The Mahakala Buddha

July 17, 2022 0 Comments

The Mahakala Buddha


Sylvia Smelcer

The Mahakala Buddha is a Dharmapala, or protector of dharma , who resides in the fourth hierarchy of deities, and is most associated with the Vajrayana Buddhism.

Mahakala s Sanskrit meaning comes from its roots of Maha , or great , and kala , meaning black . Tibetans generally tend to refer to Mahakala as the protector . He is also referred to as Lord of the Tent by the nomadic Tibetans, who often call upon Mahakala to protect them in their tents Mahakala is called Daheitian by the Chinese, and Daikokuten by the Japanese.

Mahakala is primarily believed to be an emanation of Avalokiteshvara (the Tibetans Chenrezig), or Chakrasamvara. While some consider Mahakala a wrathful diety, others believe he utilizes wrath or aggression only when more benevolent means fail. Mahakala could be likened to any overwhelming source of regeneration the process of regeneration may be frightening, but real transformation can bring about much more fulfilling growth than their easier counterparts. Much like any protector , or paternal image, Mahakala presents beings with challenging yet fair opportunities for real spiritual evolution. While Mahakala can be fierce, aggressive and destructive at times, his main motivation is to destroy ignorance.


Mahakala takes different forms in different lines of Buddhist teachings. He is generally black in color because his all-encompassing vibration embraces all colors and varieties in existence. Transversely, his black color can represent the absence of all colors, having essentially the same connotation as the former. Mahakala is widely represented to bear a crown of five skulls, which represent the metamorphosis of the five kleshas into the five wisdoms. The mastery of these five principles are: 1) ignorance transforms into the wisdom of reality, 2) pride becomes the wisdom of sameness, 3) attachment becomes the wisdom of discernment, 4) jealousy becomes the wisdom of accomplishment and 5) anger becomes a mirror like wisdom.

Though most depictions of Mahakala have certain similarities, there are several differences to be had as well. Mahakala is often depicted having two, four or six arms again, depending upon the Buddhist sect.

The two-armed version of Mahakala emanates from the original Buddha, and embodies great spiritual wisdom.

Sambhogakaya produces the four-armed version of Mahakala. Each of his four arms are reputed to perform the following four acts of positive karma: pacifying sickness and troubles, expanding good qualities and wisdom, attracting people to the teachings of the dharma, and destroying ignorance, doubt and confusion.

The six-armed Mahakala has both a white and black emanation. The white version originates from Dharmavajra, and aids disciples in attaining riches and longevity. The black counterpart emanates from Avalokiteshvara, and is a powerful force who helps followers overcome any obstacle between themselves and Enlightenment. The six arms represent the perfection of the six perfections: generosity, morality, peace, vigor, meditation and insightful wisdom.

Mahakala has been depicted in many, sometimes rarely seen forms, including: Mahakala Panjarantha or Lord of the Pavillion , the elderly Wise Brahman , Maning or the Black Eunuch , or the Nyingmapas four-headed version. The four heads represent mindfulness of the body, sensations, mind and phenomena.

Never wishing to be without his tools of the trade, Mahakala has been known to carry several props or weapons in one of his many arms, particularly in the six-armed versions. He carries a curved knife, symbolizing his ability to slice through lies and obstacles. Another hand holds both a skullcap full of the blood of his enemies, and a crescent-shaped knife, ready to further chop his enemy to pieces. His next hand holds a damaru, or drum, which serves to rattle the ignorant from their haze in Samsara. He also holds a rosary of skulls, representing continuous activity, as Mahakala never rests in his quest to lead others to Enlightenment. Next Mahakala boasts a trident, symbolizing the three jewels of Buddhism, the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Finally, the ever-vigilant Mahakala keeps a noose at the ready, waiting to rope strays back onto the right path.

Mahakala is a significantly popular Buddha in Japan, and is one of their Seven Lucky Gods. In Japan, Mahakala is known to represent wealth, and bears no wrathful stigma that other cultures may associate with the god. Mahakala in Japan is generally depicted having a good nature, carry a magic gold money mallet , and is thought to bring abundance in the kitchen.

Buddha statues


The Mahakala Buddha

are of special interest to Sylvia Smelcer, who is the owner of e-commerce websites.

Article Source:

The Mahakala Buddha