yakṣa (P. yakkha; T. gnod sbyin གནོད་སྦྱིན་; C. yecha 夜叉) are a class of nature-spirits that commonly serve as protectors of the earth and trees and treasures hidden in the earth or in the roots of trees. They are usually benevolent, but sometimes mischievous or capricious.
The 84000 glossary states:
- Yakṣas are ambivalent nature spirits. According to Indian mythology, they inhabit trees, ponds, and other natural places, and serve as guardians of a certain locale. They possess magical powers, are shapeshifters, and can appear as helpful to and protective of the Buddha, his disciples, and the teachings. They can also be malevolent forces that create obstacles and illness.
- Further reading
- Yaksha, Wikipedia
- Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton: 2014), s.v. yakṣa
- Stefon, Matt. "Yaksha | Hindu mythology". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
- Singh (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India. New Delhi: Pearson Education. p. 430. ISBN 978-81-317-1120-0.
- གནོད་སྦྱིན་, Christian-Steinert Dictionary
- Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton: 2014), s.v. aṣṭasenā