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A Tibetan vajra and bell.

vajra (T. rdo rje རྡོ་རྗེ་; C. jingang 金剛) is a symbol of power, indestructibility, and perfect stability in Buddhist tantra.[1][2] According to Indian mythology, the vajra is the weapon of the all-powerful god Indra. In this context, the vajra is likened to a thunderbolt, and it made Indra invincible. The term vajra also relates to a substance called vajra, which is the hardest physical material, often compared to a diamond.[1]

As an adjective, the term vajra means "indestructible," "invincible," "firm," etc. In Buddhist tantra, the ultimate vajra is emptiness (sunyata), and the conventional vajra is the ritual implement of material substance.[3]

The vajra is often used as a ritual implement within Buddhist tantric practices. When used in conjuction with a bell, the vajra symbolizes skillful means (upaya) and the bell symbolizes wisdom (prajna).[2]

A common name for Buddhist tantra, particularly in Tibet, is Vajrayana, often translated as the "Diamond Vehicle."


  1. 1.0 1.1 Internet-icon.svg རྡོ་རྗེ་, Christian-Steinert Dictionary
  2. 2.0 2.1 Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton: 2014), s.v. vajra
  3. Rangjung a-circle30px.jpg Vajra, Rangjung Yeshe Wiki