Nine-pronged Vajra (Dorje)
  See it in the Museum
Orientation 3
Display 6

ABR 046

 Code: ABR 046

  Country: Tibet (central)


  Date: 1150 - 1250

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 3.7 x 16.8 x 3.7

  Materials: Iron

Nine-pronged vajra (dorje)

The vajra, or dorje in Tibetan, is the most common ritual object in tantric Buddhism, giving its name to Vajrayana Buddhism. Originally designating the thunderbolt, attribute of god Indra, in Buddhism it is the diamond—transparent, luminous and indestructible—like the nature of awakened mind. All vajras share the same overall structure with different elements (sphere, lotus petals, makara sea monsters, prongs) endowed with deep symbolism. In this example, two sets of nine prongs spread out on either side, representing the nine types of spiritual approach. Some models have one, three, five or seven prongs, each with a specific symbolism. Considered a male symbol of "skillful means" allowing helping all beings to progress towards Buddhahood, practitioners always hold it in their right hand, and it is associated with the bell, female symbol of vacuity and wisdom, held in the left hand.

Compared to the usual vajra, this refined iron example possesses an extra detail: surrounding the central sphere are the faces of eight fierce deities (possibly the Eight wrathful deities of the Nyingma School). This confirms this type of vajra to be especially suitable for wrathful rituals.