Buddha Vajradhara

From Buddha World

Vajradhara (Sanskrit:Vajradhāra, Tibetan: rdo rje 'chang (Dorje Chang), English: Vajraholder) is the ultimate Primordial Buddha, or Adi Buddha, according to the Gelug and Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Vajradhara displaced Samantabhadra who remains the 'Primordial Buddha' in the Nyingma, or 'Ancient School' and the Sakya school. However the two are metaphysically equivalent. Achieving the 'state of vajradhara' is synonymous with complete realisation. According to Kagyu Vajradhara, the primordial buddha, is the dharmakaya buddha, depicted as dark blue in color, expressing the quintessence of buddhahood itself and representing the essence of the historical Buddha's realization of enlightenment. As such Vajradhara is thought to be the supreme essence of all (male) Buddhas (his name means the bearer of the thunderbolt). It is the Tantric form of Sakyamuni which is called Vajradhara. Tantras are texts specific to Tantrism and are believed to have been originally taught by the Tantric form of Sakyamuni called Vajradhara. He is an expression of Buddhahood itself in both single and yabyum form. Vajradhara is considered to be the prime Buddha of the Father tantras (tib. pha-rgyud) such as Guhyasamaja, Yamantaka, and so on. From the primordial Vajradhara/Samantabhadra were manifested the Five Wisdom Buddhas (Dhyani Buddhas):

  • Akshobhya
  • Amoghasiddhi
  • Amitabha
  • Ratnasambhava
  • Vairocana

Vajradhara and the Wisdom Buddhas are often subjects of mandala. Vajradhara and Samantabhadra are cognate deities in Tibetan Buddhist cosmology with different names, attributes, appearances and iconography. Both are Dharmakaya Buddhas, that is primordial Buddhas, where Samantabhadra is unadorned, that is depicted without any attributes. Conversely, Vajradhara is often adorned and bears attributes, which is generally the iconographic representation of a Sambhogakaya Buddha. Both Vajradhara and Samantabhadra are generally depicted in yab-yum unity with their respective consorts and are primordial buddhas, embodying void and ultimate emptiness.

Dharmakaya as part of the Trikaya

The Trikaya doctrine (Sanskrit, literally "Three bodies or personalities"; Chinese: Sānshén, Japanese: sanjin) is an important Buddhist teaching both on the nature of reality, and what a Buddha is. By the 4th century CE the Trikaya Doctrine had assumed the form that we now know. Briefly the doctrine says that a Buddha has three kayas or bodies: the nirmanakaya or created body which manifests in time and space; the sambhogakaya or body of mutual enjoyment which is an archetypal manifestation; and the Dharmakaya or reality body which embodies the very principle of enlightenment and knows no limits or boundaries. In the view of Anuyoga, the 'Mindstream' (Sanksrit: citta santana) is the 'continuity' (Sanskrit: santana; Wylie: rgyud) that links the Trikaya. The Trikaya, as a triune, is symbolised by the Gankyil.