Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Vajra Named Deities

Terminology - Vajra Attribute

Vajra Named Figures (Enlightened Deities):
- Akshobhyavajra Guhyasamaja
- Vajra Garuda
- Vajra Panjara Mahakala
- Hevajra
- Vajra Sarasvati
- Vajrabhairava
- Vajradaka
- Vajradhara
- Vajradhatu Vairochana
- Vajra Humkara
- Vajrakila
- Vajrapani
- Vajrasattva
- Vajra Tara
- Vajravarahi
- Vajravega
- Vajrayogini
- Vajravidarana
- Vajra - Dorje Drolo
- Secondary Figures
- Others...

In Tantric Buddhism the addition of the term 'vajra' as part of a deities name can have several very different meanings. Vajra can be used in an abstract philosophical sense such as with Akshobhyavajra and Vajradhatu Vairochana. The Vajra Panjara for Mahakala is taken from the Tantra text in which he is described. Adding Vajra in front of Bhairava makes clear that it is a Buddhist deity and not a reference to the god Shiva in wrathful form. Vajrapani, Vajrasattva and Vajradhara are the most famous figures that hold the vajra scepter as an attribute. For Vajrayogini and Vajravarahi the term separates them from mundane worldly yoginis and dakinis and makes clear that they are enlightened deities in the form of yoginis.

Worldly Deities:
- Dorje Legpa
- Dorje Putri
- Dorje Setrab
- Dorje Shugden
- Dorje Ta'og
- Dorje Yudronma
- Others...

The Tibetan translation for the Sanskrit term 'vajra' is 'dorje.' This word is often placed at the front of subdued Tibetan spirits that are then compelled to become Buddhist protector deities. The word itself can function as a type of seal binding the spirits and not allowing them to return to their former mischievous ways.

Jeff Watt 7-2021

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).