Dharmapala, aka: Dharmapāla, Dharma-pala; 7 Definition(s)

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 Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric 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: WikiPedia: 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.

Source: China Buddhism Encyclopedia: Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

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)

Dharmapala in Buddhism glossary... « previous · [D] · next »

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.

Source: academia.edu: The Chronological History of Buddhism

India history and geogprahy

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: academia.edu: The Chronological History of Tibetan Buddhism

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.

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

Dharmapala in Sanskrit glossary... « previous · [D] · next »

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: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. 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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Relevant definitions

Search found 2506 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Dharma
Dharma.—(SII 1), the sacred law; religious merit; a meri- torious gift, a pious work, a charity...
Pala
Palā (“jackfruit”) refers to one of the several “attributes” (āyudha) or “accessories” of a det...
Palasha
Palāsa (“envious rivalry”) in Buddhism refers to one of the sixteen upakilesa (subtle defilemen...
Lokapala
Lokapāla (लोकपाल).—Indra, Agni, Yama and Varuṇa are called lokapālas. (Śloka 35, Chapter 57, Va...
Gopala
Gopāla is the name of a king from Nalapura hailing from the Yajvapāla dynasty, as mentioned in ...
Shishupala
Śiśupāla (शिशुपाल).—King of Cedi. Previous birth. Jaya and Vijaya, gate-keepers at Vaikuṇṭha we...
Dharmashastra
Dharmaśāstra (धर्मशास्त्र).—The importance of ethics and ethical values (nītiśāstra) is highlig...
Shankhapala
Śaṅkhapāla (शङ्खपाल) is the name of a Nāga king (nāgarāja), according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, ...
Dharmacakra
Dharmacakra (धर्मचक्र) or Dharmacakrahasta refers to “Buddha” and represents one of the four ge...
Sudharma
1) Sudharmā (सुधर्मा).—The assembly hall of the Devas. (the gods). (Bhāgavata, Skandha 10).2) S...
Dharmaraja
Dharmarāja (धर्मराज).—A king of Gauḍadeśa. He became King at a time when Jainism was getting mo...
Dhanapala
Dhanapāla (धनपाल) or Dhanapālaka or Nālāgiri is the name of an elephant, according to the ...
Dvarapala
Dvārapāla (द्वारपाल) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. II.29.10) and represents one ...
Dharmakaya
Dharmakāya (धर्मकाय).—m. (in Pali recorded only as Bhvr. adj. in quite different sense, having ...
Dikpala
Dikpāla (दिक्पाल) is another name for Aṣṭadikpālaka: the “eight guardians of the directions”, a...

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