Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Pancha Raksha Main Page

Pancha Raksha Masterworks

- Art History

- Iconography

- Religious Context

- Pancha Raksha: Introduction
- Pancha Raksha: Continued
- Pancha Raksha: A Masterwork Painting
- Mahamayuri

The 'Five Protectors' are a group of five female deities that are the personifications of five early Buddhist texts (sutra), the oldest dated to the 4th century A.D. The personifications are also of the special verbal utterances contained in the sutras - called mantras. These five deities each have specific functions and are directed towards accomplishing worldly welfare and happiness, preventing and surviving natural disasters, curing snakebite, overcoming fear and averting pestilence and epidemics.

There are many forms for each of these five female deities, with multiple heads and arms, and many different traditions of practice. The Pancha Raksha deities are most popular in Nepal but can be found throughout the Himalayas and Central Asia as well as in China, Korea and Japan.

- The Five Pancha Raksha:
- Maha Pratisara
- Maha Sahasrapramardini
- Mahamayuri
- Sitavati
- Mantramanudharani

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Jeff Watt 5-2005 [updated 4-2017, 1-2020]