The Four directional Kings / Four Guardian Kings
After Buddha had attained enlightenment, he went to Mount Meru to preach his mother so that she could attain nirvana. During his absence in human relam, an evil King named Mara is bringing suffering’s to the people and so one of his disciple visited mount Meru to request Buddha to come back to the human realm. Since Buddha had not finished preaching his mother, he sent the four directional kings on his behalf to protect from the four demonic worlds.
The four directional kings are :
- Dhritarashtra / Yulkhor Sung – East
- Virupaksha / Chenmizang – West
- Vaishravana / Namthoese – North
- Virudhaka / Pha Gyalpo or Pha Chenpo – South
Dhritarashtra/ Yulkhor Sung – the king of east
Dhritarahtra is the king of east and always seen in white in color with playing lute. The lute symbolizes ease and comfort. It also symbolizes harmony and balance.
He is the protector of nation and reminds us that even as a musician, he embodies great strength and power.
Viruphaksha / Chenmizang – the king of west
Visruphaksha is the king of west and always seen red in color. He holds a stupa or Wish fulfilling jewels in a right hand and a serpent / Snake in left hand.
He is said to watch over the world with thousand eyes. The snake in his left hand signifies that he is the king of Naga’s and he serve to raise our awareness and inspire in Bodhi mind.
Vaishravana / Namthosey – the king of North
Vaishravana is the king of North and always seen in yellow in color. He holds a victory banner in right and a mongoose that vomits jewels in left hand.
Also known as ‘the knowledge of heavenly king’ uses his umbrella to shut down from the illusion and distraction enabling us to focus on pure dharma. Sometimes instead of umbrella it holds victory banner.
He is the leader of the four heavenly kings and sometimes it is depicted alone but represents all the four directional king’s.
Virudhaka / Pha chenpo – the king of south
Virudhaka is a king of south and always seen in blue color. He is seen holding sword which cuts through ignorance and emotional defilements thereby improving the lives of all sentient beings.
The painting of the four directional kings is seen at the entrance of every dzongs, Lhakhangs and monasteries as they are considered the seat of Buddha and his treasures. They are also called as treasure guardian deities.