Ma's India Blog: Phurbas for Protection against Harm and Delusion Mas India

Mas India Posting Page

As accompaniments to meditation, phurbas (pronounced poor-bas) are little known. They hail from the Tibetan, Hindu, shamanic and Buddhist tantric lineages. Known also as a “kila,” phurbas can be a three-sided peg, stake, knife, or nail. In Tibet, the” kila” is associated with the meditational deity, Vajrakilaya. 

The pommel of the phurba often bears three faces of Vajarkilaya, one joyful, one peaceful, and one wrathful. The handle is often of woven or knotwork design. The blade is usually composed of three triangular facets or faces, meeting at the tip. These represent, respectively, the blade’s power to transform or destroy the negative energies known as the “three poisons” or root poisons of attachment, craving, desire, delusion, ignorance and misconception, or aversion, fear and hate.

The phurbas’ usages are esoteric. Shaman healers use them for healing and energy work. In Buddhist tantric philosophy phurbas represent the ability to overcome obstacles and destroy evil. In Nepal and Tibet phurbas are utilized as protection against harm and the killing of demons, both internal and external.

Phurbas are not sharp as a knife or dagger would be and are made of different kinds of materials, e.g., thorny trees, metal, brass and iron. Metal phurbas were created with the intent to vertically penetrate harder earth such as the earth. There is speculation as to which phurba material works best in order to overpower demons. 

For a Nepalese shaman, the wooden phurba is a very powerful and unique ritual item. The wooden phurbas kept by them on their altars represent the three worlds and the world tree that connects them together. It is not unusual to see brass phurbas on the pujas of spiritual aspirants as they attempt to “cut through” their spiritual malaise. Other esoteric distinctions include phurbas being used to accomplish pacifying, magnetizing or subjugating purposes. The pacifying phurbas are usually white in color and made of conch shell, crystal or silver. Red phurbas for magnetizing purposes are made of copper or other red metals. Phurbas for purposes of subjugation are dark and made of meteorite or iron or very hard wood. Substantial symbolic phurbas have specific measurements according to purpose. They are based on measurements of the fingers. Phurbas range from two fingers long up to sixteen fingers long.

Phurbas are also used to bless people. An ancient story is that of Tibetans coming from all over the world to receive the “blessing of the daggers.” The blessing is the destruction of preconceived notions of reality. In ancient times the phurbas were place together in a sort of umbrella overhanging and people would pass underneath the phurbas to receive their blessing.

As used in rites by high-level tantric practitioners, the meditator recites the appropriate liturgy and then invites the deity to reside within the phurba. As you pick up your phurba, imagine that you are frightening and subduing evil spirits by impaling them with the blade. Thus you become a fierce and potent meditator.

Hail to the destruction of illusion!

For these and other items of prayer, visit Ma’s India Spiritual Gift Store.

by: Mas India icon18_email-5838722icon18_edit_allbkg-8434209

Leave a Comment