By The Spiritual Explorer | Published 28 December, 2011
Dear Spiritual Explorer: Can you suggest a symbolic relic for my puja table? Keisha P., New York, NY
Bell & Dorje
Dear Keisha: I would suggest a Bell & Dorje. A dorje represents the “thunderbolt of enlightenment,” an abrupt change in human consciousness that accompanies an extraordinary episode in the lives of mystics and saints. This transformational happening has long been spoken of in various traditions. We are all familiar with the conversion of St.Paul on the way to Damascus and that of Muhammad on the mountain which is fundamental to Moslem belief. For Buddhists the dorje moment is what occurred to the historical Buddha as he experienced kensho-satori, the dropping away of self or disappearance of the ego. Tibetans refer to the dorje moment as the Great Death to differentiate it from physical death to which we are all vulnerable.
Vajra, a Sankrit word meaning both thunderbolt and diamond is another word for dorje. As you can see from the accompanying picture, it appears to be a short metal weapon. Its symbolic nature is two-fold: a diamond that can cut any substance and not be cut itself, and the thunderbolt, capturing irresistible force. It is therefore obvious that the dorje/vajra represents firmness of spirit and spiritual power.
The dorje is the ritual object that is held in the right hand of a Lama during various religious ceremonies. I remember seeing a picture of Nawang Tenzing Zangpo, Head Lama of a monastery in the Everest region of Nepal. In front of him was the bell and dorje he was shortly to use. Interestingly, I have also discovered that Dorje is a commonly used name for Tibetan men.
Needless to say, the dorje will be a powerful addition to your puja table.
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