Dharmapala, Dharmapāla, Dharma-pala: 12 definitions

Introduction

Introduction:

Dharmapala means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

[«previous next»] — Dharmapala in Purana glossary
Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopedia

Dharmapāla (धर्मपाल).—A minister of Daśaratha. There were eight ministers for Daśaratha: Sṛṣṭi, Jayanta, Vijaya, Siddhārtha, Rāṣṭravardhana, Aśoka, Dharmapāla and Sumantra. (Chapter 6, Agni Purāṇa).

Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: WikiPedia: Tibetan Buddhism

In Vajrayana Buddhism, a dharmapala is a type of wrathful deity. In Tibet, principal Dharmapalas include:

  • Mahakala (Tib. Nagpo Chenpo)
  • Yama (Tib. Shinje)
  • Yamantaka (Tib. Shinje Shed)
  • Hayagriva (Tib. Tamdrin)
  • Vaisravana (Tib. Kubera)
  • Shri Devi (Tib. Palden Lhamo)
  • Changpa
  • Prana Atma (Tib. Begtse)

The name means “Dharma defender” in Sanskrit, and the dharmapalas are also known as the Defenders of the Law (Dharma), or the Protectors of the Law, in English.

In Vajrayana iconography and thangka depictions, dharmapalas are fearsome beings, often with many heads, many hands, or many feet. Dharmapalas often have blue, black or red skin, and a fierce expression with protruding fangs. Though dharmapalas have a terrifying appearance and countenance, they are all bodhisattvas or buddhas, meaning that they are embodiments of compassion that act in a wrathful way for the benefit of sentient beings.

Source: China Buddhism Encyclopedia: Tibetan Buddhism

In Vajrayana Buddhism, a dharmapāla (Wylie: chos skyong) is a type of wrathful deity. The name means "Dharma-defender" in Sanskrit, and the dharmapālas are also known as the Defenders of the Law (Dharma), or the Protectors of the Law, in English.

In Vajrayana iconography and Thangka depictions, dharmapālas are fearsome beings, often with many heads, many hands, or many feet. Dharmapālas often have blue, black or red skin, and a fierce expression with protruding fangs. Though dharmapālas have a terrifying appearance and countenance, they are all Bodhisattvas or Buddhas, meaning that they are embodiments of Compassion that act in a wrathful way for the benefit of Sentient beings.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
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Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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General definition (in Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Dharmapala in Buddhism glossary
Source: academia.edu: The Chronological History of Buddhism

1) Dharmapala (670-580 BCE) was born in a family of bards in the South. He was the disciple of Dharmadasa. He became the head of Nalanda. He was the teacher of Dharmakirti.

2) King Dharmapala (110-160 CE) and Vikramashila Vihara.—Dharmapala conquered Kamarupa in the east to Jalandhara in the west. He became the ruler of entire Uttarapatha. Haribhadra was his preceptor of Buddhism. Dharmapala built Sri Vikramasila Vihara. Buddhist scholars like Kalyanagupta, Sundaravyuha, Sagaramegha, Prabhakara, Purnavardhana, Buddhajnana, Buddhaguhya and Buddhasanti were the contemporaries of Dharmapala. Padmakaraguhya, Dharmakaradatta and Simhamukha flourished in Kashmir at the same time.

India history and geogprahy

Source: academia.edu: The Chronological History of Tibetan Buddhism

Dharmapala (7th century BCE).—Though Buddhism was introduced in Tibet during the time of Samantabhadra (16th century BCE) but Acharya Vetalakshema [Garab Dorje] (1321-1221 BCE) was the first teacher of Tibetan Buddhism. It appears that early Tibetan Buddhists followed Indian Buddhist scholars like Dharmapala.

Source: Shodhganga: a concise history of Sanskrit Chanda literature (history)

Dharmapāla (धर्मपाल) of Laramā is the name of one of the teachers of Dhīreśvarācārya (1851-1919 C.E.): a poet of modern Assam who composed Vṛttamañjarī. Dhīreśvarācārya learnt the systems of grammar at the age of 12 from Rāmadevopādhyā of Nagarakuchi. Then he migrated to Laramā village at the age of 17 to learn from Dharmapāla. Then he became the disciple of Vāsudevopādhyāya of Guvākuchi and Mm. Śrīsiddhanātha Vidyāvāgīśa of Coochbehar.

India history book cover
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The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit dictionary

[«previous next»] — Dharmapala in Sanskrit glossary
Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Dharmapāla (धर्मपाल).—'protector of the law', said metaphorically of (daṇḍa) 'punishment or chastisement', or 'sword'.

Derivable forms: dharmapālaḥ (धर्मपालः).

Dharmapāla is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms dharma and pāla (पाल).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Dharmapāla (धर्मपाल).—(1) (= Pali Dhammapāla 2 of Malalasekara (Dictionary of Pali Proper Names)), name of the son of the purohita Brahmāyu (previous incar- nation of Rāhula): Mahāvastu ii.77.12 ff.; (2) (= Pali Dhamma- pāla 8 of Malalasekara (Dictionary of Pali Proper Names)), name of a teacher: Mahāvyutpatti 3482; (3) name of a prince (previous incarnation of the Buddha): Avadāna-śataka i.178.9 ff.; his story is clearly a modified form of that of the prince- hero in the Pali Culla-Dhammapāla Jātaka, No. 358, where he has the name Dhammapāla (4 of Malalasekara (Dictionary of Pali Proper Names)); (4) name of a gandharva: Suvarṇabhāsottamasūtra 162.2; (5) name of a yakṣa: Mahā-Māyūrī 84.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Dharmapāla (धर्मपाल).—m. 1. the guardian of law. 2. a proper name.

Dharmapāla is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms dharma and pāla (पाल).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Aufrecht Catalogus Catalogorum

Dharmapāla (धर्मपाल) as mentioned in Aufrecht’s Catalogus Catalogorum:—poet. [Sūktikarṇāmṛta by Śrīdharadāsa]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Dharmapāla (धर्मपाल):—[=dharma-pāla] [from dharma > dhara] m. ‘l° guardian’ [figuratively] = punishment or sword, [Mahābhārata xii, 4429; 6204]

2) [v.s. ...] Name of a minister of king Daśa-ratha, [Rāmāyaṇa]

3) [v.s. ...] of a great scholar, [Buddhist literature]

4) [v.s. ...] of a prince, [Inscriptions]

5) [v.s. ...] of a poet, [Catalogue(s)]

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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