dragon deity ［竜神］ (, Pali nāga; ryūjin): Also, dragon god. A deification of the dragon, one of the eight kinds of nonhuman beings held to be guardians of Buddhism. Dragon deities are said to have various powers, such as the ability to cause rain. The Sanskrit nāga means snake or serpent. According to Indian mythology, nāga-demons with human faces and serpent-like lower extremities inhabited the waters or lived under the earth. Their ruler, nāga-rāja (serpent-king), was feared as a huge poisonous being on the one hand and worshiped as the god who caused rain to fall on the other. When Buddhist scriptures were translated into Chinese, nāga was rendered in Chinese as lung, or dragon. Hence the terms dragon gods, dragon kings, and the nāga girl, or dragon girl.