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Yamāntaka (Sanskrit: यमान्तक Yamāntaka or Vajrabhairava Tibetan: གཤིན་རྗེ་གཤེད་, རྡོ་རྗེ་འཇིགས་བྱེད།, Wylie: gshin rje gshed; rdo rje 'jigs byed; 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 a wrathful expression of Mañjuśrī, the Samyaksambuddha of wisdom who, in other contexts, also functions as a dharmapala or a Heruka. Yamāntaka manifests in several different forms, one of which (via yogatantra) has six legs, six faces and six arms holding various weapons while sitting or standing on a water buffalo.
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
In Japanese esoteric teachings, Dai Itoku-Myoo is the wrathful emanation of Amida and is pictured with six faces, legs and arms holding various weapons while sitting on a white ox.
Yamāntaka is a Sanskrit name that can be broken down into two primary elements: Yama, the name of the god of death; and antaka (making an end). Thus, Yamāntaka means “Destroyer of Death” or "Conqueror of Death".
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