Above: Traditional five prong Vajra (top) and a small nine prong Vajra (bottom)
The Vajra or Dorje is the quintessential symbol of Vajrayana Buddhism. It is likened to an indestructible diamond or thunderbolt. On a more deeper level it represents the destruction of ignorance that obscures our own Buddha nature. In tantric rituals the Vajra symbolises the male principle which represents 'Upaya' or skilful means and is held in the right hand. The bell or ghanta symbolises the female principle and is held in the left hand. Since ancient times they have been crafted from different metals including: silver, gold, bronze, copper and iron. Some very rare Vajras (discovered as Terma treasures) are believed to be made from meteorite.