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lokapala

in Hindu and Buddhist mythology, any of the guardians of the four cardinal directions. They are known in Tibetan as 'jig-rtenskyong, in Chinese as t'ien-wang, and in Japanese as shi-tenno. The Hindu protectors, who ride on elephants, are Indra, who governs the east, Yama the south, Varuna the west, and Kubera the north. Kubera, also referred to as Vaisravana, is common to both Hindu and Buddhist traditions. The other Buddhist lokapalas are Dhrtarastra (east), Virudhaka (south), and Virupaksa (west).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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