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Wrathful deities

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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In Buddhism, wrathful deities are enlightened beings who take on wrathful forms in order to lead sentient beings to enlightenment. They are a notable feature of the iconography of Mahayana Buddhism and of Tibetan Buddhism, and other Vajrayana traditions in particular. A wrathful deity is often an alternative manifestation of a bodhisattva or other normally peaceful figure, making the representations of all human vices and atrocities. True to their name, in Tibetan art, wrathful deities are presented as fearsome, demonic beings adorned with human skulls.

Categories

Wrathful deities can be divided into several categories:

Eight Dharmapalas

The Eight Dharmapalas (Sanskrit: Dharma, 'religion'; Pala, 'protector'), known in Tibetan as Drag-gShed (Standard Tibetan: དྲག་གཤེད). The Dharmapalas, or defenders of Buddhism, are supernatural beings with the rank of Bodhisattva, who "are supposed to wage war without any mercy against the demons and enemies of Buddhism". The Eight Dharmapala are:

Source

Wikipedia:Wrathful deities