Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Nagas in the News: world's largest dinosaur

CC Liu, Crystal Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly; Science Editor Ian Sample (
(Discovery Dinosaurs) "The Best of Discovery Dinosaurs" Enter the prehistoric world when dinosaurs ruled. See them hunt and battle. See them roam in massive herds. Go back in time and experience what dinosaur life was like on Earth.

The world's largest nagas still roam the seas, allegedly in increasing numbers (wiki)

  • In Buddhism a naga means a "large creature," but the word generally designates a reptilian, reptoid-hybrid, dragon, or snake, such as the king cobra. See sutra below. The titans (asuras) were enormous and ill-disposed creatures who fell to Earth.
  • Dreadnoughtus schrani ("dread nothing," the fearless) unearthed in Argentina is most complete skeleton of plant-eating titanosaur recovered anywhere in world.
  • The unearthed specimen is 26-metre (metre=3 feet, 4 inches) long, making it the largest dinosaur ever known to have existed.
Naga dragon (Daklub/
The spectacular remains of one of the largest beasts ever to walk the planet have been unearthed by fossil hunters in southern Patagonia.

The unique haul of bones includes a metre-wide neck vertebra, a thigh bone that stands as tall as a man, and ribs the size of planks, representing the most complete skeleton of a colossal plant-eating titanosaur recovered anywhere in the world.

Living relic shark
The new species was so enormous that researchers named it Dreadnoughtus schrani after the dreadnought battleships of the early 20th century on the grounds that it would fear nothing that crossed its path.

Naga vs. naga as massive anaconda snake devours a crocodile in Australia (video still)
Theropod nest (
From measurements of the bones, scientists worked out that Dreadnoughtus weighed nearly 60 tonnes (131,276 lbs) and reached 26 metres from snout to tail, making it the largest land animal for which an accurate body mass can be calculated.

The colossal dreadnoughts lived around 77 million years ago in a temperate forest at the southern tip of South America.

Buddhist feathered dragons (
Its bodyweight equates to as many as a dozen African elephants or more than seven of the Tyrannosaurs rex species, according to Kenneth Lacorvara, a paleontologist at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Details of the find are published in the journal, Scientific Reports.

Another giant prehistoric animal, Argentinosaurus, was probably of comparable size but its dimensions are known only from a clutch of backbone vertebrae... More + VIDEO

Nagas still lurk in rivers as they did in the Buddha's time. Here one, a Behemoth fish or arapaima, is dredged out of the Amazon river in South America, August 2014. The bigger a creature, the more likely it is to be vegetarian because such a diet is more efficient.

Buddhist naga: seven-headed hydra Mucalinda
John D. Ireland (Muccalinda Sutra, Ud 2.1) edited by Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly
Seven headed Muccalinda (Tamchurch/flickr)
Thus have I heard. At one time the Blessed One was staying at Uruvela next to the river Nerañjara at the foot of the Mucalinda Tree, having just realized full enlightenment.
At that time he sat cross-legged for seven days experiencing the bliss of liberation.

Now it happened that there occurred out of season a great rainstorm. For seven days there were rain clouds, cold winds, and unsettled weather. Then the naga-king Mucalinda left his dwelling and encircled the Blessed One's body seven times with his coils. He stood with his great hood spread over the him (thinking) to protect him from cold and heat, from gadflies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, and the touch of creeping things.
At the end of those seven days the Blessed One emerged from that profound concentration [samadhi, jhana, absorption]. Then the naga-king Mucalinda, seeing that the sky had cleared and the rain clouds passed, removed his coils. Changing his appearance [by the reptilian shapeshifting power of transformation] and assuming the appearance of a youth, he stood in front of the [Buddha] with his hands folded together [in anjali mudra] venerating him.
Then, on realizing the significance of this, the Blessed One uttered on that occasion this inspired utterance:
Blissful is detachment for one who is content,
For one who has realized Dharma and who sees;
Blissful is non-affliction in the world,
Restraint towards all living creatures; 
Blissful is passionlessness in the world,
The overcoming of sensual desires;
But the abandoning of the [deluded] conceit "I am"*
-- That is truly the supreme bliss.
*NOTE: Dependent Origination is expressed in terms of processes -- events and actions -- without reference to a self. It does not depend on the existence or non-existence of agents performing actions or a framework in time and space in which these processes happen. This makes it possible to understand the causes of suffering and disappointment without the existence or non-existence of an "I" or "other" responsible for those events. Instead, events are viewed simply as events within an impersonal process. This right view makes it possible to abandon clinging to these events, which brings about an end to suffering in accord with what's true. Ideas of an "I" or "other" are seen simply as part of the process (mere formations like the sub-factor of attention under "name" in name-and-form). This is what makes possible the abandoning of attachment to the conceit "I am," as mentioned in Inspired Utterances (Udana) 2:1, 4:1, 6:6, and 7:1. In this way, the treatment of Dependent Origination in the first three udānas, while terse, sets the stage for understanding some of the more paradoxical teachings that appear later in the sutra collection (based on note by Ven. Thanissaro).
    Edward Snowden, who leaked thousands of classified documents pertaining to U.S. electronic surveillance activities, was one of the federal workers vetted and cleared by USIS.
    Snowden, a giant among humans

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