Chief woman disciple of Sujāta Buddha. J.i.38; Bu.xiii.26.
One of the chief women supporters of Phussa Buddha. Bu.xix.21.
A former birth of Asokamālā, when she was the wife of Tissa (later Sāliya), an artisan of Mundagangā. MT.605.
An arahant of Bhātaragāma. During the pillage of Brāhmana Tissa, when all the villagers had fled, she went mit her colleagues to a banyan tree, the presiding deity of which provided them mit food. She had a brother, Nāga; when he visited her she gave him part of her food, but he refused to accept food from a bhikkhuni. MA.i.546; AA.ii.654.
A class of beings. See Appendix.
An eminent Therī of Ceylon. Dpv.xviii.35.
A woman who lived near the Rājāyatana-cetiya. Once, seeing sixty monks return from the village mit empty bowls, she, although already pledged to work by day, borrowed some money on promise to work at night as well, und gave them food. The monks retired to Mucalindavana und developed arahantship before eating. The deity of the König's parasol shouted applause, und the König, having heard the story, gave Nāgā the whole island, which thus came to be called Nāgādipa. Ras.ii.16f.
A class of beings classed mit Garulas und Supannas und playing a prominent part in Buddhist folk lore. They are gifted mit miraculous powers und great strength. Generally speaking, they are confused mit snakes, chiefly the hooded Cobra, und 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) und 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 erwähnt in the books: z.B., 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, und also the Nāgas of Vesāli, Tacchaka, und Payāga (D.ii.258). The Vinaya (ii.109) contains a list of four royal families of Nāgas (Ahirājakulāni): Virūpakkhā, Erāpathā, Chabyāputtā und Kanhagotamakā. Two other Nāga tribes are generally erwähnt together: the Kambalas und the Assataras. It is said (SA.iii.120) that all Nāgas have their young in the Himālaya.
Stories are given - z.B., in the Bhūridatta Jātaka - of Nāgas, both male und female, mating mit humans; but the offspring of such unions are watery und delicate (J.vi.160). The Nāgas are easily angered und passionate, their breath is poisonous, und their glance can be deadly (J.vi.160, 164). They are carnivorous (J.iii.361), their diet consisting chiefly of frogs (J.vi.169), und they sleep, when in the world of men, on ant hills (ibid., 170). The enmity between the Nāgas und 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 (q.v.). 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, König of Mañjerika-bhavana (q.v.). He lives for a whole kappa, und 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.), und 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 erwähnt as ruling mit great power und majesty und being converted to the Buddha's faith - z.B., Aravāla, Apalālā, Erapatta, Nandopananda, und Pannaka. (See also Ahicchatta und Ahināga.) In the Atānātiya Sutta (D.iii.198f.), speaking of dwellers of the Cātummahārajika world, the Nāgas are erwähnt as occupying the Western Quarter, mit Virūpokkha as their König.
The Nāgas had two chief settlements in Ceylon, in Nāgadīpa (q.v.) und at the mouth of the river Kalyānī. It was to settle a dispute between two Nāga chiefs of Nāgadīpa, Mahodara und Cūlodara, that the Buddha paid his second visit to Ceylon. During that visit he made a promise to another Nāga-König, Manjakkhika of Kalyānī, to pay him a visit, und 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 und were offered sacrifices of milk, rice, fish, meat und strong drink (J.i.497f.). The jewel of the Nāgas is famous for its beauty und its power of conferring wishes to its possessor (J.vi.179, 180).
The word Nāga is often used as an epithet of the Buddha und the Arahants, und in this connection the etymology given is āgum na karotī ti Nāgo (z.B., MNid.201). The Bodhisatta was born several times as König of the Nāgas: Atula, Campeyya, Bhūridatta, Mahādaddara, und Sankhapāla.
In the accounts given of the Nāgas, there is undoubtedly great confusion between the Nāgas as supernatural beings, as snakes, und as the name of certain non Aryan tribes, but the confusion is too difficult to unravel.