Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Protector: Yama Dharmaraja Main Page

Yama Dharmaraja Masterworks

- Art History

- Iconography

- Religious Context

- Yama Dharmaraja
- Dharmaraja Mandala: HAR 436
- Yama, Yamantaka, Yamari & Vajrabhairava
- Yamari Cycle of Tantras

Yama Dharmaraja is a Tantric Buddhist - wisdom deity -
protector of the Method Class (father) of Anuttaryoga Tantra specifically used by those engaged in the practices of the Vajrabhairava Tantra. Both Vajrabhairava and Yama Dharmaraja are wrathful emanations of Manjushri - a bodhisattva in Mahayana literature but a tantric deity equal to a Buddha in Vajrayana Buddhism.

This practice is found in all of the Sarma Schools (Sakya, Kagyu, Gelug, etc.) however the Gelugpa Tradition hold Yama Dharmaraja in a special regard as one of the three main Gelug religious protectors along with the Shadbhuja form of Mahakala and Vaishravana Riding a Lion.

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Jeff Watt 4-2000 [updated 2-2010, 3-2019, 12-2019, 1-2020]

(For more on this subject see the publication Demonic Divine by Rob Linrothe and Jeff Watt, Rubin Museum of Art, New York, 2004).