NOTES ON DRAGON-RULERS OF THE WATERS Adrian Snodgrass – TAASA Review December 2008


This article was originally found in the December 2008 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 17, Issue 4, Page 18).

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B efore entering a Buddhist shrine or temple in East Asia, it is common practice to wash the hands and mouth with water dipped from a trough standing in the shrine courtyard.

As with similar acts in many religions throughout the world, this washing is an act of purification, removing the dust of the world before entering a sacred and pure space.

However, in East Asian Buddhist temples, the rite has added meanings, which are conveyed by the fact that more often than not the water flows into the ablutions trough from the mouth of a dragon (as illustrated)...