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Yama (T. gshin rje; C. yanmo wang 閻魔王), a.k.a. "the lord of death." The deity who rules over the beings in the hell realms.[1] Also referred to as King Yama (Skt.yamarāja).[1][2]

The Princeton Dictionary states:

Among the six rebirth destinies (ṣaḍgati), Yama is considered a divinity (deva), even though his abode is variously placed in heaven (svarga), in the realm of the ghosts (preta), and in the hells (see nāraka). Birth, old age, sickness, and punishment are said to be his messengers, sent among humans to remind them to avoid evil deeds and to live virtuously.[3]

The Rangjung Yeshe Dharma Dictionary states:

King Yama. The Lord of Death. The terrible judge of the dead. Also a personification of impermanence, the unfailing law of karma and one's inevitable mortality.[2]

In Indian mythology, Yama is described as a judge over the dead.[2][3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Internet-icon.svg gshin rje, Christian-Steinert Dictionary
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Internet-icon.svg གཤིན་རྗེ་རྒྱལ་པོ་, Christian-Steinert Dictionary
  3. 3.0 3.1 Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton: 2014), s.v. yama