Maheśvara (Buddhism)

Maheśvara (Sanskrit: महेश्वर; Pali: Mahissara; traditional Chinese/Japanese: 大自在天; Pinyin: Dàzìzàitiān, Romanji: Daijizaiten) is the ruler of all three realms of samsara in Buddhist Mythology.[citation needed] He is also sometimes referred to as Sabbalokādhipatī Devā in Pali literature. His main duty is to give spiritual knowledge.

(Pinyin: Dàzìzàitiān)
(romaji: Daijizaiten)
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A Nepalese figure of Maheśvara, dated to the 14th century.

The Sanskrit name Maheśvara is composed of two "Mahā" and "Īśvara". The "ā" of mahā and the "ī" of īśvara combine to form a sandhi, which becomes "e", forming the word "Maheśvara". Mahā means "Great" and Īśvara means "lord", hence the name Maheśvara means "the great lord".

Contemporary MaheśvaraEdit

Statue of Dàzìzàitiān (Maheśvara) on Putuoshan Guanyin Dharma Realm in Zhejiang, China

Present Maheśvara is Buddhist by religion, and was reborn as a Deva, because of his merit of donating a cup of honey to Kassapa Buddha in one of his previous lives. His name is Brahma Sahampati. According to Karandavyuha Sutra, Maheśvara was born from the brow of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.[1] According to Buddhist traditions, he helps good people, mostly who follow the Buddhist precepts and eat a vegetarian diet, and also punishes bad people for their evil deeds. He helps yogis doing Kundalini Meditation.[2][3] He is bodhisattva of Tenth Bhumi.[citation needed] He is one of the important deity venerated in Sri Lankan Buddhism. He is one of the twenty four protective deities of Chinese Buddhism and of the sixteen dharmapalas of Tibetan Buddhism.[citation needed]

Maheśvara and VajrapāniEdit

Statue of Dàzìzàitiān (Maheśvara) at Temple of Heaven Garden in Shantou, China

A popular story tells how Vajrapāni kills one Maheśvara, because of his evil deeds. The story occurs in several scriptures, most notably the Sarvatathāgatatattvasaṅgraha and the Vajrāpanyābhiṣeka Mahātantra. The story begins with the transformation of the bodhisattva Samantabhadra into Vajrapāni by Vairocana, the cosmic Buddha, receiving a vajra and the name "Vajrāpani". Vairocana then requests Vajrapāni to generate his adamantine family in order to establish a mandala. Vajrapāni refuses because Maheśvara "is deluding beings with his deceitful religious doctrines and engaging in all kinds of violent criminal conduct". Maheśvara and his entourage are dragged to Mount Meru, and all but Maheśvara submit. Vajrapāni and Maheśvara engage in a magical combat, which is won by Vajrapāni. Maheśvara's retinue become part of Vairocana's mandala, except for Maheśvara, who is killed, and his life transferred to another realm where he becomes a Buddha named Bhasmeśvaranirghoṣa, the "Soundless Lord of Ashes".[4]


  • Chinese:
那嘛 薩曼達 布達喃 嗡 伊hi耶hi 嘛嘿思瓦啦雅 斯哇哈
Nàma sàmàndá bùdánán wēng yīhiyéhi mahēisīwǎlayǎ sīwahā (romanisation)
Namaḥ samanta buddhānām oṃ ehyehi maheśvaraya svāhā (Sanskrit)
  • Japanese:
On makeishibaraya sowaka (romanisation)
Oṃ maheśvaraya svāhā (Sanskrit)

Both the Chinese and Japanese mantras are phonetic transcriptions of verses originally composed in Sanskrit.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Studholme, Alexander (2002). The Origins of Om Manipadme Hum: A Study of the Karandavyuha Sutra. State University of New York Press. p. 39-40.
  2. ^ "Who are Gods & Goddesses". Why Do I Meditate?. Retrieved 2021-02-28.
  3. ^ "Sri Lanka Web Portal on Astrology and Spiritual Development". Retrieved 2021-02-28.
  4. ^ Davidson (2012), p. 151.