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In Vajrayana Buddhism, a Wisdom King (Sanskrit Vidy?r?ja, Chinese: ; pinyin: Míngwáng; Japanese pronunciation: My) is a type of deity in Buddhism and classed as the third after buddhas and Bodhisattvas in Japanese statuary. The Sanskrit name literally translates to "knowledge king", thus the Chinese character "?", meaning "knowledgeable", or "bright" is used, leading to wide array of alternative English names, including "Radiant King", "Guardian King", etc. In Tibetan Buddhism, they are known as Herukas.
The female counterparts of Wisdom Kings are known as Wisdom Queens (Sanskrit: vidy?-r?jñ?, Chinese? Míngf?i, Japanese? My?hi).
According to the esoteric doctrine of the three chakra bodies (, sanrinjin), whereas Buddhas represent pure concepts and bodhisattvas teach through compassion, Wisdom Kings are embodiments of the wheel of injunction (?, ky?ry? tenshin) and teach through fear, shocking nonbelievers into faith.
As mentioned above, Wisdom Kings are usually represented as wrathful deities, often with blue skin, multiple arms, sometimes with many faces, and even many legs. They hold weapons in their hands and are sometimes adorned with skulls, snakes or animal skins and wreathed in flames.
In the Shingon tradition of Esoteric Buddhism, the Five Great Wisdom Kings (?, Jp: Godai My?-?; Ch: W? Dà Míngwáng), also known as the Five Guardian Kings are a group of Wisdom Kings who represent the luminescent wisdom of the Buddha and protect the Five Wisdom Buddhas. The Five Kings are usually defined as follows.
The Five Wisdom Kings inhabit the Womb Realm. They are organized according to the directions of the compass.
(principal deity/ meditator)