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Statue of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. Renge-in Tanjō-ji, Tamana, Japan


Basic terms




Dhritarashtra (Sanskrit: धृतराष्ट्र, Dhṛtarāṣṭra) or Dhatarattha (Pali: धतरट्ठ Dhataraṭṭha) is one of the Four Heavenly Kings and an important person in Buddhism.

Name[change | change source]

The name Dhṛtarāṣṭra comes from two Sanskrit words: "dhṛta" (possessing; bearing) and "rāṣṭra" (kingdom; territory).[1]

Character[change | change source]

Dhṛtarāṣṭra is the guardian god of the East. He lives on the eastern part of Mount Sumeru. He is leader of the gandharvas and the pishacas.

He is often shown in art playing a stringed instrument.

Theravada[change | change source]

In the Pāli writings of the Theravada Buddhist tradition, Dhṛtarāṣṭra is called Dhataraṭṭha. Dhataraṭṭha is one of the Four Great Kings, each one of which rules over a direction. Vessavaṇa's direction is the eastern quarter of the world.

He has many sons called "Indra." He also has a daughter named Sirī.[2]

Japan[change | change source]

In Japan, Jikokuten (持国天) is often shown wearing a suit of armor. He usually holds a sword and a trident while standing on top of a demon called a jaki.[3]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  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.