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The Symbolic Meaning, Origin and Uses of the Vajra or Dorje

What does the vajra look like?

The vajra looks like a type of club, with a sphere in the center, and five curved prongs coming out of the left and right sides of the sphere, and a sixth prong projecting straight through the center of the curved prongs. The curvature of the prongs, forms a mandala, evoking the mandalas of the five tantric Buddhas or the five components of the individual’s body and mind. The sphere in the center and the open spaces between the prongs indicate the empty nature of all reality.


What does a vajra symbolize?

According to Buddhist mythology, the Vajra is a mythical weapon, which symbolizes "Indestructibility" and "Indivisibility", the characteristics of a diamond. And is considered to be one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. In Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism, the Vajra is used as a ritual object to symbolize "firmness of spirit" and "spiritual power".


What is the origin of the vajra?

The vajra was originally the thunderbolt of Indra, the Hindu god of thunder and rain. According to the Rigveda, the vajra was made for Indra by Tvastar, the maker of divine instruments. Which Indra would later use to slay the asura Vritra, who took the form of a serpent, sinners and ignorant people. And one day, the Buddha took the vajra from Indra, and bent its prongs inward, transforming it into a scepter, to be used for peaceful means.


What is a vajra used for?

In Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism, the Vajra is used as a ritual object to symbolize firmness of spirit and spiritual power. In ritual use, the vajra is frequently used in conjunction with the bell, which when correctly executed, one can possess considerable metaphysical power.

When the practitioner holds the the vajra in their right hand, this symbolizes the male or masculine principle, which is perfection of action. And when they hold the bell in their left hand, this symbolizes the female or feminine principal, which is intelligence.

The interaction between the vajra and the bell, as the practitioner holds them at the same time and in the right hands, and while keeping in mind their inseparability, the practitioner is ultimately lead to attaining enlightenment.

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