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published: 1/20/05
updated: 12/16/13

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Chinese Buddhist Deities

Chinese Buddhism has many beliefs in common with other forms of Mahayana Buddhism, including many of the same bodhisattvas and other religious figures. However, the following Buddhist deities are especially (in some cases, exclusively) popular in China:

  • Kuan-Yin - Chinese and female form of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara
  • Jade Maiden – Acolyte of Kuan Yin
  • Golden Youth – Acolyte of Kuan Yin
  • Kuan-Ti (Sangharama) - Protector of Buddhism
  • Wei-To (Skanda) - Protector of the Dharma
  • Four Guardian Kings (Si-Ta-Tien-Wang)
    • Mo-Li Ching: Guardian of East - holds a magical mandolin or p'i-pa
    • Mo-Li Hai: Guardian of West - shown with the magic dragon or mystical snake
    • Mo-Li Shou: Guardian of North - holds an umbrella as protection against thunderous storms).
    • Mo-Li Hung: Guardian of South - with ferocious expression, and holding a precious sword