Dhṛtarāṣṭra

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Dhṛtarāṣṭra
蓮華院持国天1.jpg
Sanskritधृतराष्ट्र
Dhṛtarāṣṭra
Pāliधतरट्ठ
Dhataraṭṭha
Chinese持國天王
(Pinyin: Chíguó Tiānwáng)
Japanese持国天
(romaji: Jikokuten)
Korean지국천
(RR: Jiguk cheon)
Sinhalaදෘතරාෂ්ට
Thaiท้าวธตรฐ
Thao Thatarot
Tibetanཡུལ་འཁོར་སྲུང
Wylie: yul 'khor srung
THL: Yulkhor Sung
VietnameseTrì Quốc Thiên
Information
Venerated byTheravāda

Mahāyāna

AttributesGuardian of the East
Dharma Wheel.svg Buddhism portal

Dhṛtarāṣṭra (Sanskrit; Pali: Dhataraṭṭha) is a major deity in Buddhism and one of the Four Heavenly Kings. His name means "Upholder of the Nation."

Names[edit]

The name Dhṛtarāṣṭra is a Sanskrit compound of the words dhṛta (possessing; bearing) and rāṣṭra (kingdom; territory).[1] Other names include:

Characteristics[edit]

Dhṛtarāṣṭra is the guardian of the eastern direction. He lives on the eastern part of Sumeru. He is leader of the gandharvas and piśācas.

Most East Asian depictions of Dhṛtarāṣṭra show him playing a stringed instrument, but the presence of this motif varies.

Theravāda[edit]

In the Pāli Canon of Theravāda Buddhism, Dhṛtarāṣṭra is called Dhataraṭṭha. Dhataraṭṭha is one of the Cātummahārājāno, or "Four Great Kings." each of whom rules over a specific direction.

He has many sons who go by the title "Indra, as well as a daughter named Sirī.[2]

Japan[edit]

In Japan, Jikokuten (持国天) is commonly depicted with a fierce expression. He is clad in armor, often brandishing a sword or trident spear while trampling a jaki.[3]

Nāga King[edit]

Although an entirely separate figure, Buddhist literature features a Nāga King also named Dhṛtarāṣṭra. He was the father of Gautama Buddha in a past life when the latter was a bodhisattva named Bhūridatta. His story may be found in the Bhūridatta Jātaka of the Pali Canon.[4]

He is also mentioned in several Mahāyāna Sutras, including the Mahāmāyūrī Vidyārājñī Sūtra and the Mahāmegha Sūtra.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dhṛtarāṣṭra". Wisdom Library. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  2. ^ "Dhatarattha". Buddhist Dictionary of Pali Proper Names. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  3. ^ "Jikokuten 持国天". JAANUS. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  4. ^ "Bhuridatta Jātaka". Sutta Central. Retrieved 2019-02-22.

External links[edit]