Vajrapani is also called Vajrasattva (the Buddha of purification) in Mahayana Buddhism, and it represents the energy of the enlightened mind, and the sacred energy that breaks through delusion. He also represents the power and fearlessness of the Buddhas.
Bodhisattva Vajrapani (Holder of the Thunderbolt) is extensively represented in Buddhist iconography as one of the earliest 3 protective bodhisattvas surrounding Gautama Buddha. He belongs to the Vajra Family which is headed by Buddha Aksobhya. Manifestations of the Bodhisattva can also be found in many Buddhist temples in Japan as Dharma protectors called Nio.
As protector of the esoteric and precious tantric teachings, He is occasionally referred to with the title “Lord of the Secret”. The Sutra of Golden Light names Him as “the great general of the Yakshas”. For the yogis, Vajrapani Bodhisattva is a means of accomplishing fierce determination and represents unrelenting effectiveness in the conquest of negative emotions.
In early Buddhist legends, He is known to have been the king of Trayastriṃsa of devas in the heaven of Hindu and Buddhist cosmology. In another legend, it is stated that while Nagas came to worship Buddha Gautama and heard his sermons, Bodhisattva Vajrapani assumed the form of a bird with wings, head, and claws like Garuda to deceive him, to ensure that the Nagas were not attacked by their deadly enemies, the Garudas.
In human form, the Bodhisattva is portrayed with a vajra as His symbol and is known as Dhyani-Bodhisattva. Sometimes, He is depicted with a third eye in the center of his forehead, a ghanta (bell) and Pasa (lasso). Furthermore, He is pictured dancing wildly within a halo of flames, which signifies transformation. He is deep blue in color.
Just as Ambittha’s hair stood on end when he encountered Vajirapani, so did the Bodhisattva Vajrapani’s hair fly wildly in the air. In the majority of illustrations, the Bodhisattva wears a five-pointed bodhisattva crown to depict the power of the five Dhyani Buddhas.
In Nepal, He is described holding a vajra supported on a lotus, in the left hand is shown in a posture of “charity and argument”, and with its stem held in the right hand. The Bodhisattva paintings are in white color. Moreover, in Tibet, He is depicted in numerous fierce forms. Some of the notable ones are Vajrapani-Acharya in a human aspect with only one head with the 3rd eye and with hair raised and crowned by a skull with fiery expression. He is also linked with Acala who is venerated as Fudo-Myo in Japan, where the Bodhisattva is serenaded as the holder of the Vajra.
Although He and other similar figures are commonly described as “wrathful”, it’s essential to realize that they do not represent ordinary anger, but simply the fearlessness and power of the awakened mind.
Bodhisattva Vajrapani’s mantra is simply His name, which represents “wielder of the thunderbolt”, framed between the mystical bija (seed) syllables Om and Hum.
Chanting Om Vajrapani Hum mantra benefits:
This protection mantra helps us to gain access to the irrepressible energy that Bodhisattva Vajrapani symbolizes. Additionally, chanting the Vajrapani mantra with a sincere heart is a guarantee for being able to perform in any type of situation, being truly present in the moment and dealing with any kind of energy, accepting both adversity and friendship, both bad and good, and mastering them all with kindness and power, transforming them into primordial good for all the sentient beings.
Long Vajrapani mantra lyrics:
”Tadyatha/ Om Vajra Canda Maha Rosaṇa Hum Phat/ Aprati Hata Bala Hum Phat/ Sarva Vighnataya Vinasa Kara Maraya Hum Phat.”