The god of death. When beings die they are led before him to be judged according to their deeds. Birth, old age, illness, punishment for crime and death, are regarded as his messengers, sent among men as a warning to abstain from ill and do good. Yama questions beings brought before him as to whether they have seen these messengers and profited by them. If the answer is in the negative, the nirayapālas take them away to the different hells. MN.iii.179ff.

In the Mahāsamaya Sutta DN.ii.259 mention is made of two Yamas.

There is a tradition AN.i.142 that once Yama longed to be born as a human being and to sit at the feet of a Tathāgata.