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The Eighteen Arhats (17)

The Arhat Who Mastered a Dragon
(Jiànglóng Luóhàn 降龙罗汉)

photo by DKJ

It is said that a certain Qìngyǒu 庆友 was knowledgeable in the truths which the Buddha taught, and therefore feared nothing in this world, for he understood the nature of everything.

In a certain place a wicked dragon (èlóng 恶龙) was troubling people. Qìngyóu fearlessly confronted the beast and, after a great battle, tamed it. Indeed, the dragon conceded that it was powerless before a person who had mastered the powers taught by the Buddha.

This is why he is called "The Arhat Who Mastered a Dragon," and it is why in art Qìngyóu is shown with a dragon, sometimes riding it, although in the painting here we apparently see them negotiating an earlier phase of their relationship.

Qìngyóu is one of two arhats added by the Qiánlóng 乾隆 Emperor (reign 21a-4) to the roster of 16 widely worshipped in previous centuries.

Indian Names: Kassapa, Nandimitra, the Arhat of Many Mysteries
Nántí-mì 难提密
Nántí-mìduō 难提密多
Gāshā-yābā 嘎沙鸦巴
Qìngyǒu 庆友 (commonest)
Mó hē jiā yè 摩诃迦叶 (Mahā )
Jiāyè 迦叶
Chinese Names:
Jiànglóng Luóhàn 降龙罗汉, The Arhat Who Mastered a Dragon

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