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File:Buddhist statue in Leh.jpg
Statue of 1000 arm Sitātapatrā in Leh, Ladakh
Chinese name
Chinese 白傘蓋佛頂
Tibetan name
Tibetan གདུགས་དཀར་མོ།
Korean name
Hangul 시타타파트라
Mongolian name
Mongolian Цагаан шүхэрт
Tsagaan shühert
Japanese name
Kanji 白傘蓋仏頂
Kana シタータパトロ
Tamil name
Tamil சீதாதபத்திரை
san name
san सितातपतत्रा (Sitātapatrā)
pli name
pli Sitātapattā

Sitātapatrā (Sanskrit: "White Parasol"[1]) is a protector against supernatural danger in Buddhism. She is venerated in both the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. She is also known as Uṣṇīṣa Sitātapatrā. It is believed that Sitātapatrā is a powerful independent deity emanated by Gautama Buddha from his uṣṇīṣa. Whoever practices her mantra will be reborn in Amitābha's pure land of Sukhāvatī as well as gaining protection against supernatural danger and witchcraft.[citation needed]


Her name is composed of sita ("white") and ātapatrā ("parasol" or "umbrella").[2]


There are several different forms of Sitatapatra including: with one face and two arms; with three faces and six arms; with three faces and eight arms; with three faces and ten arms; with five faces and ten arms; and, with 1000 faces, 1000 arms and 1000 legs.[3]


The Śūraṅgama Mantra of the Śūraṅgama Sūtra is the most commonly practiced mantra invoking her.[citation needed] According to Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, the "Great White Umbrella" is a sādhanā for healing illness, dispelling interferences and spirit possession, quelling disasters, and bringing auspiciousness. To do practice in full requires a kriyātantra abhiṣeka of Sitātapatrā.[citation needed]



Sitātapatrā is one of the most complex Vajrayana goddesses.[4] According to Miranda Shaw in the Buddhist Goddesses of India, Sitātapatrā emerged from Buddha's uṣṇīṣa when he was in the Trāyastriṃśa heaven.[citation needed] The Buddha announced her role to "cut asunder completely all malignant demons, to cut asunder all the spells of turn aside all enemies and dangers and hatred." Sitātapatrā's benign and beautiful form belies her ferocity as she is a "fierce, terrifying goddess, garlanded by flames, a pulverizer of enemies and demons."[5]

In the Mahayana Sitatapatra Sutra, she is called Aparājita "Undefeatable, Unconquerable" and is also identified as a form of goddess Tārā.[citation needed]

In other sutras, she is regarded as a female counterpart to Avalokiteśvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. Like him, Sitātapatrā manifests in many elaborate forms: having a thousand faces, arms and legs, or simply as a feminine deity of great beauty. Known foremost for her "white parasol" she is most frequently attributed with the "golden wheel". The auspiciousness of the turning of the dharma wheel is symbolic of Buddhism, both in its teachings and realizations.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


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  1. The Cult of Tara: Magic and Ritual in Tibet (Hermeneutics: Studies in the History of Religions) by Stephan Beyer (1978) p.154
  2. The Wheel of Great Compassion by Lorne Ladner and Lama Zopa Rinpoche (Wisdom Publications, 2001) p. 28
  3. Jeff Watt (February 2003). "Buddhist Deity: Sitatapatra Main Page" [archive]. Himalayan Art Resources. Retrieved 2018-09-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs by Robert Beer (1999) p.23
  5. Shaw, Miranda (2006). Buddhist goddesses of India [archive]. Princeton [u.a.]: Princeton Univ. Press. p. 290. ISBN 978-0691127583.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links[edit]