The New Year of the Male Water Dragon.

Via Linda Lewis
on Feb 15, 2012
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Shambhala Dragon

February 22, 2012 marks the beginning of the Male Water Dragon Year according to the non-Chinese Asian lunar calendar, which Shambhala Buddhists follow.

So what does this mean? From an absolute view—it does not mean much!

But from the relative world of appearances, the dragon year usually indicates an energetic and assertive year, and hopefully a magnanimous one as well, for the world is in need of good cheer, health and generosity.

In the Shambhala teachings, the dragon represents the dignity (principle) of inscrutability. One who manifests this dignity is a seasoned practitioner who is able to maintain equanimity in both meditation and post-meditation. In other words, a master warrior. This is because the dragon is said to be flexible and unbiased and is at home anywhere—in heaven or earth. The dragon often retreats in the winter, rises up in the mists of spring, brings thunder and rain to the warm earth of summer, and relaxes and admires the golden harvest of autumn.

Since this is the Year of the Water Dragon, it seems auspicious because dragons are usually seen with jewels in their claws—and this is a dragon, rising out of the water like a naga with pearls of wisdom—who knows what power, energy, or teachings may be revealed?

The word for thunder in Tibetan is druk dra, dragon sound, and indeed the dragon is known for proclaiming and being outspoken in a wakeful way. And this seems to be happening already thanks to the internet, i-phones, etc., which expose capitalistic self-centeredness and totalitarian schemes wherever they occur in the world. It is a hope that this Dragon Year may give voice to all beings—not just humans—so that their well-being may be secured.

Those born in the Dragon Year, which occurs every 12 years (so: 1904, 1916, 1928, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, and now 2012) are usually ambitious and career minded because dragons like to be challenged and enjoy daring projects. Romantically, dragons can be promiscuous and when married, they tend to expect high standards of their marriage partners. But they are also honest, forthright, and truthful. The best spouses for dragons are monkeys and rats, for they can be the most accommodating.

In the I Chingm #51 is the Dragon, known as “The Arousing (Shock, Thunder).”  And it brings success. It also comes with “Laughing words—ha ha!” Just like the sudden shock of thunder which then brings rain, the earth feels the relief from the heat of summer and even joy. Yet master warriors remain composed through the heat, the thunder and rain, and smile through the celebrations that may follow.

The message seems to be that this may be an exciting year, but that we should ride the year with as much equanimity as we can muster, rather than let dramatic ups and downs ride us!

Photo: Gordasm.


About Linda Lewis

Linda Lewis met the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1972 and, following Rinpoche’s invitation, immediately moved to Boulder, Colorado to be a part of his young and vital sangha. The predominant themes in her life have been teaching in contemplative schools–Vidya, Naropa, and the Shambhala School in Halifax, Nova Scotia–and studying, practicing, or teaching his Shambhala Buddhadharma wherever she finds herself.


10 Responses to “The New Year of the Male Water Dragon.”

  1. Guest says:

    thanks for the interpretation for this year! very cool. now i'm wondering how does the "male" aspect factor in?

  2. […] what will be the most uninhibited year of the decade –the year of the dragon, the year to let go– it seems fitting to explore the ways people hold themselves […]

  3. […] Now, it’s a new year. The Year of the Male Dragon. Here’s info about what all that means for you. […]

  4. Linda V Lewis says:

    Ah, I wondered if someone would notice that omission! Thanks! Well, the male is the more pronounced, the female more receptive–according to the I-Ching. So this is to be a bold year, rather than an under-stated one.
    It is also interesting to note that Trungpa Rinpoche was born in the Iron Dragon year–a very difficult year that initiated the difficult decades that followed, but that he really met all the challenges with the spirit of adventure, openness, and tremendous innovation and creativity.

  5. Cheerful New Year! I was born in a dragon year (1976) and am excited to see what this one has in store. I love the image of riding the year with equanimity rather than as a roller coaster and hope that with continued practice I am able to do so!

  6. Loring Palmer says:

    Thanks Linda. Yes, if we can "ride" the events, because this portends to be a wild year, as if things could get any more weird. I see the image of this wild dragon thrashing about, destroying all the old irrelevant systems as the Great 5125 year Cycle comes to a close and we enter the Age of Aquarius. We're in the midst of the ending of the Dark Age. And yes, portends to "be an energetic and assertive year." Evolution is a messy business. And as Joanna Macy says, the "Great Unraveling" will bring forth the "Great Shift" of enlightened consciousness, an age of light and enlightenment. It's an exciting time to be alive. Svaha!

  7. Linda V Lewis says:

    Good to hear from you Loring! Also several people have pointed out that I somehow omitted 1940 as a dragon year , although I did mention in the first comment above that Trungpa Rinpoche, born in that year, was a dragon! Thunder and lightening are wakeful! It's not a bad year if we are willing to wake up!

  8. Cliff says:

    Hi Linda and Hi Waylon. I really enjoy Linda's writings. Always both insight-full and practical for me, here, now. Thank you!

  9. […] we’re entering the Chinese Year of the Male Water Dragon, a time of dramatic ups and downs, I invite you to enter the discourse with me. We can enter having confidence in our basic wisdom as […]

  10. […] The end of a year is hard. From a Buddhist point of view, the last few weeks have been the hardest time of the year. Now, today, is the New Year—the year of the Water Dragon. There’s info about what that means, and doesn’t mean, in my mom’s article, below. […]