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Gandharva (P. gandhabba; T. dri za; C. gantapo/zhongyun youqing 乾闥婆/中蘊有情). Literally, "one who feeds on smells" or "scent-eaters." A type of spirit in Indian and Buddhist cosmology that is said to feed on scents. Gandharvas are said to inhabit the lowest god realms, and are known for their musical abilities.[1]

The gandharvas are one the eight classes of non-human beings (aṣṭasenā) who attended the Buddha's teachings, according to some sutras.[2]

The gandharvas "fly through space and serve as musicians in the heavenly court of Indra or Śakra, the king of the gods, who presides over the heaven of the thirty-three (Trāyastriṃśa) in the sensuous realm of existence (kāmadhātu)."[2]

This term is also used to refer to beings in the intermediate states.[1]

The term gandharvanagara, "city of gandharvas," is often used as a similie to describe something that appears to be real, but is not.[2] (See eight similes of illusion.)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Padmakara Translation Group, A Feast of the Nector of the Supreme Vehicle (Shambhala, 2018), p. 1,780
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton: 2014), s.v. gandharvanagara