Vajrakilaya (Dorje-phurba in Tibetan, meaning – irreducible depth truth piercing through like a dagger-spike) is the main meditational deity of the Nyingma tradition of Vajrayana Buddhism.
The Nyingma school, also called Nyingmapa, is the oldest of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Central to the Nyingma tradition is Padmasambhava (better known as Guru Rinpoche), the great guru who introduced Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century.
The practice of Vajrakilaya is undertaken and accomplished by the majority of its great realized masters. Vajrakila, also known as Vajra Kumara (meaning vajra youth), is also the activity aspect from the set of Eight Herukas of the Mahayoga Tantras.
Furthermore, a compassionate expression of the Buddha nature, Dorje-phurba is the wrathful manifestation of Vajrasattva, arising to completely dissolve the source of all suffering, that is ignorance. Vajrasattva represents the principle of purification and is a supreme Buddhist deity who delineates the purity of the enlightened mind.
In addition, Vajrasattva is the supreme Buddhist deity who describes the purity of the enlightened mind.
He is the sovereign of all the Buddha families and mandalas. For example, the lineage of Dzogchen (‘Great Perfection’) is traced from the dharmakaya Samantabhadra (The Bodhisattva of Universal Worthy) to the sambhogakaya—the five buddha families and Vajrasattva, who are Samantabhadra’s own self-reflection.
He is usually depicted with three faces, four legs, six hands, and wide outstretched wings behind. Furthermore, He embraces the consort Dipta Chakra who has one face, two legs, and two hands.
In addition, all Sakya monasteries in Tibet are painted in 3 colors – primarily blue with red and white stripes. These 3 colors represent the 3 faces of Vajrakilaya. It is considered that these 3 colors were the original colors of the Palchen Podrang palace of the Khon lineage.
Vajrakilaya mantra lyrics:
”Om Benza Kili Kilaya Sarva Bighanen Bam Hung Phat.”
This is a potent practice for removing hindrances and obstacles. It is said to have been found by Padmasambhava in a cave in Nepal and hidden as a terma by the Lady Yeshe Tsogyal (“Wisdom Lake Queen”). Through this mantra practice, you realize you are not some small ordinary sentient being, because there is a part of you which is an imposing presence of the intense power of inherent enlightened nature.
Additionally, this mantra is known as a powerful ritual that is performed to transform sickness, negativity, and obscurations, bringing about well being and spiritual enlightenment.
Vajrapani, along with Avalokiteshvara (a Bodhisattva who represents compassion, and his mantra also represents that quality) and Manjushri (a Bodhisattva who represents wisdom, and his mantra also represents that quality), is a member of the trinity of Bodhisattvas, known as the Three Family Protectors.
He looks wrathful, but as a representation of the enlightened mind, He is completely free from hatred. Moreover, He is a Bodhisattva who symbolizes the energy of the enlightened mind, and his mantra also represents that quality.
He is commonly portrayed in his wrathful emanation, in which He is a powerful protector and remover of outer and inner hindrances. He holds a diamond scepter (vajra) in his right hand, symbolizing the power to cut through the darkness of delusions. In addition, both his hands are in the threatening mudra that he uses to overcome obstacles.
According to the Prajnaparamita (a central concept in Mahayana Buddhism which is generally associated with the doctrine of Shunyata), any bodhisattva on the path to Buddhahood is eligible for his protection, making them invincible to any attacks by either ghosts or men.
In the Tantric texts, He is viewed in dialogue with the Vairocana Buddha (who represents absolute reality and wisdom). In the Vajrayana tradition, He becomes the main figure, where He frequently also goes by the name Guhyapati. More importantly, manifestations of him can be found in various Buddhist temples in Japan as Dharma protectors called Nio.
Vajrapani is also associated with Acala (a guardian deity primarily revered in Vajrayana Buddhism in Japan and China), who is venerated as Fudo-Myo in Japan (here He is serenaded as the holder of the Vajra).
Interestingly, from an iconographical point, He was 1st represented in India as the Hindu deity – Indra (the ruler of the heavens and the king of the gods). The similarity of the two, in their roles of weather control and protection, as well as their lightning bolt weapons, created a strong connection to Vajrapani in India.
Moreover, due to his association with the rain-controlling nagas, He is invoked in times of drought.
Benefits of reciting Om Vajrapani Hum mantra:
By engaging regularly in this powerful practice, the practitioner will be able to see Vajrapani whose light is brilliant. In addition, by forming the mudra, the practitioner can hide in the light and gain complete freedom.