Honest Myth:Buddhist- Asura and Indra

Since the end of Naruto, TheBetterCup and I have been in a very down mood. It is weird to think that a large part of our childhood is over. I mean, this is something we have been watching since we were in grade school. Now we are turning twenty and in uni, and it is ending a long with our childhood. It may just be that this is a little sign that we are officially growing up, which is a tad unsettling. Anyways, I will try not to have any spoilers of Naruto, but just in case: WARNING MAY CONTAIN NARUTO SPOILERS.

Asura and Indra (Godly Versions) as seen in Naruto.

Asura and Indra (Godly Versions) as seen in Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto

So the end of Naruto includes references to some Buddhist/Hindu and Japanese mythology. So with out telling you what happens lets just talk about two names that are mentioned during that Fourth Shinobi War. Asura and Indra are found in both Buddhist and Hindu mythology, and they have a very interesting story that you should know if you wish to truly understand what happens.

asura

If you know where this photo is from, please tell me. The photo I included has a more demonic looking Asura, but some are more human looking.

Asura:

The Asura come from Hindu mythology and are seen as nature spirits that opposed the devas (Gods). They are contemporarily (is that a word) shown as power hungry. They began as equals to the devas, but evolved to lesser beings through out history. Because of this, they also went from being gods that fell because of a small mistake to these evil and sinful creatures.

They are described as addicted to negative passions such as wrath, pride, and falseness. They are also said to be obsessed with violence and ego. There are four unhappy births, and rebirth as an Asura is one of them (the other three include being born an animal, going to hell for a short period, or becoming a preta or starving ghost). To be born as an Asura, one must have had had good intentions as a human, but still have done harm to others.

They lead very pleasure seeking lives, but still feel unhappy because they are jealous of the Deva and want to regain their initial rank. They live at the foot of Mt. Sumeru (for good reason), and are broken into many tribes.

Physically, they are said to be low ranking deities with six arms and three heads. Supposedly, the men are hideous, but the women are very exotic and beautiful.

indraIndra:

Indra, also known as Sakra in Buddhist and Japanese text, comes from Hindu mythology. He is the leader of the Devas. He wields lightening bolts and rides a white elephant named Airavata. He is the Lord of the Gods and the rainbow is considered to be his bow.

He can be compared to the Jade Emperor in Chinese mythology. And though Sakra and Indra share many similarities, Sakra tends to be shown as much kinder and more forgiving. His realm, Trayastrimsa, is the polar center of the physical world, and sun and moon revolve around it.

Story:

The Asura and the Deva lived on the peak of Mt. Sumeru, and when Indra was named ruler of the whole world, the Asura celebrated by drinking a very strong and forbidden wine. As they broke the rules, and were very drunk, Indra had them thrown over the mountain off the summit. At the base of Mt. Sumeru, they noticed the growth of a tree called Cittapatali that differed from the tree called Paricchattaka at the peak of the mountain . This was proof that they were no longer allowed to live with the Deva on the mountain. Becoming violent, they tried many times to climb up to the peak often failing, because they would believe a large Deva army would attack. Anytime that the Deva and Asura did clash, Indra would make sure that no harm would befall either side.

Eventually, they stopped fighting when Indra fell in love with the daughter of the of the Asura Cheif Vemacitran. She was given the right to choose any man present as her husband, and she chose an old asura male that she knew was a disguised Indra. Though they ended the battle, the Asura never gained their position back.

I will not say too much about Naruto, but I wondered why Asura and Indra were involved and what it meant. I found this quote of Asura and realized what the cultural significance was: Laden with blessing, lacking power, absolutely determined to fight. I feel like this makes a lot of sense. Anyway, I hope everyone has a good Thanksgiving if you are in the USA, and have a good week to everyone else.

Check out more: www.onmarkproductions.com/html/hachi-bushu.shtml

-Blog Barista

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Honest Myth:Haitian- Marassa Twins

I am so very sorry for how late this ended up being. I almost was not going to post anything for two weeks, but decided against it when I realized this is one of three hobbies that I have that I use to keep myself sane as I study. Anyways, I decided that this week I will put up three posts of mythology instead of one to make up for missing last week. Today’s myth was actually a lot harder to find information for then I was expecting.

The ‘Voodoo’ mythology is a religion found most commonly in Haiti. It is a mixture of Catholicism and African beliefs (including the Yoruban!). They believe in one god and many spirits. The Marassa are divine twins from voodoo mythology. They are the oldest and most ancient of the Loa, or spirits, They are androgynous beings, being describe as either both male and female at the same times, or as taking the form of males or the form of females interchangeably. The Marassa can also be shown as conjoined twins.

They serve at the right hand of Legba, the deity of  crossroads that connects humanity to the heavens and serves as the voice of God. The Marassa twins are also commonly referred to as triplets. In this form they embody the three virtues: faith, hope, and charity.

The twins are extremely childish, and are depicted as little kids. They love to eat, and will eat their fill before complaining that they have yet to eat at all. They love toys and to play games. They can be irrational when angry, and can punish in the most cruelest ways. Most people choose to avoid angering them. They throw tantrums and tend to be very touchy. Each twin must be treated the exact same so neither feels jealous of the other. Also avoid offerings of vegetables. Veggies will their destroy their powers and is considered a major insult.

Their favorite offerings are candy, popcorn, and little dolls.

They are clairvoyant, bestow good luck, can heal people, produce the rain, and can triple or double items. Any twins, triplets, or people with extra appendages (its said the extra appendage comes from a twin that was eaten in the womb) are associated with these twins and are considered more mystical and connected to the loa.

Well there you go, I thought this was super interesting considering the fact that TheBetterCup and I are identical twins. Sorry for the lack of photos, it was really hard to find.

Learn more here: www.sosyetedumarche.com/html/marasa.html

-BlogBarista

Look at how well behaved s/he is!

Look at how well behaved s/he is! I just want to love him/her!!!

Honest Myth:Japanese- The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya

SOME NARUTO SPOILERS (VERY LITTLE, ITS ABOUT THE PAIN ARK SO IF YOU HAVE PASSED THAT THEN PLEASE CONTINUE).

Last night my sister and i ordered food, and we were told it had chestnuts. There was no chestnuts, just a butt-load of garlic. I hate garlic, i try to avoid it like to plague, and here I just ate a plate of garlic! Now it is the next morning, and I have a massive head ache, nausea, and nose bleeding. I never felt so horrible in my life, and worst of all, my body is dispersing this wretched scent of garlic. I feel terrible. But I should not complain to much, instead I think I should share a myth for today.

jirjiryMany of you may know the beautiful artwork that is Naruto will soon be ending. As sad I am for its coming closure, I feel we must commemorate the  story, so today’s myth is on the Gallant Jiraiya. Now in Naruto we know him as the lovable, perverted and sadly deceased teacher of Naruto. A great sannin and noble friend, Jiraiya is based off of a real Japanese Legend of a gallant hero.

Jiraiya was a young man, heir to a Clan in Kyushu. His family fell on hard time, either that or his brother stripped him of his birth right to lead the clan, so Jiraiya was forced to go to Echigo Province and began stealing. He was a chivalrous robber that stole from the rich and gave to the poor. In one of his earlier escapades, Jiraiya saves a young child whose step father was about to through him into a gorge. In another story, he goes on s stroll in Mt. Myoko and saves a giant frog from a serpent. This toad ends up being a wise immortal who lived in the mountain. He teaches Jiraiya toad magic, which allows him to do many incredible deeds including shape shifting into a giant toad. He tests out his new found abilities by killing the murderer of the parents of the little boy who was supposed to be thrown in the gorge. He also takes revenge on the man who ruined his family/clan name. As a chivalrous robber/ninja, he traveled all around Japan and met a young Princess/maiden named Tsunade. She was skilled in Slug magic which she could use to fight and heal. She learned this skill becuase she had gone into the forest one night to get brush wood. There she met an old man who was an immortal snail. After meeting Jiraiya, they fell in love and soon married.

jirJiraiya made many comrades over the time of his travel, and one of them, Yashagoro, soon turned agianst him and Tsunade. He learns the art of Snake magic and called himself Orochimaru. A three way stand off begins where the snake is able to swallow the toad, the toad is able to snatch up the slug with his tongue, and the slug is able to use its mucus to dissolve the snake. Yet, since Tsunade and Jiraiya were working together, they should have easily won, but Orochimaru tricks them. They become unconscious because of snake venom. A kindly comrade named Rikimatsu was there to save them. He was a fourteen year old boy with the ability to do Bird (Tengu) magic and who owed his life to Jiraiya. He went to India to procure the antidote saving Jiraiya and Tsunade. They battled Orochimaru and defeated him.

The episode where Jiraiya dies in Naruto is also called the Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya.

To learn more check this out: www.surpriseround.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/stories-from-myth3/

-Blog Barista

'A frog in a well does not know the great ocean'

‘A frog in a well does not know the great ocean’