The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Esoteric deity; Deities of the 12 directions in Japanese Esoteric Buddhism (Mikkyō 密教), including the four directions and four semi-directions, up and down, and sun and moon.
Deva is a Sanskrit term meaning god, deity, or celestial being.
It is rendered as Ten 天 in Japan (天 literally means Heaven or Celestial).
The Deva are deities borrowed from Hindu mythology and adopted into Chinese and Japanese Buddhism as guardians of the monasteries of Esoteric Buddhism.
They appear frequently in Japanese mandala.
Among the 12, Bonten (Brahma) and Taishakuten (Indra) serve in the highest position. Also known as the Twelve Gods Protecting the World. For a larger listing of nearly 80 Deva,