using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : January 2012
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2012 68 Above: Buddha with seven-headed cobra, Wat Khaek, Thailand. Below left: Adam and Eve, by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Below right: Lord Vishnu, the Great Preserver of the Hindu trinity, dozes on the infinite coils of Ananta-Shesha, the king of the nagas. (DEA PICTURE LIBRARY / ART RESOURCE, NY). MUSEOSOUMAYA,MEXICOCITY,MEXICO/BRIDGEMANARTLIBRARYINT.PHOTO:BIDOUZESTÉPHANE|DREAMSTIME.COM In the West, there are almost no stories featuring benevolent snakes. My guess is that it will take the serpentine equivalent of Winnie the Pooh to dispel our ancient loathing. Eve had refused? Of course not. But something inside of us that clings to dependency—the lost innocence of the cradle— remains bitter. A snake got us banished from our little garden, and we’ve been bashing them with shovels ever since. It’s not only the Eden myth, Emberton says, in which the serpent serves as a vehicle for Satan. It’s the whole mindset of Western religion. In the Old Testament, man was given domin- ion over the animals. The creatures of the earth and sea exist for us to use—or extinguish—at our whim. Hinduism and Bud- dhism, on the other hand, don’t afford humanity that right. Emberton has a point. While an Asian pedigree doesn’t pro- tect animals from harm (ask any rhino, elephant, or tiger), it does grant them an equal share in creation. From the Vedas to the Jataka Tales, the stories of Buddha’s past lives, all animals—snakes included—are capable of being generous, humble, and heroic. They have their own families, kingdoms, and moral codes. Snake gods and goddesses—nagas and naginis—are ubiqui- tous characters in South Asian lore, bridges between the vis- ible and elemental realms. They’re viewed with a combination of caution and playfulness, as befits their mercurial nature. Lord Vishnu, the Great Preserver of the Hindu trinity, dozes on the infinite coils of Ananta-Shesha for eight months of the year. Muchilinda Naga—a seven-headed cobra—rose to shel- ter Gautama Siddhartha, the Buddha-to-be, during his pivotal weeks of meditation on the banks of the Anoma River. Snakes have a special place in Nepali culture. Nag Panchami, a holiday devoted exclusively to snake worship, is so ancient that it cuts across caste and religious boundaries. Families prepare ceremonial offerings of milk and tack colorful posters of ser- pents above their doorways, petitioning the noble reptiles for