Himalayan Art Resources

Collection of Southern Alleghenies: Protectors

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In Tibetan Buddhism there are two principal categories of Protector Deity: [1] Enlightened (Wisdom) and [2] Worldly. The first category of Enlightened Deities means that the deity itself is an emanation of an enlightened Buddha performing the function of a protector for Buddhist teaching systems or practitioners. They can be male or female as well as having a peaceful of wrathful appearance with multiple heads and arms.

The Worldly Protectors are not enlightened, nor are they emanations of Buddhas. The Worldly Protectors are distinct entities, beings, often ghosts, nature spirits or worldly gods, modeled after Indian or Tibetan folk beliefs. These protectors have either promised to be guardians of the Buddhist religion, or they have been subjugated and bound by oath to protect the religion by powerful Buddhist deities or teachers.

Worldly Protectors, aside from the Four Guardian Kings originating in India, are a product of Himalayan and Tibetan Buddhism. The majority of protectors are indigenous mountain gods and spirits associated with geographic locations such as empty valleys, desolate regions, mountain passes and lakes.

Enlightened Protectors:
- Mahakala, Panjarnata #90545, #90546, #90547, #90548, #90549, #90550
- Mahakala, Maning #90553
- Mahakala, Legden #90552
- Shri Devi Magzor Gyalmo #90542
- Yama Dharmaraja #90558

Worldly Protectors:
- Vaishravana #90559
- Damchen Garwa Nagpo #90555, #90556
- Dorje Shugden #90554
- Unidentified #90557