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Yamantaka Vajrabhairav, British Museum.
The Japanese equivalent Daiitoku (大威德明王)
Yamantaka-Vajrabhairava mandala
Vajrabhairava thangka, ca. 1740

Yamāntaka (Sanskrit: यमान्तक Yamāntaka or Vajrabhairava Tibetan: གཤིན་རྗེ་གཤེད་, རྡོ་རྗེ་འཇིགས་བྱེད།Wylie: gshin rje gshed; rdo rje 'jigs byed;[1] Japanese: 大威徳明王 Daitokumyōō; Chinese: 大威德金剛; pinyin: Dà Wēidé Jīngāng; Mongolian: Эрлэгийн Жаргагчи Erlig-jin Jarghagchi) is an iṣṭadevatā of the Anuttarayoga Tantra class popular within the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. Yamāntaka is seen as a wrathful manifestation of Mañjuśrī, the bodhisattva of wisdom, and in other contexts functions as a dharmapala.

Within Buddhism, "terminating death" is a quality of all buddhas as they have stopped the cycle of rebirth, samsara. Yamantaka, then, represents the goal of the Mahayana practitioner's journey to enlightenment, or the journey itself: in awakening, one adopts the practice of Yamāntaka – the practice of terminating death.

Yamantaka in Japanese Buddhism[edit]

In Japanese esoteric teachings, Daitoku is the wrathful emanation of Amitābha and is pictured with six faces, legs and arms holding various weapons while sitting on a white cow, symbolizing pure enlightenment.


Yamāntaka is a Sanskrit name that can be broken down into two primary elements: Yama, the name of the god of death; and antaka, or "terminator". Thus, Yamāntaka's name literally means "the terminator of death".[2]

Vajrabhairava is also a Sanskrit name that can be broken down into two elements: vajra and bhairava "terrible, frightful".


  1. ^ "Yamantaka/Vajrabhairava Buddhist Tantric Practice Support". Vajrabhairava.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  2. ^ "Wheel of Sharp Weapons". Retrieved 26 June 2014. 

External links[edit]