Some Vedic/Hindu deities are recognized as being part of Buddhist cosmology. For example, Indra, who is the chief god of the Vedic pantheon, is syncretized into Buddhism as Śakra, which is another epithet of his.

In Hinduism, the exploits of Indra are described in doctrinal texts like the Vedas and the Puranas, as well as in literary texts like the Mahabharata. But Buddhists (of any school) don't accept these texts as part of their canon, right? So, my question: in what Buddhist (canonical) texts would the doings of syncretized Hindu deities like Indra/Śakra be described?

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    Sakka appears in quite a few jātaka tales in the Theravada canon, including (from the last 10) the Nimi, KhaNDahāla, VidhurapaNDita and Mahā-ummagga jātakas.
    – neubau
    Jun 19, 2014 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


Malalasekera's Dictionary of Pali Proper Names is a great place to find this sort of information; for instance, the entry on Sakka has a whole list of sources for info on the entity, both canonical and commentarial.

On the other hand, I can't think of any other divine beings that have been expropriated in the same way as Indra; in fact I'm not sure expropriation is the proper term, since Indra just means "chief", and so it could just be the Buddha using the Hindu name to describe Sakka.

Edit: Yama shows up in the Devaduta Sutta (MN 130)

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    Wow, that is an excellent resource! (re: other Hindu deities - there's Yama, at least. I know that Shiva somehow made his way into Japan as Daikokuten, but I don't know what the exact chain of transmission was there. He doesn't appear to be in that dictionary, though; perhaps because only the Vajrayana schools syncretized him?)
    – senshin
    Jun 18, 2014 at 18:37
  • Huh, didn't realize Yama was Hindu. He shows up in the Majjhima Nikaya... let me find the source. Jun 18, 2014 at 18:39
  • I mean in the Jataka tales there is a clear reference to Hindu deities. A good example is Jataka 454. Also, this site which I am assuming is Buddhist mentions references to Vishnu as such. virtualvinodh.com/writings/assorted/vishnu-buddhism
    – Haridasa
    Jan 21 at 1:45
  • @yuttadhammo Yama is the Hindu god of death yes.
    – Haridasa
    Jan 21 at 1:45

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