- In Hinduism, lokapāla refers to the Guardians of the Directions associated with the four cardinal directions.
- In Buddhism, lokapāla refers to the Four Heavenly Kings, and to other protector spirits, whereas the Guardians of the Directions are referred to as the 'dikpālas'
(Pronunciation: "LOH kah pah lah") Guardians of the four directions, or "Four Heavenly Kings," commonly found in Buddhist temple architecture. Chinese: Tien Wang ("TYEN wahng"); Japanese: Shi Tenno ("SHEE ten noh").
Guardians of the Four Directions. As protectors of the Buddhist faith, these guardians are typically represented wearing armor and brandishing weapons. In Buddhist sculptural programs, they are typically placed at the four corners of the altar.
In Tibetan Buddhism many of these worldly protector deities are indigenous Tibetan deities, mountain gods, demons, spirits or ghosts that have been subjugated by Padmasambhava or other great adepts and oath bound to protect a monastery, geographic region, particular tradition or as guardians of Buddhism in general.
These worldly protectors are invoked and propitiated to aid the monastery or Buddhist practitioner materially and to remove obstacles to practice. However, since they are considered to be Samsaric beings they are not worshiped or considered as objects of refuge.
According to Tripitaka Master Shramana Hsuan Hua of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, All of these beings are invoked (hooked and summoned) and exhorted to behave (subdued) and protect the Dharma and its practitioners in the Shurangama Mantra
Classes of Worldly Protectors
Classes of Worldy Protector include: