Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Worldly Protector: Dhritarashtra, Guardian of the East

Dhritarashtra Masterworks

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Dhritarashtra Description (below)
- Four Guardian Kings Main Page
- Four Kings Outline
- Arhats Main Page
- Confusions
- Others...

Dhritarashtra (Tibetan: yul khor srung), Guardian of the Eastern Direction and King of the Gandharva - celestial musicians.

Dhritarashtra, leader of the Gandharva heavenly musicians, is a worldly guardian worshipped as a protector. He lives on the east 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 Virudhaka, 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 with the later Mahayana. 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.

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Jeff Watt 6-99 [updated 8-2018, 1-2020]