2015年11月15日 星期日

Dragon King 善女龍王/善如龍王

Zennyo Ryūō (善如龍王 or 善女龍王?, lit. "goodness-like dragon-king" or "goodness woman dragon-king" (respectively)) is a rain-goddragon in Japanese mythology. According to Japanese Buddhist tradition, the priest Kūkai made Zennyo Ryūō appear in 824 CE during a famous rainmaking contest at the Kyoto Imperial Palace.



The dragon name Zennyo Ryūō is written with Japanese zen  "good, goodness; virtuous", nyo  "woman; female" or nyo  "like; as if; be like; thus" (differentiated with the "mouth radical" ), and ryūō 龍王 or 竜王 "dragon king".
Zennyo is a common theme in Japanese art, usually depicted as a small dragon but sometimes as a human, either male or female, with a dragon's tail. The "female" representations could explain this variant character 女 (Visser 1913:162). Fowler (1997:155) cites Nishida Nagao 西田長男 that this 女 "woman" in Zennyo was an error for the original character 如. In Japanese Buddhist terminology,nyo 如 "like; thus" is used to translate Sanskrit words like nyorai 如来 "thus come" for tathāgata. Compare shinzennyo 近善女 "near goodness female" translating upāsikā "female disciple; female devotee".
Zennyo 善如 was also the name of a Jodo Shinshu priest (1333-1389 CE) who was a grandson of Kakunyo and the fourth chief priest of the Hongan-ji.
Some legends give the name of Zennyo as Zentatsu 善達 "goodness penetration" with tatsu  "penetrate; arrive at; reach; realize" instead of nyo.

Mount Murō[edit]

Zennyo or Zentatsu 善達 supposedly lived in the Ryūketsu 龍穴 "Dragon Hole/Cave" on Murōyama 室生山 "Mount Murō" in Nara Prefecture, which was an ancient locale of Japanese dragon worship and rainmaking ceremonies.
The oldest historical record is the 937 CE Ben’ichizan nenbun dosha sōjō 宀一山年分度者奏上 "Mount Murō Annual Report of Ordained Monks". It states that in 778 CE five Buddhist monks went to the mountain and ceremonially prayed for the health of futureEmperor Kammu (r. 781-806), who later established the Murō-ji Temple in appreciation. This text also states that in 781 CE, (Fowler 1997:147), "a Dragon King (龍王) who had been residing at this site vowed to protect the country and particularly the temple complex. For this gesture the dragon king was honored with a courtly rank, as was commonly offered to deities."
The ca. 1212-1215 CE Kojidan "Talks about Ancient Matters" specifies this dragon's name and history.


善女龍王像 長谷川等伯・画 安土桃山時代 七尾美術館



Dragon King 善女龍王 (Biographical details)

Dragon King 善女龍王 (mythological figure/creature; Chinese; Male)

Also known as

Dragon King; Yongwang (Korean); Zennyo Ryuo (Japanese); Ryo-o; Ryu-O


Mythological figure. As Ryo-o, a role in gigaku play. The character of the 'Dragon King' derives from the story of a Chinese king of the Northern Qi dynasty (AD 550-77) who was so handsome that he had to wear a fearful mask into battle so that his enemies would be terrified and his allies would not be distracted.

Some Japanese ‪#‎Movember‬ inspiration! This mask with a bristling moustache and beard was used for a Japanese courtly ritual dance which has survived in Japan since the Heian period (AD 794–1185). This is the mask for Ryō-ō, the Dragon King, a character who appears in a Chinese story from the Northern Qi dynasty (550–577). He was so handsome that he had to wear a fearful mask into battle so that his enemies would be terrified and his allies would not be distracted.