Si Da Tian Wang – The Four Heavenly Kings

Si Da Tian Wang – The Four Heavenly Kings

Keepers of the Four Directions

四大天王 Si Da Tian Wang {Hok Kian = Si Tay Thien Ong} = The Four Heavenly Kings live on the first level of the Six Desirous Heavens, which is located halfway up Mount Sumeru , and is situated near the human realm. The tip of the mountain is the home of Lord Indra.

The Four Great Heavenly Kings abide respectively on the four sides of the mountain. Their Dharma implements suppress demons and eliminate evil influences.

Each of The Four Heavenly Kings carries a mystical weapon that symbolizes their unique powers, and they are known as The Great Dharma Protectors.

Wind, Harmony, Rain and Prosperity are four divine attributes characterizing The Heavenly Kings. “Wind” refers to the blade of the precious sword which is used to protect all sentient beings. “Harmony” refers to the stringed instrument played to benefit the world. “Rain” refers to the umbrella employed to subjugate demons. And “Prosperity” is the dragon which uses its heavenly sight to observe and safeguard the human realm.

北方多天王 Heavenly King of the North, Mo Li Shou (Vaisravana)

Holding an umbrella, he is actually the leader of The Four Heavenly Kings. Also known as Lord of Wealth, he is “The One Who Listens Incessantly”. His umbrella symbolizes his protection of the Dharma assembly.

As “The Knowledgeable Heavenly King”, he uses his umbrella to shut out delusions and distractions, enabling us to focus on the pure Dharma. Sometimes, instead of holding the umbrella, he holds a banner of victory, a stupa (Pagoda), or a pet mongoose commemorating his victory over the Nagas (Serpents).

In popular thought or belief, this mongoose can bring forth priceless jewels for he is superficially God of Wealth. The “wealth” he represents is the knowledge of the Dharma. In his wrathful aspect, he uses his umbrella to create darkness and chaos to scatter his enemies.

方持天王 Heavenly King of the East, Mo Li Qing (Dhrtarastra)

Holding a Chinese lute, (pi-pa), he is “The One Who Upholds The Land” through Harmony, and also known as Lord of Thunder. As his lute represents ease, comfort and the good things of civilization, it also symbolizes Harmony and Balance; the string must neither be too tight nor too loose, and so all human affairs must be conducted with moderation.

In his wrathful aspect, he is able to pluck the strings of his lute and raise up strong wind. As his enemies stop to listen, the wind whips up the campfire thus burning the camps to the ground.

南方增天王 Heavenly King of the South, Mo Li Hong (Virudhaka)

Holding a sword, he is known as “The One Who Enhances Virtue”. By using his Sword of Wisdom to control evil, he enhances and improves the lives of all sentient beings. As the God of Death and the Underworld, sometimes he is depicted trampling a demon under foot, representing the control over evil. His actions are of great benefit, with an overtone of bringing prosperity.

西方目天王 Heavenly King of the West, Mo Li Hai (Virupaksa)

Holding a snake in one hand and a wish-fulfilling jewel in the other, he is known as “The One With Broad Perception” who watches over the world with a thousand eyes. As Lord of the Cosmic Order, the snake in his hand signifies that he is the King of Nagas (Serpents), and he serves to raise up our awareness and inspire in us the Bodhi mind.

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Si Tay Thien Ong - Empat Raja Langit

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