Black Naga's Devil

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(klu bdud nag po), known in full as the "Supreme Herb, Black Diamond Naga's Devil" (rtswa mchog klu bdud rdo rje nag po), is the bonnet bell-flower (Codonopsis). According to information received in conversation with Dr. Sherap Jorden, this is a creeping plant with grey-blue flowers and an unpleasant smell. The preparation made from its roots, leaves, flowers, and fruits is said to cure all diseases, especially leprosy and epilepsy; to enable one to fly in the sky and walk on water; and to bring forth all ordinary and extraordinary siddhis. It is used in the preparation of a sacramental substance (dam rdzas) called the "rainbow light pill" ('ja 'od ril bu), the mere taste of which liberates one from rebirth in the three lower realms of samsara. The common klu bdud (Codonopsis nervosa) is used, associated with eighteen other medicines, as an anti-inflammatory, an analgesic, a tonic, and as a treatment for gout, abscesses and leprosy. See also, T.J. Tsarong (1986). On the likely identification of the klu bdud rdo rje as Codonopsis convolvulaceae or Codonopsis ovata, and for a detailed description of this plant and its varieties see Fletcher (1975), Martin (1988, pp. 351-354), and Sorensen (1990). According to Terton Rinchen Lingpa (gter ston rin chen gling pa, 1295-1375), this plant is called Diamond Naga's Devil, because it is precious like a diamond and because it overcomes the nagas that cause leprosy and other skin diseases (see gso ba rig pa'i tshig mdzod g.yu thog dgongs rgyan, p. 18). According to Trogawa Rinpoche, the Diamond Naga's Devil (klu bdud rdo rje) should not be confused with the ordinary Naga's Devil (klu bdud): only some persons with spiritual capacities can see and find the former at dusk, when the plant is said to emit a faint glow. [MR-ShabkarNotes]