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Pillar with Naga Mucalinda protecting the throne of the Buddha. Railing pillar from Jagannath Tekri, Pauni (Bhandara District). 2nd-1st century BCE. National Museum of India.[1]
12th century Khmer bronze Naga-enthroned Buddha from Banteay Chhmar, Cambodia. Cleveland Museum of Art.

Mucalinda, Muchalinda or Mucilinda is the name of a nāga, a snake-like being, who protected the Gautama Buddha from the elements after his enlightenment.[2]

It is said that six weeks after Gautama Buddha began meditating under the Bodhi Tree, the heavens darkened for seven days, and a prodigious rain descended. However, the mighty King of Serpents, Mucalinda, came from beneath the earth and protected with his hood the one who is the source of all protection. When the great storm had cleared, the serpent king assumed his human form, bowed before the Buddha, and returned in joy to his palace.

Artistic representations[edit]

The subject of Buddha meditating under the protection of Mucalinda is very common in Lao Buddhist art. A particularly striking gigantic modern rendition is present in Bunleua Sulilat's sculpture park Sala Keoku.

The webcomic Sinfest featured a version of this in a sunday strip in 2010.[3]

Literary references[edit]

The legend of Mucalinda (Muchalinda) is prominently featured in Aldous Huxley's novel Island where it functions as a metaphor of communion between humans and nature, in opposition to the hostile/cautious view of snakes in the Western culture.


In Tibetan Buddhism, it was believed that the bodhisattva was the name of philosopher Nagarjuna as Portraition.


  1. ^ "The bas-relief at Pauni or Bharhut in India, which dates back to about the second century B.C., represents a vacant throne protected by a naga with many heads. It also bears an inscription of the Naga Mucalinda (Fig. 3)" SPAFA Digest: Journal Of SEAMEO Project in Archaeology and Fine Arts (SPAFA). SPAFA Co-ordinating Unit. 1987. p. 4.
  2. ^ Thanissaro, Bhikkhu. "Muccalinda Sutta: About Muccalinda".
  3. ^ Ishida, Tatsuya (11 April 2010). "Buddha Muchalinda". Sinfest. Retrieved 29 April 2012.