In Tibetan Buddhism, full of symbols and ritual objects, extensive attention has been given to the meaning of the word Dorje, in Tibetan, or Vajra, in Sanskrit: the lightning, or diamond, that destroys all kinds of ignorance, being itself indestructible, principle of spiritual and mental liberation, on which the philosophy of Tibet is based.
The Dorje represents the firmness of spirit and the achievement of high transcendental virtues, able to drive towards the Truth, destroying unawareness.Made like a scepter, can be single or double: in its quality of lightning, typical of many Eastern civilizations, is compared to the meteoric hammer of Thor, and to the thunderbolt and scepter of Zeus; indestructible weapon for the wrathful deities, spiritual power for the benevolent gods.
In the iconography and rituals of Tibetan Buddhism the Dorje is always accompanied by a Bell, and together these two symbols represent the opposites that coexist: the bell is in fact a symbol of the feminine side, of the diamond, of the physical body, while the Dorje is the masculine side, thunder and mind. During the Buddhist rites the Dorje is held in the right hand, while the bell in the left one.The Dorje is often used in meditation rituals as a symbol of the union between the Relative Truth, represented by the experiences of everyday life, and the Absolute Truth, a state of being that we live in unity with nature and all that surrounds us. When during meditation both are used, the aim is to balance the masculine and feminine side of reality, and to achieve spiritual awareness.
Each part of the structure of Dorje has a precise meaning, in particular the two spherical ends: they not only represent the sunyata, the primordial structure of the universe, but they also symbolize the two parts of the brain.The dual aspect of Dorje also reminds one of the sacred symbols of Buddhism, two Lotuses that combined represent the union of the two worlds: the phenomenal one, Samsara, and the intangible one, Nirvana, while the parts that symbolize the petals refer to the four Bodhisattvas, enlightened beings, and to their wives.
The three central circles, which act as a point of union for the two extreme parts of Dorje, represent the bliss that the Buddha reached spontaneously, without effort.
At the ends of the two Lotuses there are three circles, a symbol of the six ways that lead to perfection: patience, generosity, discipline, effort, meditation and wisdom.
The important message of holiness and purity, indicated by Dorje, doubles its power when it is represented double. The double Dorje, known as Visvavajra, also used as a seal for important documents, is often placed at the base of statues representing the main Tibetan and Indian deities; when worn is a reminder of the absolute indestructibility of Knowledge.