In the Sarma tradition, the Yamantaka Tantras are classified as the second category of Father Tantra, known as the Anger class. There are sometimes said to be three forms of Yamantaka: Red Yamari, Black Yamari and Vajrabhairava.
In the Kagyé
Yamantaka also appears as one of the eight deities of Kagyé (see image) , where he is also known as Manjushri Body ('jam dpal sku). The instructions related to this form of Yamantaka are based on the so-called "four chakras": secret or abiding chakra, chakra of existence, cutting chakra, and chakra of manifestation.
- See Kongtrul (2005), pp. 321-322
- Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Tayé, The Treasury of Knowledge: Systems of Buddhist Tantra, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2005
- Trulshik Rinpoche, Lerab Ling, June 25th, 2003. 'jam dpal tshe bdag yang zlog me'i spu gri'i sgrub thabs rnon po nad gcod kyi dbang dbang bka' from Döjo Bumzang.
"Razor of Fire", dark blue Yamantaka with three faces and six arms. This was practised by Nubchen Sangye Yeshe, who received it from Guru Rinpoche. Up to that point it was kama, but then it was hidden as a terma.
Yamāntaka (Sanskrit: यमान्तक Yamāntaka; Tibetan: Shinjeshe, གཤིན་རྗེ་གཤེད་, རྡོ་རྗེ་འཇིགས་བྱེད།, Wylie: gshin rje gshed; rdo rje 'jigs byed; Japanese: 大威徳明王, Daïitokumyouou (abbr. Daïitoku); Chinese: 大威德金剛; pinyin: Dà wēidé jīngāng; Mongolian: Эрлэгийн Жаргагчи Erlig-jin Jarghagchi) is a Mahāyāna Buddhist iṣṭadevatā (tib. yidam) of the Highest Yoga Tantra class in Vajrayana, popular within the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Yamantaka, then, represents the goal of the Mahayana practitioner's journey to enlightenment, or the journey itself: in awakening, one adopts the practice of Yamāntaka – the practice of terminating death.
"Yamantaka" or "Shri Bhagavan Yamantaka" (श्री भगवान् यमान्तक; Glorious Lord Making an End of Yama*) is another name for Shri Vajramahabhairava , who is the highest emanation of Bodhisattva Manjushri.
Bodhisattva Manjushri, Shri Vajrabhairava and Shri Bhagavan Yamantaka together represent the Buddhadharmakaya (Body of Enlightened Doctrine) which is also called Vajradhara (Holder of the Thunderbolt) because it holds to the pledge of the thunderbolt (vajrasamaya) which is the pledge to carry out the action of the Buddha.
The wise mind is able to perceive that death has no intrinsic, concrete existence: our understanding of death emerges solely from the conventions of the world. Also, when we achieve the same realization of Yamantaka - who is a Buddha - then we have transcended death.
The secret death is dualistic appearance on the subtlest level of clear light mind and illusory body. With the practice of Yamāntaka one overcomes those types of death and gains immortality as a Buddha.
In Japanese esoteric teachings, he is known as Daiitoku Myoo (大威德明王) and is the wrathful emanation of Amida Nyorai and is pictured with six faces, legs and arms holding various weapons while sitting on a white cow, symbolizing pure enlightenment.