Vajra or Dorje in Tibet literarily means thunderbolt and diamond. Vajra is ritual device which symbolizes the nature of diamond that can cut any substance without cutting itself and irresistible power of the thunderbolt. The meaning of vajra is literarily is diamond or thunderbolt. It represents firmness spirit and spiritual energy. A diamond is spotlessly pure and indestructible. A Vajra is a lightning bolt that cuts through ignorance. Tantric practitioners usually hold Tibetan vajra and bell in certain ritual.
Vajra is used as tool and symbol in Dharma tradition of Hinduism and Budhism. Indian religion and culture bring it to Nepal, India, Tibet, Bhutan, Siam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, China, Korea and Japan.
According to Rigveda, Vajra is described as the weapon of Indra, the god of heaven and the chief deity of the Rigvedic pantheon. Indra used to to kill negative energies and sinners. Holding Vajra, Indra slayed Asura Vritra, evil serpent.
Meaning of Vajra
In Vajrayana Tantric Buddhism, the vajra means Thunderbolt Way or Diamond Way. It refers to the thunderbolt experience of Buddhist enlightenment or indestructibility like hard diamonds.
Vajra and Bell
A lama or vajrayana practitioner holds the vajra and bell in many rites. Vajra is often held together with a bell. Vajra in the left hand and bell in the right one. Vajra or dorje is is a male symbol of upaya or Expedient Means, effort or pedagogy whereas the bell is a female symbol of prajna. Some deities are shown holding each the vajra and bell in separate hands, symbolizing the union of the forces of compassion and wisdom, respectively.
Symbol of Vajra
The vajra is also a symbol for the nature of reality, or sunyata, indicating endless creativity and skillful activity. It is a device to train the mind for sudden awakening. Sunyata also refers to emptiness or pure reality.Emptiness here means nonexistence of the self and of dependent origination.
The vajra consists of several parts. Center sphere represents Sunyata, real nature of universe or the unity of all things. Rising from the sphere are two eight petaled lotus flowers which symbolizes Samsara and Nirvana. The mouth of the lotus are two, four, or eight mythical creatures, called makaras. Makaras are mythological half-fish, half-crocodile creatures which represents the union or harmony of opposites. The makara is also the symbol of the gate of death and birth..
Commonly vajra consists of four makaras and a central sphere. It symbolizes the five elements.
Yup, people today use vajra as amulet.
Read also Vajra Tibetan Amulet in Modern Day.