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The heruka (Tib. ཧེ་རུ་ཀ་ or ཁྲག་འཐུང་, Wyl. he ru ka or khrag 'thung)— another name for wrathful deity and can refer to Hevajra or Chakrasamvara. In the Nyingma tradition the term is often used to refer specifically to Chemchok Heruka or Yangdak.


According to a tantra:

He stands for great compassion.
Ru means the absence of gathering.
Ka means not abiding in anything whatsoever.[1]

In the Zindri, Khenpo Ngakchung says that, according to Patrul Rinpoche, heruka means "one in whom absolute space (he) and primordial wisdom (ka) are united (ru)."[2]

In the Nyingma tradition, it is used as a general name for (male) wrathful deities. In the sarma schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Kagyü, Sakya and Geluk, heruka generally refers to Chakrasamvara and other chief deities of the mandalas of the Mother Tantras. The term Heruka can also be used to denote a realized tantric practicioner. [3]. Wyl. khrag 'thung means blood drinker.


  1. Quoted in Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö, Yeshe Saldrön.
  2. Khenpo Ngawang Pelzang, A Guide to the Words of My Perfect Teacher (Boston: Shambhala, 2004), p. 275.
  3. Katok Situ Chökyi Gyatso, Togden Shakya Shri, The Life and Liberation of a Tibetan Yogi', Shang Shung Publications, 2009, page 243.

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