Protectors of the Doctrine

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Protectors of the [Sacred] Doctrine (chos skyong/ srung ma)

  • The protectors of the sacred doctrine (Skt. dharmapāla) are a class of beings assigned with the important task of protecting the Buddhist teachings and its sincere practitioners. Many of the Tibetan protectors were originally malevolent forces, which were bound under an oath of allegiance to Buddhism by Padmasambhava when he arrived in Tibet during the eighth century. There are two main categories of protectors: 1) supramundane protectors, such as Mahākāla, Ekajaṭī, Vajrasādhu, and Rāhula, who are the wrathful manifestations of enlightened beings; and 2) worldly protectors (many of which were originally malevolent forces) who were coerced and bound under an oath of allegiance to Buddhism. Such protectors can have male or female forms. GD (from the Glossary to Tibetan Elemental Divination Paintings)