Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Vajrakila (Khon Tradition)

Vajrakila Iconography

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Mandala
- Gauri & Marajit (Khon Tradition Protectors)
- Purba/Peg
- Confusions
- Others...

Vajrakila, Heruka (Tibetan: dor je phur ba, trag tung. English: Vajra Peg, Blood Drinker). Also known as Vajra Kumara (Vajra Youth), he is the activity deity from the set of Eight Herukas (Tib.: ka gye) of the Mahayoga Tantras of the Nyingma School and a principal meditational deity. The special iconographic feature of Vajrakila is the three-sided peg that is held pointed downward with the two main hands at the heart. The Kama tradition of Vajrakila was primarily passed down through the Khon family line which also became the Sakya Tradition in the 11th century.

Sanskrit: Vajrakila

"...the king of wrath, bhagavan Vajrakumara, with a body blue-black [in colour], three faces and six hands. The right face is white, left red, the center blue. Held with the two pairs of right and left hands are a nine and five pointed vajra, a blazing mass of fire and a trident. The remaining two roll a kila. The body is huge and heavy, with bared fangs, three eyes - round and red, brown hair flowing upward; wearing an elephant hide, human skin, and a tiger skin as a lower garment. Adorned with white, red, green, and black snakes as a crown, necklace and sash, decorating the arms and legs. Five dry skulls adorn the head. Wearing a garland of fifty fresh [heads], marked with clots of rakta, spots of great ash and a smear of grease, adorned with various jewel ornaments. With four legs the right are bent and left extended atop the head of Ishvara - face down, and the breast of Uma, standing in the middle of a massive fire of pristine awareness." (Sakya Ngawang Kunga Lodro, 1729-1783).

Khon Vajrakila Lineage: Dharmakaya Samantabhadra, Sambhogakaya Vajrasattva, Nirmanakaya Padmasambhava, Khon Lu'i Wang Srungwa, Khon Dorje Rinchen, Khon Sherab Yontan, Khon Tsultrim Gyalpo, Khon Dorje Tsugtor, Khon Gekyab, Khon Getong, Khon Balpo, Khon Shakya Lodro, Khon Rog Sherab Tsultrim, Khon Konchog Gyalpo, Tsechen Kunga Nyingpo, Lobpon Sonam Tsemo, Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen, Sapan Kunga Gyaltsen, Chogyal Pagpa Lodro Gyaltsen, etc. (See the Khon Family Lineage).

Jeff Watt [updated 12-2020]