kings,
divine, twice-born, winged, their eyesight pure:
(Garudas) came from the sky to the midst of the forest.
Citra and Supanna are their names.
But the Buddha made the naga kings safe,
made them secure from Supanna.
Addressing one another with affectionate words,
the nagas and Supannas made the Buddha their refuge.
It is said that they are divine, powerful, clear-sighted, fast, beautiful, and long pleasant life. In SEA countries such as Thailand and Indonesia, their statue symbolises Authority and Strength.
orrdjuwcascf2Z1g40f-o.jpg
A Supanna catching Naga serpent.


From Pandara Jataka Pali....The Bodhisatta Supanna, King of garudas caught the Naga King named Pandara. The Naga King was betrayed by his sham ascetic teacher, who told the Supanna King the secret of how Nagas able to escape from garudas. After the secret, then desiring to teach the Naga King a lesson, the Supanna King (Bodhisatta) works a feat of supernatural power, swiftly caught the Naga King and carried it off in the sky. A certain death awaits the Naga King, pleading for his life...there the Supanna Garuda King expound his teaching on "Loyalty and non-betrayal" and "Preserving Truth". Then, after the Garuda King knew that the Naga King learned his lesson....the Garuda King released him and in return, he spared the Naga King.

518-Pandara-Jataka.jpg
Garuda catching Naga serpent.
Attachments
artworks-000157087289-hfopq9-t500x500.jpg
"The self tries so hard. Like the wooden boy Pinocchio, this fictional entity passionately wants to become a living soul. With its many self-hoods, this long-nosed puppet is desperate to become the real you."

- Kate Gustin
User avatar
Johann
Posts: 365
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2022 2:03 pm
Contact:

Re: What is Nāga world and Supanna world? where are they loacted?

Post by Johann »

As yours dwell in far Naga-Kingdom here:

Good householder, by keeping the Uposatha brave, having gained right view, one, if wishing, may abound those bodies of all four realms.

As for the kinds of "Great Beings", usually of skills in concentration, yet not virtuous, and much Mohayana-tendency, and the practices, causes:
“Monks, these four are the serpent (better Naga, mighty beings) births. What four? Serpents born from an egg, born from a womb, serpents born in moisture, and serpents born spontaneously.” ...

Nagavaggo
And as a story to possible get the required identification for wishing to escape: Campeyya-Jataka
Last edited by Johann on Sat Aug 13, 2022 7:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
Post Reply