[Chinese: 韋馱菩薩 Wéituó Púsà; Japanese: Idaten; Korean: 위타천; Vietnamese: Vi Đà; Tibetan: གདོང་དྲུག་ Dongdruk; Mongolian: Арван Хоёр Нууд] is regarded as a devoted guardian of viharas and the Buddhist teachings. He is the leader of the twenty-four celestial guardian deities mentioned in the Golden Light Sutra. In Chinese temples, Skanda faces or is behind the statue of the Buddha in the main shrine. In others, he is on the far right of the main shrine with the Dharmapala Guan Yu Bodhisattva on the far left. While Guan Yu Bodhisattva watches over and protects our worldly affairs, Skanda Bodhisattva protects our spiritual affairs, watching over dharma matters.
The Holy Shrine of Skanda Bodhisattva at Hua Zang Si in San Francisco has two couplets about Skanda Bodhisattva written by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III:
xian san zhou gan ying ding huan yu
you liu dao you qing zhen qian kun
The first line of the couplet by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III is “xian san zhou gan ying ding huan yu.” Its basic meaning is as follows. Skanda Bodhisattva is a great dharma protector who is constantly with us. He protects all sentient beings in the entire universe. Through meditation, he looks over the entire universe.
The second line of the couplet is “you liu dao you qing zhen qian kun.” Skanda Bodhisattva has great compassion. He compassionately blesses and protects all living beings whose lives are in correspondence with the dharma. He comes and goes day and night as he supernaturally observes what happens on earth. He often uses his samadhi powers to stabilize all things in the universe.
Skanda Bodhisattva’s birthday is celebrated on or near the third day of the sixth lunar month each year.