You Say Malachim, I Say Apsaras

Angels, by any name, exist in many world religions.

This article first appeared on Beliefnet in 2002.

Rosy-cheeked, winged cherubs may be the most common images associated with angels, but these heavenly messengers actually take many forms in world religions. Whether they are Buddhist

devas

, Muslim

malaikah

, or Mormon ministering spirits, angels play important roles in many faiths. Read on to find out about angels' various functions, forms, and figures.



BUDDHISM * CATHOLICISM * EASTERN ORTHODOXY
HINDUISM * ISLAM * JUDAISM * MORMONISM
PROTESTANT CHRISTIANITY


Buddhism

Angel basics:

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The Buddhist equivalent of angels is

devas

, or celestial beings. Some schools of Buddhism also refer to

dharmapalas

or dharma protectors. In Tibetan Buddhism, for instance, devas are sometimes considered to be emanations of bodhisattvas or enlightened beings. Different schools of Buddhism have different important devas, as they are often derived from pre-Buddhist cultures and religions and not from Buddhist philosophy.



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Rebecca Phillips
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