A dharmapāla is a type of wrathful god in Buddhism.
The name means "dharma protector" in Sanskrit, and the dharmapālas are also known as the Defenders of the Justice (Dharma), or the Guardians of the Law.
There are two kinds of dharmapala
, Worldly Guardians (lokapala
) and Wisdom Protectors (jnanapala).
Only Wisdom Protectors are enlightened beings.
In Vajrayana iconography and thangka depictions, dharmapala are fearsome beings, often with many heads, many hands, or many feet.