encompasses a host of heavenly beings and deities, yet they are insignificant in the Buddhist doctrine of salvation. In Buddhism, there are no allpowerful gods who created the world, or who direct events and determine the fate of humankind. Such deities (Skt. devas) are part of the Buddhist cosmology, and inhabit the heavenly or live on earth as nature spirits within trees or bodies of water. Like all other beings, however, they are subject to the eternal cycle of . In Buddhist tradition, they usually appear as servants or devotees of the . An exception to this is the deity , who on several occasions sought to prevent the Buddha’s .
A number of gods ofalso appear in Buddhist mythology, among them Indra, the king of the gods, who in numerous Buddhist reliefs attends the birth of the Buddha.
Inand Buddhism, there evolved a large group of and supporting deities who are seen as embodiments of particular aspects of the highest truth, and portrayals of them serve as aids in spiritual practice.