84000 Glossary of Terms

Our trilingual glossary combining entries from all of our publications into one useful resource, giving translations and definitions of thousands of terms, people, places, and texts from the Buddhist canon.

དྲི་ཟ། | Glossary of Terms

    དྲི་ཟ།

    dri za

    gandharva

  • Term
Publications: 93

A class of generally benevolent nonhuman beings who inhabit the skies, sometimes said to inhabit fantastic cities in the clouds, and more specifically to dwell on the eastern slopes of Mount Meru, where they are under the jurisdiction of the Great King Dhṛtarāṣṭra. They are most renowned as “celestial musicians” who serve the gods. In the Abhidharma, the term is also used to refer to the mental body assumed by any sentient being in the realm of desire (kāma­dhātu) during the intermediate state between death and rebirth. Gandharvas are said to live on fragrances in the desire realm, hence the Tibetan translation dri za, meaning “scent eater.”

They are one of the eight classes of nonhuman beings (sde brgyad po, *aṣṭasenā) said to have been present when the Buddha taught the Mahāyāna sūtras.