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Indra riding his elephant mount, Airavata.

Indra (P. Inda; T. dbang po དབང་པོ་; C. yintuoluo/di-shi 因陀羅/帝釋) refers to one of the principal gods or deities of the Vedic tradition, who is commonly regarded as the chief of all the deities in Indian popular religion.[1]. The full name for Indra is Śakro Devānām Indrah, which translates as "Shakra, king of the gods." Indra is the common abbreviation of this name.[1]

Indra is incoporated within Buddhist cosmology as the ruler of the Heaven of the Thirty-three, which is one of the six heavens of the sensuous realm. In the Buddhist scriptures, he is also presented as a Dharma protector (dharmapāla), and is always shown as subservient to the Buddha.[1] For example, Indra is shown as worshipping the Buddha, holding an umbrella to protect the Buddha from the sun, or carrying an alms bowl for the Buddha.[1]

In Buddhist texts, Indra is also referred to as Shakra (Skt. Śakra; T. brgya sbyin བརྒྱ་སྦྱིན་) which means “Mighty One.”[2] This epithet often appears together with the title “King of Gods.”


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. Indra.
  2. The Tibetan "Gyajin" means “Hundred Gifts,” because he is said to have attained his state by performing one hundred pujas.