Four Heavenly Kings

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The Four Guardian Kings in Burmese depiction.
Tamon-ten (Vaiśravaṇa) at Tōdai-ji

The Four Heavenly Kings (Caturmahārāja), according to Buddhist cosmology, are four dieties that reside in the lowest heavenly realm.[1] Each diety watches over one cardinal direction of the world. They are said to "serve as protectors of the dharma and of sentient beings who are devoted to the dharma".[2]

In Chinese mythology, they are known collectively as the "Fēng Tiáo Yǔ Shùn" (simplified Chinese: 风调雨顺; traditional Chinese: 風調雨順; literally: "Good climate") or "Sì Dà Tiānwáng" (Chinese: 四大天王; literally: "Four Great Heavenly Kings").

The Hall of the Heavenly Kings is a standard component of Chinese Buddhist temples.

In the Sanskrit language they are called Caturmahārāja or Caturmahārājikādeva (Four Great Heavenly Kings).


  1. Princeton Dict icon 166px.png Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. Caturmahārāja
  2. Princeton Dict icon 166px.png Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. Caturmahārāja


  • Princeton Dict icon 166px.png Buswell, Robert E.; Lopez, Donald S. (2014), The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, Princeton University 
  • Chaudhuri, Saroj Kumar. Hindu Gods and Goddesses in Japan. New Delhi: Vedams eBooks (P) Ltd., 2003. ISBN 81-7936-009-1.
  • Nakamura, Hajime. Japan and Indian Asia: Their Cultural Relations in the Past and Present. Calcutta: Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay, 1961. Pp. 1–31.
  • Potter, Karl H., ed. The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, volume 9. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1970–. ISBN 81-208-1968-3, ISBN 81-208-0307-8 (set).
  • Thakur, Upendra. India and Japan: A Study in Interaction During 5th cent.–14th cent. A.D.. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications, 1992. ISBN 81-7017-289-6. Pp. 27–41.

External links

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