A report on Vajra

A Tibetan vajra (club) and ghanta (bell).
A viśvavajra or "double vajra" appears in the emblem of Bhutan.
Mahakala holding a vajra
Hindu god Indra riding on Airavata carrying a vajra. According to Hindu mythology this weapon is made of the bones of Maharshi Dadyhichi.
Indra's vajra as the privy seal of King Vajiravudh of Thailand
Five ritual objects used in Vajrayana at Itsukushima Shrine: a five-pronged short club (vajra) (五鈷杵 ), a pestle with a single sharp blade at each end (独鈷杵 ), a stand for vajra pestle and bell (金剛盤 ), a three-pronged pestle (三鈷杵 ), and a five-pronged bell (五鈷鈴 ).
Chinese four-pronged vajra and ghanta (ritual bell), made during the Xuande period of the Ming dynasty. In Chinese Buddhism, these instruments are usually utilized during esoteric rituals that incorporate tantric elements, such as the Grand Mengshan Food Bestowal ceremony (蒙山施食), the Yogacara Flaming Mouth ceremony (瑜伽焰口法會) and the Liberation Rite of Water and Land (水陸法會).
Vajrasattva holds the vajra in his right hand and a bell in his left hand.

Ritual weapon symbolizing the properties of a diamond and a thunderbolt (irresistible force).

- Vajra
A Tibetan vajra (club) and ghanta (bell).

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A vajra and bell (ghanta), which are classic ritual symbols of Vajrayāna

Vajrayana

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Vajrayāna (वज्रयान, "thunderbolt vehicle", "diamond vehicle", or "indestructible vehicle" ) along with Mantrayāna, Guhyamantrayāna, Tantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Tantric Buddhism, and Esoteric Buddhism are names referring to Buddhist traditions associated with Tantra and "Secret Mantra", which developed in the medieval Indian subcontinent and spread to Tibet, Nepal, East Asia, Mongolia and other Himalayan states.

Vajrayāna (वज्रयान, "thunderbolt vehicle", "diamond vehicle", or "indestructible vehicle" ) along with Mantrayāna, Guhyamantrayāna, Tantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Tantric Buddhism, and Esoteric Buddhism are names referring to Buddhist traditions associated with Tantra and "Secret Mantra", which developed in the medieval Indian subcontinent and spread to Tibet, Nepal, East Asia, Mongolia and other Himalayan states.

A vajra and bell (ghanta), which are classic ritual symbols of Vajrayāna
Mahasiddhas, Palpung monastery. Note the figure of the great adept Putalipa at center, seated in a cave and gazing at an image of the meditational deity Samvara and the figure at the bottom left holding a skull-staff (khaṭvāṅga) and a flaying knife (kartika)
Diamond Realm mandala, based on the tantric Vajrasekhara Sutra, and symbolizing the final realization of Vairocana Buddha in Shingon.
Naked tantrikas dancing and eating from skull cups (kapalas), closeup of a Chakrasamvara mandala
Vajrayana adopted deities such as Bhairava, known as Yamantaka in Tibetan Buddhism.
The central deity of the Cakrasaṃvara Tantra, which according to scholars like David B. Gray and Alexis Sanderson, appropriated numerous elements from nondual Shaiva Tantra
The 9th-century Agusan image, a holy Vajrayana Buddhist relic from the Philippines.
Tangut Auspicious Tantra of All-Reaching Union.
Manjushri, the bodhisattva associated with prajñā.
Monks attending the 2003 Kalachakra empowerment in Bodhgaya, India. Some empowerment ceremonies can include large numbers of initiates.
Tibetan Chakrasamvara statue in Yab-Yum union with his consort Vajravārāhī
Mani stones, stones inscribed with the "om mani padme hum" mantra
A Japanese Handscroll depicting various mudras, 11th–12th century.
An 18th century Mongolian miniature which depicts a monk generating a tantric visualization.
A Japanese depiction of the Amida Triad in Seed Syllable form (Siddham Script). Visualizing deities in the form of seed syllables is a common Vajrayana meditation. In Shingon, one of the most common practices is Ajikan (阿字觀), meditating on the syllable A.
A Tibetan depiction of the perfection stage practices of tummo (Skt. candali, inner heat) and phowa (transference of consciousness).
A Newari Buddhist mandala used for Guru Puja, Nepal, 19th century, gilt copper inlaid with semiprecious stones.
Dagchen Rinpoche's hand holds a vajra drawing lines that close the Hevajra Mandala, after the empowerment, Tharlam Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, Boudha, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Bronze vajras and bell from Itsukushima, Japan
Chöd ritual, note the use of Damaru drum and hand-bell, as well as the Kangling (thighbone trumpet).
Three leaves from a manuscript of the Vajrāvalī, a ritual compendium compiled by Abhayakaragupta, abbot of the Vikramashila monastery around 1100 CE.
Map showing the dominant Buddhist tradition throughout Asia, Vajrayana (in the form of Tibetan Buddhism) dominates the Himalayan regions and in the Mongolian regions.
The Nīlakaṇṭha Dhāraṇī engraved on a stele. Temple Fo Ding Shan Chao Sheng in Sanyi Township, Taiwan. Erected in June 2005.
Portrait of Kobo Daishi (Kukai) holding a vajra and a mala, 14th century, Art Institute of Chicago.
Yamabushi priests at Gose, Nara.
A painting by G.B. Hooijer (c. 1916–1919) reconstructing the scene of Borobudur during its heyday

The vajra is a mythical weapon associated with Indra which was said to be indestructible and unbreakable (like a diamond) and extremely powerful (like thunder).

Inside a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery

Tibetan Buddhism

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Form of Buddhism practiced in Tibet and Bhutan, where it is the dominant religion.

Form of Buddhism practiced in Tibet and Bhutan, where it is the dominant religion.

Inside a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery
Map of the Tibetan Empire at its greatest extent between the 780s and the 790s CE
Samye was the first gompa (Buddhist monastery) built in Tibet (775-779).
The Indian master Atiśa
The Tibetan householder and translator Marpa (1012-1097)
The Potala Palace in Lhasa, chief residence and political center of the Dalai Lamas.
Yonghe Temple, a temple of the Gelug tradition in Beijing established in the Qing Dynasty.
Autochrome photo of Gandantegchinlen Monastery in 1913, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
The 14th Dalai Lama meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in 2016. Due to his widespread popularity, the Dalai Lama has become the modern international face of Tibetan Buddhism.
Kagyu-Dzong Buddhist center in Paris.
Samantabhadra, surrounded by numerous peaceful and fierce deities.
The eleven faced and thousand armed form of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara.
A depiction of the tantric figures Hevajra and Nairātmyā, Tibet, 18th Century.
A statue of one of the most important Buddhist philosophers for Tibetan Buddhist thought, Nagarjuna, at Samye Ling (Scotland).
A leaf from a Prajñāpāramitā (Perfection of Wisdom) manuscript.
Buddhist monk Geshe Konchog Wangdu reads Mahayana sutras from an old woodblock copy of the Tibetan Kangyur. He is seated at a special sutra stool, wearing the traditional woolen Ladakhi hat and robe, allowed by Vinaya for extremely cold conditions.
A Tibetan Buddhist Monk meditating using chanting and drumming.
Buddhists performing prostrations in front of Jokhang Monastery.
Ritual musical instruments from Tibet; MIM Brussels.
The reading of the text - the 'lung' - during an empowerment for Chenrezig.
An elderly Tibetan woman with a prayer wheel inscribed with mantras
Visualizing mantric syllables is a common form of meditation in Tibetan Buddhism
Chöd sadhana, note the use of Damaru drum and hand-bell, as well as the Kangling (thighbone trumpet).
A section of the Northern wall mural at the Lukhang Temple depicting completion stage practice.
Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, the 16th Karmapa, with Freda Bedi (the first Western nun in Tibetan Buddhism), at Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim.
A small gompa (religious building) in Ladakh
Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, a tulku and a ngagpa (note the white and red robes).
Machig Labdrön, a famous female tantrika, teacher and founder of the Chöd lineage
Painting of Ayu Khandro at Merigar West. The seat of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu and The Dzogchen Community in Italy.

Tibetan Buddhism incorporates Vajrayāna (Vajra vehicle), "Secret Mantra" (Skt.

Rishi Dadhichi on 1988 stamp.

Dadhichi

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Central character in Hinduism.

Central character in Hinduism.

Rishi Dadhichi on 1988 stamp.
King of Deities Indra pray to Dadhichi to give his spinal cord to make a thunderbolt

Dadhichi is renowned for sacrificing his life so that Indra could wield the weapon "Vajra" made from Dadhichi's bones.

Zeus' head and thunderbolt on a coin from Epirus, 234 BC.

Thunderbolt

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Symbolic representation of lightning when accompanied by a loud thunderclap.

Symbolic representation of lightning when accompanied by a loud thunderclap.

Zeus' head and thunderbolt on a coin from Epirus, 234 BC.
The thunderbolt pattern with an eagle on a coin from Olympia, Greece, 432-c.421 BC.
Zeus' head and thunderbolt on a coin from Capua, Campania, 216-211 BC.
Ptolemaic coin showing the Eagle of Zeus, holding a thunderbolt
Neo-Attic bas-relief sculpture of Jupiter, holding a thunderbolt in his right hand; detail from the Moncloa Puteal (Roman, 2nd century), National Archaeological Museum, Madrid

In Indo-European mythology, the thunderbolt was identified with the 'Sky Father'; this association is also found in later Hellenic representations of Zeus and Vedic descriptions of the vajra wielded by the god Indra.

Painting of Indra on his elephant mount, Airavata, c. 1820.

Indra

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Indra (Sanskrit: इन्द्र) isthe king of Devas (gods) and Svarga (heaven) in the Hindu mythology.

Indra (Sanskrit: इन्द्र) isthe king of Devas (gods) and Svarga (heaven) in the Hindu mythology.

Painting of Indra on his elephant mount, Airavata, c. 1820.
Indra on his elephant, guarding the entrance of the 1st century BCE Buddhist Cave 19 at Bhaja Caves (Maharashtra).
Buddhist relief from Loriyan Tangai, showing Indra paying homage to the Buddha at the Indrasala Cave, 2nd century CE, Gandhara.
Banteay Srei temple's pediment carvings depict Indra mounts on Airavata, Cambodia, c. 10th century.
Indra is typically featured as a guardian deity on the east side of a Hindu temple.
Devraj Indra, Old Kalyan Print
Bimaran casket: the Buddha (middle) is flanked by Brahma (left) and Indra, in one of the earliest Buddhist depictions (1st century CE).
Many official seals in southeast Asia feature Indra. Above: seal of Bangkok, Thailand.

Indra's iconography shows him wielding a lightning thunderbolt weapon known as Vajra, riding on a white elephant known as Airavata.

Indra kills the Vritrasura with his Vajra.

Vritra

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Vedic serpent, dragon or demon in Hinduism, the personification of drought, evil and chaos and adversary of Indra.

Vedic serpent, dragon or demon in Hinduism, the personification of drought, evil and chaos and adversary of Indra.

Indra kills the Vritrasura with his Vajra.
Indra kills Vrttirasura (story from Rig Veda, featured in Bhagavata)
Sanaka and other sages preaching to Shukracharya and Vrutrasura

Tvashtri fashioned the thunderbolt (Vajrayudha) for Indra, and Vishnu, when asked to do so by Indra, made space for the battle by taking the three great strides for which Vishnu became famous.

Tibetan depiction of the wrathful Vajrapāṇi

Vajrapani

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Tibetan depiction of the wrathful Vajrapāṇi
Parinirvana of Buddha.
Vajrapāni as Heracles or Zeus, second-century.
The Buddha Vairocana (center) flanked by Padmapani (left) and Vajrapāni (right). Mendut, 8th century
Bronze image Bodhisattva Vajrapani from Nepal, 1731
Thangka of a Dharmapala.
The Buddha and a naked Vajrapani in a frieze at Jamal Garhi, Gandhara.
Vajrapāni at Mogao Caves's Hidden Library, Dunhuang, China. Power and anger personified. Late 9th century, Tang dynasty. Ink and colors on silk.
Vajrapani, protector of the Buddha
The Buddha with his protector Vajrapāni. Gandhara, 2nd century
Vajrapani, 3-4th century
Vajrapāni with Heraklean club
Vajrapāni with a group of Buddhist monks. Gandhara
Hercules and the Nemean lion. Gandhara, 1st century
Relief panel, Ratnagiri, Odisha, India, 8th or 9th century
Boddhisattva Vajrapani. Mendut near Borobudur, Central Java, Indonesia. Sailendran art c. 8th century.
1517 stele dedicated to Narayana's defeat of the Red Turban rebels

(Sanskrit; Pali: Vajirapāṇi, meaning, "Vajra in [his] hand") is one of the earliest-appearing bodhisattvas in Mahayana Buddhism.

Vajrasattva

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Bodhisattva in the Mahayana, Mantrayana/Vajrayana Buddhist traditions.

Bodhisattva in the Mahayana, Mantrayana/Vajrayana Buddhist traditions.

Depiction of Vajrasatva seated on a lotus. Japan, 14th century CE

Vajrasatva's name translates to Diamond Being or Thunderbolt Being. The vajra is an iconic marker for Esoteric Buddhism.

Padmasambhava statue at Ghyoilisang peace park, Boudhanath

Padmasambhava

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Tantric Buddhist Vajra master from India who may have taught Vajrayana in Tibet (circa 8th - 9th centuries).

Tantric Buddhist Vajra master from India who may have taught Vajrayana in Tibet (circa 8th - 9th centuries).

Padmasambhava statue at Ghyoilisang peace park, Boudhanath
Colossus of Padmasambhava, 123 ft. (37.5 m) high in mist overlooking Rewalsar Lake, Himachal Pradesh, India.
Fragment of the Testament of Ba at the British Library, with six incomplete lines of Tibetan writing.
Nyangrel Nyima Özer, one of "The Five Tertön Kings".
Statue of Guru Rinpoche, Central Tibet, Tsang Valley, 15th-16th century.
The famous "looks like me" statue of Padmasambhava at Samye which is traditionally said to have been blessed by him personally
Entrance to Dawa Puk, Guru Rinpoche's cave, Yerpa, 1993
Paro Taktsang ("Tiger's Nest") monastery
Guru Senge Dradrog, a wrathful manifestation of Padmasambhava. (Painting in Tashichho Dzong)
Guru Dorje Drolo, Subduer of Demons
Bhutanese painted thanka of Guru Nyima Ozer, late 19th century.
Thangka of Padmasambhava, 19th century, Lhasa, Central Tibet.
The Vajra Guru Mantra inscribed on a rock
The Vajra Guru Mantra in Lanydza and Tibetan script.
Jakar tshechu, Guru Tshengye, Guru Rinpoche with two helpers and six manifestations
Padmasambhava in yab-yum form with a spiritual consort
Denma Tsemang
Palgyi Sengge
Guru Pema Jungne from a mural.
Padmasambhava statue in Hemis Monastery, Ladakh, India.
The Holy Statue of Guru Padmasambhava at Samdruptse, Namchi, Sikkim, India.
Statue of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) in his meditation cave at Yerpa, Tibet
Guru Rinpoche hand print embedded in the rock at Pharping, Kathmandu
Mantra of Padmasambhava in Tibetan script.

In his right hand, he holds a five-pronged vajra at his heart.

Representatives from the three major modern Buddhist traditions, at the World Fellowship of Buddhists, 27th General Conference, 2014.

Schools of Buddhism

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The schools of Buddhism are the various institutional and doctrinal divisions of Buddhism that have existed from ancient times up to the present.

The schools of Buddhism are the various institutional and doctrinal divisions of Buddhism that have existed from ancient times up to the present.

Representatives from the three major modern Buddhist traditions, at the World Fellowship of Buddhists, 27th General Conference, 2014.
Map showing major Buddhist divisions
Districtwise Buddhist population percentage, India census 2011. India's West-centre area Maharashtra shows Navayana Buddhist population
Percentage of Buddhists by country, according to the Pew Research Center.
Map of the major geographical centers of major Buddhist schools in South Asia, at around the time of Xuanzang's visit in the seventh century. * Red: non-Pudgalavāda Sarvāstivāda school * Orange: non-Dharmaguptaka Vibhajyavāda schools * Yellow: Mahāsāṃghika * Green: Pudgalavāda (Green) * Gray: Dharmaguptaka Note the red and grey schools already gave some original ideas of Mahayana Buddhism and the Sri Lankan section (see Tamrashatiya) of the orange school is the origin of modern Theravada Buddhism.
The Tipitaka (Pali Canon), in a Thai Style book case. The Pali Tipitaka is the doctrinal foundation of all major Theravāda sects today
Nagarjuna, one of the most influential thinkers of Indian Mahāyāna Buddhism
Indian Buddhist Mahasiddhas, 18th century, Boston MFA.
B. R. Ambedkar delivering speech during conversion, Deekshabhoomi, Nagpur, 14 October 1956
Taixu, the founder of Chinese Humanistic Buddhism

Vajrayāna ("Vajra Vehicle"), also known as Mantrayāna, Tantric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism. This category is mostly represented in "Northern Buddhism", also called "Indo-Tibetan Buddhism" (or just "Tibetan Buddhism"), but also overlaps with certain forms of East Asian Buddhism (see: Shingon). It is prominent in Tibet, Bhutan and the Himalayan region as well as in Mongolia and the Russian republic of Kalmykia. It is sometimes considered to be a part of the broader category of Mahāyāna Buddhism instead of a separate tradition. The main texts of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism are contained in the Kanjur and the Tenjur. Besides the study of major Mahāyāna texts, this branch emphasizes the study of Buddhist tantric materials, mainly those related to the Buddhist tantras.