Wrathful Deities

Wrathful Deity Statues, Dharmapala Statues, Mahakala Statues

The wrathful deities of Buddhism are attributed primarily to Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist beliefs. These deities are generally protectors of the Dharma known as “Dharmapala”. Therefore, wrathful deity statues can take forms that are very frightening to the senses. For example, they are adorned with skulls and step on human bodies, drink blood and so on…. However, at the core, many of the wrathful deity statues stand on a foundation of wisdom and compassion. 

Indeed many of these wrathful Buddhist deities are actually emanations of enlightened beings such as Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Their high level Buddhist achievements give them the power to take different forms called “Sambhogakaya. As a result, Dharmapala statues and Mahakala statues can be considered “Sambhogakaya” which have a fearsome appearance although they are actually quite virtuous. This can be a fearsome form or a friendly form. Their objective is to appear in the most effective way that will appeal to their audience.

Therefore, frightening wrathful deity statues may have the objective of protection or they wish to remove obstacles that deter the spiritual realization of devotees. However, they can also appear as peaceful embodiments of the truth or even as a rainbow body.

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