Devas are gods from the celestial realm who uphold Buddhist Law on behalf of the Buddha. Many devas originate from Hinduism, a religion that predates Buddhism and remains widespread. As communities across Asia adopted Buddhism, they often adapted practices and beliefs from religions they practiced before, such as Hinduism, to fit Buddhist teachings. In rank, devas are weaker than Buddhas.
Image: Unknown artist, Japan, Set of Twelve Devas, 14th–15th century, Ink, color, gold, and cut gold leaf (kirikane) on silk. The William Hood Dunwoody Fund, 79.2.1-12