Wat Lao Buddhavong July 4th, 2008 Concert Part VII Nagas on the Rooftop

Continued from: Wat Lao Buddhavong July 4th, 2008 Concert Part VI Tuk Badt (Almsgiving) and Paying Homage to the Triple Gems

We arrived at Wat Lao Buddhavong on Thursday evening, the first thing I noticed right away are the beautiful Phraya Nak or Nagas on the rooftop, as a Buddhist myself, I was brought up to believe that Naga is the protector of the lord Buddha, and these are definitely protector of Wat Lao Buddhavong.

According to wikipedia, the legend of the Naga is a strong and sacred belief held by Lao and Thai people living along the Mekong River. Many pay their respects to the river because they believe the Naga still rule in it, and locals hold an annual sacrifice for the Naga. Each ceremony depends on how an individual village earns its living from the Mekong River, for instance, through fishing or transport. Local residents believe that the Naga can protect them from danger, so they are likely to make a sacrifice to Naga before taking a boat trip along the Mekong River.

Traditions about Nagas are also very common in all the Buddhist countries of Asia. In many countries, the Naga concept has been merged with local traditions of large and intelligent serpents or dragons. In Tibet, the Naga was equated with the klu (pronounced lu), spirits that dwell in lakes or underground streams and guard treasure. In China, the Naga was equated with the long or Chinese dragon.

The Buddhist Naga generally has the form of a large cobra-like snake, usually with a single head but sometimes with many. At least some of the Nagas are capable of using magic powers to transform themselves into a human semblance.

This video’s description: On January 5, 2008, the Buddhist congregation in Northern Virginia celebrated the birthday of its principal monk by placing a dragon on the temple.

The Island Shrine of Buddha is very nice, and my first time seeing this in person. The placing of Phraya Nak or Nagas seems appropriate here as well. The water lilies are beautiful, but not as pretty as last year, and Lotus is the flower of Buddhism.

This library was completed last year, but at the time I thought it was the Gouti (living quarter) for Abbot, Most Ven. Bounmy Kittithammavanno, and it was announced now that it is a library for those that have interest in learning about Buddhism, and also for our younger generations. The entrance arch has a wheel of spokes, called the Wheel of the Law by its Sanskrit name of Dharmacakra (pronounced Dharmachakra). This is only one of the many signs or symbols that are holy to Buddhists because they stand for our religion and make us think of its teachings when we see any of these symbols.

The Buddha described the wheel in this way: “The spokes of the wheel are the rules of pure conduct (The way to find happiness is like a road or pathway. In fact, it is called “the Noble Eightfold Path” such as Right Understanding, Right Aims, Right Speech, Right Actions, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Meditation) the equal length of all the spokes represent justice; wisdom is the tire, the hub is thoughtfulness and the axle is the immovable truth.”

I had a chance to meet Loung Nien last year (currently known as Cuba (monk) Nien residing at Wat Lao Buddhavong). It was last July 4th, my dad wanted me to see the Bodhi tree behind the temple, and nearby is a giant tent where he does most of his sculpture work. Cuba Nien is Thai, and at the time I didn’t know where all these Nagas and sculptures were going to be placed at, all I knew was that it would be somewhere in front of the Wat (temple). I thought they were pretty, and took some pictures. I wanted to write a story about this last year, but didn’t know where to start, and now it’s all coming together, those that I saw are the beautiful Nagas on the rooftop of the Sala Houng Tum (worship hall.)

This is the end of my trip, I hope you enjoy reading and hope to see you there next year.

6 comments

  1. ascandaloussin, the temple situated on a 58 acres lot, next to a huge cornfield. I’d feel guilty if I don’t tell you this, I do have to admit that photography seems to bring out more beauty of the place, but then again beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and I think this place is beautiful. I was a bit disappointed about the water lilies, there are not as many this time as last year, might be because it might have been cold in the area, and they are coming out late, I was looking forward to this, and when I saw that they were so few, I was a bit disappointed, but the Nagas rooftop, and the Island Shrine of Buddha more than made up for it. 🙂

  2. I discovered your blog through Lynda’s blog. I am mesmerized by your wisdom and writing. All your photos are very beautiful as well.

    I am very happy to be part of the beautiful and mysterious culture of Laos. The Wat and Naga is just so mystical. I wish that one day I could go back to Laos.

    Take care.

  3. Hi lady0fdarkness, thank you for the visit and such kind words, I think you’re spoiling me; I’m not used to comment such as this 🙂 . I’m hoping to visit Laos soon, and can’t wait to see the temple, Nagas rooftop in Laos.

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