research on Chinese dragons on our earth and their legends
|Research of Dragons; Chinese Dragons:
The Chinese dragon is a symbol of wisdom, power, and luck in Chinese culture. Oriental dragons are usually seen as benevolent and kind. Dragons have long been a symbol in Chinese folklore and art. Temples and shrines have been built to honor them. Dragons invade every part of the Chinese culture and lifestyle. They are part of fairy tales and worship. There is no part, or no one, in China who does not know of dragons and care for them.
Through the symbol of the dragon, many Chinese see divine attributes which they aspire to themselves. In fact, the Chinese are sometimes referred to as "descendents of the dragon." The dragon is held in reverence and respect in Chinese culture. It is unseemly to defile a depiction of a dragon. Dragons are referenced by several Chinese proverbs.
Chinese dragons control the rain, rivers, lakes, and sea. They can ward off wandering evil spirits, protect the innocent, and bestow safety unto all. They are called lung or long in the Chinese language. They fly in the sky among clouds. Most pictures of Chinese dragons show them playing with a flaming pearl. Legend has it that the pearl gives them their power and allows them to ascend into heaven.
Chinese dragons have serpentine bodies, four legs, and are usually without wings. They are said to be a composite of various other animals-the body of a snake, the antlers of a deer, the talons of an eagle, the soles of a tiger, the scales of a carp, and the eyes of a demon. It is said that Chinese dragons have 117 scales. They are usually depicted with four toes. In the traditional symbol of the emperor, the dragon is depicted with five. In Japan, dragons are depicted with three toes.
There are nine types of classical Chinese dragons.
They are as follows:
1. Tianlong, the Celestial Dragons, are the celestial dragons who pull the chariots of the gods and guard their palaces.
2. Shenlong, the Spiritual Dragons, control the wind and the rain.
3. Fucanglong, the Dragons of Hidden Treasures, are underworld dragons which guard buried treasures, both natural and man-made. Volcanoes are said to be created when they burst out of the ground to report to heaven.
4. Dilong, the Underground Dragons, are earth dragons whose task it is to preside over rivers and streams. According to some accounts, they are the female counterpart of the Shenlong and they fly only in order to mate.
5. Yinglong, the Winged Dragons, are the oldest of all eastern dragons and the only kind with wings.
6. Qiulong, the Horned Dragons, are considered to be the mightiest dragons.
7. Panlong, the Coiling Dragons, are water dragons believed to mostly inhabit the lakes of the Orient.
8. Huanglong, the Yellow Dragons, once emerged from the River Luo and presented the legendary Emperor Fu Hsi with the elements of writing. They are known for their scholarly knowledge.
9. Lóng Wáng, the Dragon Kings, are rulers over each of the four seas, those of the east, south, west, and north. Although their true form is that of a dragon, they have the ability to shapeshift into human form. They live in crystal palaces guarded by shrimp soldiers and crab generals.
in the book Si-Yu-Ki, written by Hiuen Tsang, the famous Chinese traveller of the 7th century A.D. (Beal’s translation), that in the old days, a certain shepherd provided the king with milk and cream. “Having on one occasion failed to do so, and having received a reprimand, he proceeded . . . with the prayer that he might become a destructive dragon.” His prayer was answered affirmatively, and he betook himself to a cavern whence he intended to ravish the country. Then Tathagata, moved by pity, came from a long distance, persuaded the dragon to behave well, and himself took up his abode in the cavern.
extracted from the Buddhist Records, the doctrines of the gentle saint began first to get a foothold in India. The lower valley of that river was visited in 400 A.D., by the Chinese traveller Fa-Huan, who reported that he found at one place a vast colony of male and female disciples: A white-eared dragon is the patron of this body of priests. He causes fertilizing and seasonable showers of rain to fall within this country, and preserves it from plagues and calamities, and so causes the priesthood to dwell in security. The priests in gratitude for these favours have erected a dragon-chapel, and within it placed a resting-place for his accommodation [and] provide the dragon with food. . . . At the end of each season of rain the dragon suddenly assumes the form of a little serpent both of whose ears are edged with white. The body of priests, recognizing him, place in the midst of his lair a copper vessel full of cream; and then . . . walk past him in procession as if to pay him greeting. He then suddenly disappears. He makes his appearance once every year.
“In Chinese Buddhism,” Dr. Anderson informs us in his celebrated Catalogue, “the dragon plays an important part either as a fierce auxiliary to the Law or as a malevolent creature to be converted or quelled. Its usual character, however, is that of a guardian of the faith under the direction of Buddha, Bodhisattvas, or Arhats. As a dragon king it officiates at the baptism of the Sakyamuni, or bewails his entrance into Nirvana; as an attribute of saintly or divine personages it appears at the feet of the Arhat Panthaka, emerging from the sea to salute the goddess Kuanyin, or as an attendant upon or alternative form of Sarasvati.
Yu was the rain god in Chinese mythology, a beautiful golden dragon. The legend Yu Controlled the Flood explains how he came to be.
The Yellow Emperor, supreme god of the Chinese, looked upon the earth and the wickedness of its inhabitants. He ordered the rain god to cause a great flood over the earth, to cleanse it of humanity's evil. Kun, the Yellow Emperor's grandson, pleaded with his grandfather to end the rains, but the Yellow Emperor did not listen.
Kun met an old, wise tortoise who offered a solution. He told Kun that the Yellow Emperor kept a jar of magic mud in his treasury, and that this mud would solve his problem. Kun stole the jar of magic mud and began spreading it around. Wherever the mud touched, islands of dry land sprung up from the sea.
Having witnessed this, the Yellow Emperor sent the god of fire to kill Kun. Kun turned into the form of a white horse and hid, but the fire god found him and killed him. From his dead body sprung new life. This new life was Yu, Kun's son. Yu was a beautiful dragon with golden scales, a magnificent mane, and five claws per paw.
Yu went to the Yellow Emperor, and, like his late father, begged him to end the flood. He consented, and gave Yu enough magic mud to restore the land. He also appointed Yu the rain god. Yu ended the rain and, with the help of the old tortoise, used the mud to restore the land.
Yu then used his great tail to carve out rivers in the land. The people, having seen this great deed, asked Yu to be their emperor. He consented, and changed from the form of a dragon into the form of a human. He ruled as their emperor, founding the Xia dynasty.