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Statuette of Lokapala

Lokapāla, Sanskrit and Pāli for "guardian of the world", has different uses depending on whether it is found in a Hindu or Buddhist context.

In Buddhism

In Buddhism, lokapāla (Wylie: 'jig rten pa'i srung ma) are one of two broad categories of Dharmapāla (protectors of the Buddhist religion) -the other category being Wisdom Protectors.

In Tibetan Buddhism many of these worldly protector deities are indigenous Tibetan deities, mountain gods, demons, spirits or ghosts that have been subjugated by Padmasambhava or other great adepts and oath bound to protect a monastery, geographic region, particular tradition or as guardians of Buddhism in general.

These worldly protectors are invoked and propitiated to aid the monastery or Buddhist practitioner materially and to remove obstacles to practice. However, since they are considered to be Samsaric beings they are not worshiped or considered as objects of refuge.

Statues of two Tang Dynasty Lokapala

According to Tripitaka Master Shramana Hsuan Hua of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas,[1], All of these beings are invoked (hooked and summoned) and exhorted to behave (subdued) and protect the Dharma and its practitioners in the Shurangama Mantra

Classes of Worldly Protectors

Classes of Worldy Protector include:


  1. [|Hua, Gold Mountain Shramana Tripitaka Master Hsuan]; Bhikshuni Rev. Heng Chih, Bhikshuni Rev. Heng Hsien, David Rounds, Ron Epstein, et al (2003). The Shurangama Sutra - Sutra Text and Supplements with Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua - First Edition. Burlingame, California: Buddhist Text Translation Society. ISBN 0881399493. , Volume 6, Chapter 3: The Spiritual Shurangama Mantra, pp. 87-162, and Chapter 5, The Twelve Categories of Living Beings, pp. 177-191,


  • Kalsang, Ladrang (1996) The Guardian Deities of Tibet Delhi: Winsome Books. (Third Reprint 2003) ISBN 81-88043-04-4
  • Linrothe, Rob (1999) Ruthless Compassion: Wrathful Deities in Early Indo-Tibetan Esoteric Buddhist Art London: Serindia Publications. ISBN 0906026512
  • De Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Rene. (1956) Oracles and Demons of Tibet. Oxford University Press. Reprint Delhi: Books Faith, 1996 - ISBN 8173030391. Reprint Delhi: Paljor Publications, 2002- - ISBN 8186230122

External links

ja:ローカパーラ ru:Локапалы zh:四大天王