Dharmapala, aka: Dharmapāla, Dharma-pala; 8 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 Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

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

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).

Source: archive.org: Puranic Encyclopaedia
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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)

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
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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)

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

Dharmapāla (धर्मपाल).—(1) (= Pali Dhammapāla 2 of DPPN), n. of the son of the purohita Brahmāyu (previous incar- nation of Rāhula): Mv ii.77.12 ff.; (2) (= Pali Dhamma- pāla 8 of DPPN), n. of a teacher: Mvy 3482; (3) n. of a prince (previous incarnation of the Buddha): Av 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 DPPN); (4) n. of a gandharva: Suv 162.2; (5) n. of a yakṣa: Māy 84.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary
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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 2914 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

Dharma
Dharma (धर्म) was created as a Sādhaka (aspirant) by Brahmā out of his conception (saṅkalpa), a...
Pala
1) Pala (पल) refers to a unit of time-measurement, consisting of 6 niśvāsas (respirations), acc...
Palasha
Palāśa (पलाश).—mfn. (-śaḥ-śā-śaṃ) 1. Green. 2. Unfeeling, unmerciful, cruel. n. (-śaṃ) A leaf. ...
Gopala
Gopāla (गोपाल).—m. (-laḥ) 1. A King, a sovereign. 2. A cowherd. 3. A name of Krishna. E. go the...
Lokapala
Lokapāla (लोकपाल).—m. (-laḥ) 1. A king, a sovereign. 2. A divinity who protects the regions, or...
Dharmacakra
Dharmacakra (धर्मचक्र) refers to the “Wheel of Dharma”, according to an appendix at the 2nd cen...
Shishupala
Śiśupāla (शिशुपाल).—m. (-laḥ) The sovereign of a country in the central part of India or Chedi,...
Dharmashastra
Dharma-śāstra.—(BL), scriptures. Note: dharma-śāstra is defined in the “Indian epigraphical glo...
Dharmaraja
Dharmarāja (धर्मराज).—m. (-jaḥ) 1. A Jain or deified saint, according to the Jaina sect. 2. A n...
Shankhapala
Śaṅkhapāla (शङ्खपाल).—m. (-laḥ) 1. The sun. 2. A Naga or serpent of Patala. E. śaṅkha a conch, ...
Dhanapala
Dhanapāla (धनपाल).—(= Pali id.), n. of an elephant let loose by Devadatta, or by Ajātaśatru at ...
Dikpala
Dikpāla (दिक्पाल).—m. (-laḥ) A regent of a quarter of the universe, Indra of the east; Agni of ...
Dharmashala
Dharmaśālā (धर्मशाला).—f. (-lā) A court of justice, a tribunal. E. dharma justice, and śālā a h...
Dharmaputra
Dharma-putra.—(EI 32), ‘one theoretically accepted as a son’. Note: dharma-putra is defined in ...
Sudharma
1) Sudharmā (सुधर्मा).—The assembly hall of the Devas. (the gods). (Bhāgavata, Skandha 10).2) S...

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