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Buddhism
Buddhism
includes a wide array of divine beings that are venerated in various ritual and popular contexts. Initially they included mainly Indian deities such as devas and yakshas, but later came to include other Asian spirits and local gods. They range from enlightened Buddhas to regional spirits adopted by Buddhists or practiced on the margins of the religion. Buddhists later also came to incorporate aspects from countries such as China and Japan into their pantheons.[1] As such, it includes many aspects taken from other mythologies of those cultures. Saraswati
Saraswati
is a Hindu Deva from Gandhara
Gandhara
and the kami[1] are considered to be local, Japanese bodhisattvas by many Japanese Buddhists.

Contents

1 Buddhas

1.1 Fierce deities

2 Bodhisattvas 3 Yidam 4 Devas 5 Yaksha 6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading

Buddhas[edit]

Mandala
Mandala
of the five Buddha families

White Tara and Green Tara

A Buddha is a fully awakened being. In the Theravada
Theravada
tradition, while there is a list of acknowledged past Buddhas, the historical Buddha Sakyamuni
Sakyamuni
is the only Buddha of our current era and is generally not seen as accessible or as existing in some higher plane of existence. Mahayana
Mahayana
Buddhists however venerate several Buddhas, including Maitreya
Maitreya
and Amitabha, who are seen as beings of great wisdom and power who preside over Pure lands that one can travel to after death. In tantric Buddhism
Buddhism
(Vajrayana), there are five primary Buddhas: Vairocana, Aksobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, and Amoghasiddhi. Each is associated with a different consort, direction, aggregate (or, aspect of the personality), emotion, element, color, symbol, and mount.[2] Other Buddhas besides these five include Medicine Buddha
Medicine Buddha
and Nageshvara Raja ( Nāga
Nāga
king). There is also the idea of the Adi-Buddha, the "first Buddha" to attain Buddhahood. Variously named as Vajradhara, Samantabhadra
Samantabhadra
and Vairocana, the first Buddha is also associated with the concept of Dharmakaya. Buddhist Tantra
Tantra
also includes several female Buddhas, such as Tara, the most popular female Buddha in Tibetan Buddhism, who comes in many forms and colors. Other female Buddha figures include Vajrayogini, Nairatmya, and Kurukullā. Some historical figures are also seen as Buddhas, such as the Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna
Nagarjuna
and the figure of Padmasambhava. Fierce deities[edit] In the Buddhist Tantras, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas often manifest in unusual and fierce forms, which are used in tantra as yidams or meditation deities.[3] While some of these deities have a hideous and ferocious appearance,[4] they are not personifications of evil or demonic forces.[3] The ferocious appearance of these deities is used to instill fear in evil spirits which threaten the Dharma.[4] Bodhisattvas[edit]

Avalokiteshvara
Avalokiteshvara
with 1000 arms

A Bodhisattva
Bodhisattva
is any being that has aroused bodhicitta (awakening mind) and is thus working towards full Buddhahood. Bodhisattvas who are seen as powerful and highly advanced are also venerated in Mahayana
Mahayana
and Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Buddhism. The most popular Bodhisattva
Bodhisattva
is Avalokiteshvara
Avalokiteshvara
also known as Guanyin
Guanyin
in East Asia, known as the bodhisattva of compassion.[5] One of the earliest female Bodhisattvas is Prajnaparamita, the personification of the perfection (paramita) or wisdom (prajna). Other female Bodhisattvas include Vasudhara
Vasudhara
and Cundi. In Vajrayana, the major bodhisattvas are known as 'The eight Bodhisattvas':[6]

Ksitigarbha
Ksitigarbha
(sa’i snying po), Vajrapani
Vajrapani
(phyag na rdo rje), Akasagarbha
Akasagarbha
(nam mkha’i snying po), Avalokitesvara
Avalokitesvara
(spyan ras gzigs dbang phyug) Maitreya
Maitreya
(byams pa) Nivaranaviskhambhin (sgrib sel) Samantabhadra
Samantabhadra
(kun tu bzang po) Manjushri
Manjushri
(’jam dpal gzhon nu)

Others include Candraprabha, Suryaprabha, Vajrasattva. Followers of Tibetan Buddhism
Buddhism
consider reborn tulkus such as the Dalai Lamas
Dalai Lamas
to be emanations of bodhisattvas. Yidam[edit] Main article: Iṣṭha-deva(tā) (Buddhism)

Chakrasamvara

The Yidam, or Ishta-devata, is a personal meditation deity. The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
word iṣṭadevatā or iṣṭadevaḥ is defined by V. S. Apte as "a favorite god, one's tutelary deity."[7] Though this term is used in many popular books on Buddhist Tantra, the term işţadevatā has not been attested in any Buddhist tantric text in Sanskrit. The unrelated Tibetan version of the term, possibly of entirely native origin, is yi-dam[8] is said to be a contraction of Tib. yid-kyi-dam-tshig,[9] meaning "samaya of mind"- in other words, the state of being indestructibly bonded with the inherently pure and liberated nature of mind. The Ishta-devata of Hinduism is an aspect of God for personal worship.[10] In Buddhism, a Yidam is a manifestation of enlightenment[11] and may take the form of Sambhogakāya Buddhas, tantric deities, bodhisattvas, Dharma
Dharma
protectors or other historical figures.[11] Devas[edit] Main article: Deva (Buddhism)

The four-faced Brahma (Phra Phrom) statue, Thailand.

Devas are divine beings, though they are not all necessarily wise or on the Buddhist path and hence not final objects of refuge. They have very long lives which have much less suffering than humans, but are not immortal or immune from suffering. Some devas have no physical form and exist in the formless realms. Some devas venerated by Buddhists include Brahma, Sarasvati, Laksmi, Śakra, Hariti, Pattini, Saman and Ganesha. Yaksha[edit] Main article: Yaksha The Yaksha
Yaksha
are a broad class of nature-spirits, usually benevolent, who are caretakers of the natural treasures hidden in the earth and tree roots.[12] Having been worshiped in India since before the Vedic period, Hinduism adopted the worship of Yakshas
Yakshas
like Kuber. Later their worship was adopted by Buddhism. In Jainism
Jainism
Yakshas
Yakshas
were worshipped as Shasana Devatas from the beginning.[13] In Buddhism, it is believed that they reside deep within the Earth under the Himalayas[14] where they guard the wealth of the Earth.[14] The Yaksha
Yaksha
are ruled over by Kubera, the Lord of wealth.[14] In Burma
Burma
there exists the popular worship of nature spirits called Nats which are worshiped alongside of Buddhism. See also[edit]

Buddhist cosmology Karma in Buddhism Hindu deities

References[edit]

^ a b Buddhism
Buddhism
and Mythology ^ Nathaniel DeWitt Garson; Penetrating the Secret Essence Tantra: Context and Philosophy in the Mahayoga System of rNying-ma Tantra, page 43 ^ a b Wrathful Deities Archived October 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. ^ a b Wrathful Guardians of Buddhism
Buddhism
- Aesthetics and Mythology ^ McBride II, Richard D; Popular Esoteric deities and the spread of their cults in Esoteric Buddhism
Buddhism
and the Tantras in East Asia ^ Nathaniel DeWitt Garson; Penetrating the Secret Essence Tantra: Context and Philosophy in the Mahayoga System of rNying-ma Tantra, page 44 ^ V. S. Apte, A Practical Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Dictionary, p. 250. ^ ""The function of the Yidam is one of the profound mysteries of the Vajrayana... Especially during the first years of practice the Yidam is of immense importance. Yidam is the Tibetan rendering of the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
word Istadeva-the indwelling deity; but, where the Hindus take the Istadeva for an actual deity who has been invited to dwell in the devotee's heart, the Yidams
Yidams
of Tantric Buddhism
Buddhism
are in fact the emanations of the adepts own mind. "The Tantric Mysticism of Tibet: A Practical Guide to the Theory, Purpose, and Techniques of Tantric Meditation by John Blofeld. Penguin:1992 ^ Harding, Sarah. "The Dharma
Dharma
Dictionary." Buddhadharma Magazine, Spring 2005. Dharma
Dharma
Dictionary: Yidam ^ Ishta Devata or Personal God ^ a b Yidam ^ "yaksha". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2007-07-15.  ^ [Triloksaar] ^ a b c Yakshas
Yakshas
Hindu Gods of Wealth Archived February 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.

Further reading[edit]

Campbell, Joseph (2003). Myths of light: Eastern Metaphors of the Eternal. Novato, California: New World Library. ISBN 1-57731-403-4. 

v t e

Buddhism
Buddhism
topics

Glossary Index Outline

Foundations

Three Jewels

Buddha Dharma Sangha

Four Noble Truths Noble Eightfold Path Nirvana Middle Way

The Buddha

Tathāgata Birthday Four sights Physical characteristics Footprint Relics Iconography in Laos and Thailand Films Miracles Family

Suddhodāna (father) Māyā (mother) Mahapajapati Gotamī (aunt, adoptive mother) Yasodhara (wife) Rāhula
Rāhula
(son) Ānanda (cousin) Devadatta
Devadatta
(cousin)

Places where the Buddha stayed Buddha in world religions

Key concepts

Avidyā (Ignorance) Bardo Bodhicitta Bodhisattva Buddha-nature Dhamma theory Dharma Enlightenment Five hindrances Indriya Karma Kleshas Mind Stream Parinirvana Pratītyasamutpāda Rebirth Saṃsāra Saṅkhāra Skandha Śūnyatā Taṇhā
Taṇhā
(Craving) Tathātā Ten Fetters Three marks of existence

Impermanence Dukkha Anatta

Two truths doctrine

Cosmology

Ten spiritual realms Six realms

Deva (Buddhism) Human realm Asura realm Hungry Ghost realm Animal realm Hell

Three planes of existence

Practices

Bhavana Bodhipakkhiyādhammā Brahmavihara

Mettā Karuṇā Mudita Upekkha

Buddhābhiseka Dāna Devotion Dhyāna Faith Five Strengths Iddhipada Meditation

Mantras Kammaṭṭhāna Recollection Smarana Anapanasati Samatha Vipassanā
Vipassanā
(Vipassana movement) Shikantaza Zazen Kōan Mandala Tonglen Tantra Tertön Terma

Merit Mindfulness

Satipatthana

Nekkhamma Pāramitā Paritta Puja

Offerings Prostration Chanting

Refuge Satya

Sacca

Seven Factors of Enlightenment

Sati Dhamma vicaya Pīti Passaddhi

Śīla

Five Precepts Bodhisattva
Bodhisattva
vow Prātimokṣa

Threefold Training

Śīla Samadhi Prajñā

Vīrya

Four Right Exertions

Nirvana

Bodhi Bodhisattva Buddhahood Pratyekabuddha Four stages of enlightenment

Sotāpanna Sakadagami Anāgāmi Arhat

Monasticism

Bhikkhu Bhikkhuni Śrāmaṇera Śrāmaṇerī Anagarika Ajahn Sayadaw Zen
Zen
master Rōshi Lama Rinpoche Geshe Tulku Householder Upāsaka and Upāsikā Śrāvaka

The ten principal disciples

Shaolin Monastery

Major figures

Gautama Buddha Kaundinya Assaji Sāriputta Mahamoggallāna Mulian Ānanda Mahākassapa Anuruddha Mahākaccana Nanda Subhuti Punna Upali Mahapajapati Gotamī Khema Uppalavanna Asita Channa Yasa Buddhaghoṣa Nagasena Angulimala Bodhidharma Nagarjuna Asanga Vasubandhu Atiśa Padmasambhava Nichiren Songtsen Gampo Emperor Wen of Sui Dalai Lama Panchen Lama Karmapa Shamarpa Naropa Xuanzang Zhiyi

Texts

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Mahayana
sutras Pāli Canon Chinese Buddhist canon Tibetan Buddhist canon

Branches

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Zen Seon Thiền

Pure Land Tiantai Nichiren Madhyamaka Yogachara

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Countries

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Kalmykia Buryatia

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History

Timeline Ashoka Buddhist councils History of Buddhism
Buddhism
in India

Decline of Buddhism
Buddhism
in India

Great Anti-Buddhist Persecution Greco-Buddhism Buddhism
Buddhism
and the Roman world Buddhism
Buddhism
in the West Silk Road transmission of Buddhism Persecution of Buddhists Banishment of Buddhist monks from Nepal Buddhist crisis Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism Buddhist modernism Vipassana movement 969 Movement Women in Buddhism

Philosophy

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Culture

Architecture

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Art

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Bodhi
Tree Budai Buddharupa Calendar Cuisine Funeral Holidays

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Om mani padme hum

Mudra Music Pilgrimage

Lumbini Maya Devi Temple Bodh Gaya Sarnath Kushinagar

Poetry Prayer beads Prayer wheel Symbolism

Dharmachakra Flag Bhavacakra Swastika Thangka

Temple of the Tooth Vegetarianism

Miscellaneous

Abhijñā Amitābha Avalokiteśvara

Guanyin

Brahmā Dhammapada Dharma
Dharma
talk Hinayana Kalpa Koliya Lineage Maitreya Māra Ṛddhi Sacred languages

Pali Sanskrit

Siddhi Sutra Vinaya

Comparison

Bahá'í Faith Christianity

Influences Comparison

East Asian religions Gnosticism Hinduism Jainism Judaism Psychology Science Theosophy Violence Western philosophy

Lists

Bodhisattvas Books Buddhas

named

Buddhists Suttas Temples

.