Have You Trained Your Dragon? Socrates, the Buddha, and Jesus

January 12, 2014 — 2 Comments
st-george-and-the-dragon

Tattoo Rendering of Saint George’s Defeat of the Dragon

“Dragon” is mentioned 35 times in the King James Version of the Old and New Testaments.

When Job is really down in the dumps, he laments, “I am a brother to dragons and a companion to owls.”(Job 30:30) Later an angel with chains comes down from heaven in Revelation, “And laid hold of the dragon, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.” (Rev 20.3).

Jesus confronts the dragon in the desert, taking command over him, and commands him  to get “away from me…”. Satan does as he is told and departs. (Matthew 4:9-4;11)

Classic American Rendering of Saint George and Dragon

Classic American Rendering of Dragon Slain by Saint George

Siddhartha Gautama is Attacked by A Different Dragon

Similarly, when Prince Siddhartha Gautama sits under the Bodhi tree for those many days, seeking enlightenment, he is confronted by a dragon, Mara. Mara tempts Siddhartha, trying to derail him from his journey of inner peace by turning his heart to earthly pleasures. Only after Siddhartha wrestles Mara down, pinning the monster  to the floor of another reality, does Siddhartha Gautama become the Buddha , “the enlightened one”

Sidhartha is attacked by the dragon, Mara, as he seeks enlightenment

Sidhartha is attacked by the dragon, Mara, as he seeks enlightenment

The mythology of outer  heroes mirrors  our inner selves.  Anthropologist and thought-leader, Joseph Campbell says  the dragon represents our ego in the landscape of self.  It is the ego  that  says, “I can do that,” “I want that,” and “I love this”.

We all Know  “Ego”.

Jesus wrestled the dragon and beat it back in the desert.  At other times, Jesus supernaturally pulled the dragon out of people in order  that they might heal. Buddha had success under the Bodhi tree.  He banished Mara.  Adam and Eve did not beat the dragon.  They succumbed to it.

The Garden of Eden

In the parable of the garden, the first humans were pushed out of a peaceful existence  because they did not triumph over the dragon.

It is interesting to note there was no rain or snow in Eden. Pools of water  beneath the earth fed the vegetation. No animal killed another for food. Animals lived off the green leaves of plants (Genesis 1:29-30)  The garden was a land of peace.  Outside the garden, the first children of Adam and Eve fought. The first murder resulted from untamed aggression between two brothers.

Jesus says that “The Kingdom of God” is upon you. Whether you believe that Jesus was the son of God or not, Jesus is one of the classic heroes of an enlightened self. He fought the dragon outside and the dragon within. Not even death would stop  his journey.  His commandment  to all was to love the divine and to love others as we love ourselves. His message was peace – triumph over the dragon.

Jesus commands the Dragon known as "Satan" or the "devil"

Rendering of an Anglo-looking Jesus  commanding the Dragon known as “Satan”  and “Devil”

The Discipline of the Daimonic

Socrates spoke   of the “daimonic”. The daimonic to the Greeks was not evil or good. The daimonic was the passion of life.  The daimon held the seeds of both enlightened aspiration and reckless debauchery. Indeed, a strong civilization came about, according to Socrates, because its citizens had their daimonic natures  under control. This  meant that the interests of the common good were realized in individuals.  Civilization,  in the eyes of Socrates , was  both democratic and socialistic. Greed and power were reckless components of the daimonic.

Socrates is forced to drink Hemlock - Virtue is Sufficient to Happiness

Socrates is forced to drink hemlock by  the people of Athens who could no longer control their daimonic  – Virtue is Sufficient to Happiness, said Socrates

Satanism is the Honoring of The Ego Over All Else

This is the central tenet of  The Satanic Bible published in America in 1969.

“The Satanist believes in complete gratification of his ego,” writes Anton LaVey  in The Satanic Bible. “Satanism in fact, is the only religion which advocates the intensification or encouragement of the ego.”

Anton Lavey, author of The Satantic Bible, in San Francisco, Early 1970s

Pop Culture Icon, Anton Lavey, author of The Satanic Bible, in  Early 1970s. 

“Here Be Dragons”

The Dragons in modern fiction are everywhere – The Hobbit, Game of Thrones, Train Your Dragon. In the age of antiquity, “Hic Sunt Dracones” was a common phrase on maps warning the pathfinder  when traveling in the lands of dragons, particularly  in the sea. The Bible refers to the dragon of the sea as “Leviathan”.

Barefoot_King_Dragons

“Hic Sunt Dracones” – “Here Be Dragons”

Where did all those  Dragons  of ancient myth go?

They went within.

Looking at the parable of Eden, the man who listens to the dragon must be expunged,  so that the peaceful garden may grow.  According to Jesus, Buddha, and Socrates, the only way to know peace and the divine, is to cast the dragon off.

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Author’s Note: For several years, I have been slogging through painstaking research on the intersection between psychology, faith and the supernatural.  This research has led to the upcoming fictional series on love, magic and evil, The Barefoot Stories. The Barefoot Stories  are inspired by  a 12th century conception of Merlin, the legendary magus. According to the French poet and playwright, Robert de Boron, Merlin was conceived  to be the first antichrist. Merlin was  to wage war against the growing movement of Christendom  and destroy it.  The plan went awry.
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