Naga Images in Thailand’s Folktales

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Yaliang Chang


Naga, the guardian of Triratna, dominates the waters, and is  an important cultural image of Thailand, as well as an auspicious symbol of ordinary life. This paper used nine folktales of Thailand as texts for exploring the Naga images. Results of this paper show: (a). The Naga images of Thailand folktales can be divided into two types: images of Buddhist stories and local stories. The main difference between the two types is Naga's behavior after converting into Buddha. (b). There are two types of Naga images reflected by two distinct cultural systems. One is Buddhism, and the other is indigenous serpent worship. The findings also imply that serpent worship probably existed before Theravada Buddhism came into Southeast Asia. It means that the Naga image of Thailand is the result of the long-term integration of local culture and foreign culture and is not entirely affected by Indianization.


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