Stay connected. Sign up for the Rubin Museum’s monthly newsletter to receive updates about upcoming exhibitions, programs, digital features, and more.Subscribe
Different Asian religious traditions posit different types of divine beings. Hindus generally believe in an all-encompassing God-like being, called Brahman. They also believe in a variety of other gods (deva), including Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Early Buddhists denied the existence of a single, all-powerful creator god. Nevertheless, they always recognized a variety of powerful spirits, like gandharvas and nagas. Mahayana Buddhists came to see bodhisattvas as beings of enormous power, and buddhas themselves as cosmic beings with the ability to create entire universes. Buddhist and Bon traditions in Tibet worshiped a variety of other gods (Tib. lha), like the mountain gods, or gods of the land. According to Buddhist tradition, enlightened deities are seen as beyond the cycle of death and rebirth, whereas gods (including Hindu gods) are not.