Heruka

Heruka (Sanskrit; Tib.khrag 'thung), is the name of a category of wrathful deities, enlightened beings in Vajrayana Buddhism that adopt a fierce countenance to benefit sentient beings. In China and Japan, it was named as Wisdom King. Herukas represent the embodiment of indivisible bliss and emptiness. They appear as yidam or meditational deities in tantric sadhana, usually placed in a mandala and often accompanied by a yab-yum consort. Heruka is a Sanskrit word that has a number of different meanings depending on the tantra in which it is defined. In the Tibetan language the word heruka is translated as drag tung which means blood drinker. When the term heruka is used in art and iconography it generally has three different meanings as found below. In the Nyingma (Old) Tradition Heruka generally refers to any male-meditational deity, wrathful in appearance, typically with three faces, six arms, four legs, wings and a consort. There are eight famous Nyingma Heruka deities. Some deities with a semi-peaceful - semi-wrathful appearance, arising from specific Revealed Treasure Traditions, may also be referred to as Heruka. In the Sarma (New) Traditions of Sakya, Kagyu, Jonang and others, the term Heruka typically refers to any complex Anuttarayoga male-meditational deity, peaceful or wrathful, that appears in a simplified form with one face, two arms and a consort. In the Gelug Tradition (also belonging to the Sarma) the term Heruka almost exclusively refers to the complex meditational deity Chakrasamvara in all aspects.

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