"Once upon a time, there was said to be a text. Not an ordinary text however. It was a text containing the secrets of nature, the cosmos, and reality itself. A text orated and divinely penned, but beyond the reading of mere mortal man. Humans were not considered ready for such revelations, so the texts were hidden deep in water and guarded by snakes, with one great serpent as the text’s main protector.
This myth echoes in various tales of wisdom and knowledge from around the world. In ancient Egypt, there was the Book of Thoth... from Koptos, upper Egypt, hails the tale of the insatiably curious, mighty magician and scribe Neferkaptah ... who used magic to secure the sacred knowledge in this book from the great serpent who fiercely protected the boxed texts hidden deep in the river...
And then there are the Prajnaparamita texts of Mahayana Buddhism. Texts based upon Buddha’s Second Turning of the Wheel of Dharma, that were guarded by the Naga in their watery realm until a time that humanity was deemed ready to receive them. They were eventually given to the great philosopher and teacher Nagarjuna [ca 2nd century] who, to those who would listen, he taught the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra in One Hundred Thousand Lines. In this body of scriptures, the most well known to us are the Diamond Sutra (Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā) and the Heart Sutra (Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya). This wisdom also promises liberation, but the earthly liberation from the suffering of samsara and attachment. And the curse? Well, it could be said that great wisdom can, paradoxically, feel like a heavy curse when so many seem to choose to stay in Plato’s cave...." Excerpts from my latest article in buddhistdoor global. A Hong Kong based Buddhist magazine. .www.buddhistdoor.net/features/the-iconography-of-the-nagas-part-five-the-burden-of-wisdom-
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