In the murti that you see on this page, He is depicted seated in padmasana on a lotus pedestal. This is in keeping with traditional Buddhist iconography of seated Bodhisattvas. The wide-set multi-tiered crown rests on a brow steeped deep in yogic contemplation (samadhi). The handsome face is flanked by golden curls and karnakundalas that graze the stately clavicles. In the left hand resting on His lap is a handheld bell, while in the right which He raises to His breast is a vajra. The latter translates to thunderbolt or diamond: the name Vajrasattva translates to a being (‘sattva’) infused with the glamour of either.
Bodhisattva Vajrasattva is clad in a dhoti that clings tightly to His slender limbs. A sea of sashes float about Him, indicative of the ethereal winds that pervade His realm of existence. This figurine comes in a variety of coloured finishes, each of which is designed to infuse the space it is installed in with a distinct mood.
He holds a vajra symbolizing method in his right hand and bell of wisdom in his left. Their pairing thus represents the union of wisdom and method, an important state in the eventual journey to Nirvana.
The use of the bell and vajra differs according to the ritual performed or the sadhana chanted. The vajra can be used for visualization or evocation of deities; ringing the bell can be used to request protection or other actions from a deity, or it can represent the teaching of Dharma, and can also be a sound offering. During meditation on the deity Vajrasattva, the vajra is placed on the chest of the practitioner, meaning that Vajrasattva is brought to the meditator, and they become one and inseparable. Ringing the bell then represents the sound of Buddha teaching the Dharma and symbolizes the attainment of wisdom and the understanding of emptiness.
Of Related Interest:
Vajrasattva (Brass Statue)
Vajrasattva with his Consort Ghantapani (Brass Statue)
Vajrasattva and Ghantapani in Yab Yum (Tibetan Thangka Painting)
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