Friday, October 16, 2020

VAJRA /DORJE the profound ritual implement of Vajrayana Buddhism


The Vajra is probably the most important symbol of Tibetan Buddhism. The term means "diamond" and refers to the indestructible nature of the mind itself, of awakening. This small scepter seems to be, at the origin, the diamond thunderbolt of Indra, a symbol of royalty and power.

When combined with the bell, the vajra symbolizes skillful means and compassion, while the bell represents knowledge and emptiness. Taken separately, it has a complete symbolism which is as follows:


The 5 top branches (1) represent the 5 wisdoms, five facets of the diamond which is the enlightened mind:

 

- Wisdom similar to the mirror, which means that the awakened mind, like a perfectly polished mirror, clearly reflecting all things, has the ability to know everything;

 

- The wisdom of equality, which recognizes that all phenomena of samsara and nirvana are equal in nature, or of a single essence: emptiness;

 

- the wisdom of distinction , which indicates that the awakened mind perceives not only the emptiness of all phenomena but also, in simultaneity without confusion, all phenomena as they occur ;

 

- fulfilling wisdom, which allows Buddhas to create pure fields and emanations working for the benefit of beings;

 

- the wisdom of the universal space (dharmadatou), indicating that all phenomena, beyond all duality, remain in the pure knowledge of the mind.

 

 At the same time as the five wisdoms, the five upper branches symbolize the 5 Victorious Ones or five principal male Buddhas on a mystical level: Vairocana , Akshobya , Ratnasambhava , Amitabha , Amoghasiddhi .


The lower branches (2) symbolize the five female Buddhas.

The five female buddhas of the five families, also known as the five mothers (ཡུམ་ལྔ) are:


1.   Dhatvishvari (དབྱིངས་ཕྱུག་མ་) also known as Vajra Datvishvari or White Tara, the consort of Vairochana, who represents the purity of the element space

2.   Buddhalochana (སངས་རྒྱས་སྤྱན་མ་) the consort of Akshobhya, who represents the purity of the element earth

3.   Mamaki (མ་མ་ཀི) the consort of Ratnasambhava, who represents the purity of the element water

4.   Pandaravasini (གོས་དཀར་མོ་) the consort of Amitabha, who represents the purity of the element fire

5.   Samayatara (དམ་ཚིག་སྒྲོལ་མ་) also known as Green Tara, the consort of Amoghasiddhi, who represents the purity of the element wind

 

Taken as a whole, the 10 branches also symbolize the ten perfections (generosity, ethics, diligence, concentration, knowledge, skillful means, wishes, force, and primordial consciousness) or the 10 lands of bodhisattvas.

 

The mouths of makara (sea monster) (3), from which emerge branches, denote liberation from the cycle of existences.

The top 8 petals (4) represent the eight male bodhisattvas, residing in the celestial realms.


1) the personification of the Buddha’s wisdom (ཡེ་ཤེས་ཀྱི་རང་གཟུགས་) is Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī;

2) the personification of the Buddha’s compassion (སྙིང་རྗེའི་རང་གཟུགས་) appears as Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara;

3) the personification of the Buddha’s power or capacity ( ནུས་པའི་རང་གཟུགས་) is Bodhisattva Vajrapāṇi;

4) the personification of the Buddha’s activity ( ཕྲིན་ལས་) is Bodhisattva Maitreya;

5) the personification of the Buddha’s merit (བསོད་ནམས་རང་གཟུགས་) arises as Bodhisattva Kṣitigarbha;

6) the personification of the Buddha’s qualities (ཡོན་ཏན་གྱི་རང་གཟུགས་) appears as Bodhisattva Sarvanīvaraṇaviṣkambhī;

7) the personification of the Buddha’s blessings བྱིན་རླབས་ཀྱི་རང་གཟུགས་) arises as Bodhisattva Ākāśagarbha; and

8) the personification of the Buddha’s aspirations (སྨོན་ལམ་གྱི་རང་གཟུགས་) is manifest as Bodhisattva Samantabhadra

 

The 8 lower petals (5) are the 8 female bodhisattvas.

The eight female bodhisattvas (བྱང་ཆུབ་སེམས་མ་བརྒྱད་changchub semma gyé) are also referred to as the eight offering goddesses. They are the consorts of the eight great bodhisattvas:

1.   Goddess of Beauty (Gekpama) the consort of Kshitigarbha

2.   Goddess of Garlands (Trengwama) the consort of Akashagarbha

3.   Goddess of Song (Luma) the consort of Vajrapani

4.   Goddess of Dance (Garma) the consort of Avalokiteshvara

5.   Goddess of Flowers (Metokma) the consort of Sarvanivaranavishkambhin

6.   Goddess of Incense (Dukpöma) the consort of Maitreya

7.   Goddess of Light (Marmema or Nangselma) the consort of Samantabhadra

8.   Goddess of Perfume (Drichabma) the consort of Mañjushri

 

Taken together, the 16 petals also symbolize the 16 emptiness.

Sixteen kinds of emptiness, or shunyata ( སྟོང་ཉིད་བཅུ་དྲུག་), which are mentioned in Chandrakirti's Madhyamakavatara:

1.   emptiness of the outer (ཕྱི་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)

2.   emptiness of the inner (ནང་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)

3.   emptiness of the outer and inner (ཕྱི་ནང་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)

4.   great emptiness (ཆེན་པོ་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)

5.   emptiness of the beginningless and endless (ཐོག་མ་དང་མཐའ་མ་མེད་པའི་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)

6.   emptiness of the conditioned (འདུས་བྱས་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)

7.    emptiness of the unconditioned (འདུས་མ་བྱས་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)

8.   emptiness of emptiness (སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)

9.   emptiness beyond extremes (མཐའ་ལས་འདས་པའི་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)

10.                      natural emptiness (རང་བཞིན་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)

11. emptiness of the unobserved (མཚན་ཉིད་མེད་པའི་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)

12.                      ultimate emptiness (ངོ་བོ་ཉིད་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)

13.                      emptiness of the indispensable (དོར་བ་མེད་པའི་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)

14.                      emptiness of the essential nature of non-entities དངོས་པོ་མེད་པའི་ངོ་བོ་ཉིད་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)

15.                      emptiness of all phenomena (ཆོས་ཐམས་ཅད་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)

16.                      emptiness of specific characteristics (མཚན་ཉིད་སྟོང་པ་ཉིད་)

 

Above the petals, two moon discs (6) (one on each side) symbolize the two openings of the heart, relative and absolute.

 

Between the base of the 8 petals and the center circle are interspersed 3 circles (7) representing the three characteristics of awakened bliss: emptiness, featureless and effortless.

 

The round part in the middle (8) refers to emptiness.


Cultivate Generous Thought and practice giving gifts to the Sanghas.

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