Citipati (Lords of the Cemetery)

In Tibetan Buddhism, the Citipati, or “Lords of the Cemetery” are two mythological Buddhist ascetics, who were so deep in their  meditation, they were caught unawares by a thief and beheaded even before they knew they were dead.  As a symbol, the Chittipati represent the eternal dance of death, and perfect awareness.

They are usually depicted as a male/female pair of intertwined skeletons caught up in an ecstatic dance. The dance of the Citipati is commemorated twice annually in Tibet with ritual dances. The Citipati are invoked as ‘wrathful deities,’ benevolent protectors who appear as fierce beings with a demonic appearance.

The Chitipati, or Charnel Lords

Related Symbols:


Ruth March 26, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Thank you for your site! Do you know where I can find a larger version of this Chitipati or Charnel lords thangka?

Thank uou,

hello November 5, 2014 at 9:00 pm
Bill Trimble February 18, 2014 at 12:38 am

Story is very similar to the origins of Yama. Have a look at my website for more info on both. This being sent from Amdo where I have spent the past two weeks watching cham and other activities of Losar / Monlam. Demo.

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