Buddhist Worldly Protector: Virudhaka, Guardian of the South

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Virudhaka (Tibetan: pag pi kye bo), Guardian of the Southern Direction and King of the Kumbhanda.

Virudhaka, leader of the Kumbhanda, is a worldly guardian worshipped as a protector. He lives on the south side of the lower slopes of mount Meru in the Heaven of the Four Great Kings. Like the other Direction Kings, the leader Vaishravana, Virupaksha and Dritarashtra, he swore an oath of protection before the buddha Shakyamuni. The stories and iconography of the Four Guardian Kings arose originally with the early Buddhist sutras and became fully developed in the later Mahayana sutras. They are common to all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Paintings of the Kings are generally found in association with a larger thematic set featuring the buddha Shakyamuni and the 16 Great Arhats.

Jeff Watt 6-99