The Chariot-Vajradhara

The Arcanum of the Chariot is best marked by Determination which leads to success and triumph. Vajradhara captures the very essence behind this realization. The best way to define his significance is the following:

By the 7th century A.D., the Buddhist pantheon of Mahayana had beome extensive, though the Buddhist monks knew that the hosts of gods and goddesses were really śūnya in essence. It was, therefore, found essential to evolve a primordial god. The monks of Nalanda got busy and developed the conception of Adi Buddha, the primordial god, who in his human manifestation is called Vajradhara. He is an embodiment of śūnya, called Vajra, to whom even the Dhyani Buddhas owe their origin.

Now, in Vajrayana, this Adi Buddha occupied the highest position and is naturally described as the originator of even the Five Dhyani Buddhas. When this Adi-Buddha, the symbol of śūnya, is represented in human form, he is called Vajradhara and is conceived both Single and in yab-yum. B. Bhattacharya has described him thus: When single, he is bedecked in jewels, gaudy ornaments and dress, sits in Vajraparyanka or the attitude of meditation with two feet locked with the soles of the feet turned upwards. *He carries the Vajra in the right hand and ghanta (bell) in the left*, the two hands being crossed against the chest, in what is known as the Vajrahumkara mudra. The deity Vajradhara is the embodiment of the highest reality śūnya, while Prajnaparamita represents Karuna and in whose embrace they turn into one śūnya, in which Karuna merges and duality ceases. (Himansu Bhusan Sarkar, Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Vol. 58/59, Diamond Jubilee Volume (1977-1978), pp. 921-938)

*Vajra and Ghanta: sacred ritual instruments of the Vajrayana. The Vajra, also known as the Sacred Thunderbolt, is “a metal sceptre, golden in color; it has an oval hub in the middle, with a central prong or axis running through it.” (The Vajra and Bell, Vessantara, pg. 7). The Vajra is also known as the Sacred Weapon, highlighted in the last post in a verse from The Litany of the Great Compassionate One. The Ghanta or Bell is also usually made of bronze. Its handle consists of a half-vajra, below which is a female face wearing a five-pointed crown.

It’s been stated that those who do not know the gnosis-body of Vajradhara do not know the Mantrayana. How so? Vajradhara is the symbol of the Dharmakaya, the primordial Buddha, and the foundation of the entire Vajrayana pantheon. As the great Adi-Buddha, Vajradhara is the primordial monotheistic deity, the very embodiment of emptiness-sunyata. His color is darkest blue, thus evoking the sheer emptiness and magnificent boundlessness of the Unborn Mind. When invoked, Vajradhara reveals to the mind-adept their own primordial and unrestricted potential, yea their own true-face. This is the very resilient determination of the true mark of the Arcanum, the Chariot. In this fashion, the Chariot will always roll along through Right-Effort towards the ultimate destination, that of Self-Realization. The “triumpher” of this Arcanum is the true adept of mysticism, gnosis and magic —divine, human and natural. (MOTT) In our Dharma-series, The Tathagatagarbhatara Tantra, the great Adi Buddha Samantabhadra takes form as Vajradhara who formally offers the sacred-teaching to the assembly.

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