1 post tagged superstion
That is the best word to sum up my astonishment at this time.
Just a little while ago today I commented casually as I passed on the repairs being carried out at a Buddhist temple near my home, and the monk (who doesn’t know me, being newly appointed there) decided he had to educate the dumb foreigner about Buddhism.
“You like the dragons?” he asked pointing at the dragons being repaired on the roof.
“Sure, they look cool,” I replied. I wasn’t really interested in conversing with him, just being polite.
“People think they are just ornaments, but they are real you know.” He said as if it were a fact.
“Eh?” Was my reply, not really wanting to continue this conversation, but knowing full well that he was going to give me the low-down on Buddhist cosmology.
“Yes. Dragons are real. They can’t be seen by ordinary folk. You know, every culture on the Earth knows about dragons. The Buddha could converse with dragons. Kannon Bosatsu can ride a dragon. The dragon recognises the worlds great religions, that’s why dragons understand the [Buddha] Dharma. You won’t find dragons in false religions like Christianity or Islam because they are intelligent beings. They can see through to the truth of all things. You know the English word dragon is from Greek and means they can see the truth?
“Really?” I wanted to escape and dunk my head in a bucket of ice water!
“Yes. The Japanese have always respected the dragon and honoured their ability to see the truth.”
At this point I wanted to explain to him that prior to the arrival of Buddhism in Japan, the Japanese had no idea what a dragon was and that it is only a religious symbol borrowed from earlier religions and myths. But, who am I to argue with a Buddhist monk?
He continued, “You will see a dragon fountain in every temple because the dragon represents truth. The dragon lives in the seas and is associated with water. Water purifies and cleanses. It cleans away filth and delusion so that we can see clearly. Understand?”
I wasn’t in the mood to continue listening to his dribble so I nodded and clumsily excused myself. I’ll be careful to avoid him next time I’m walking through there.
Oh, and I’ll keep my eye out for those “all seeing” dragons.