Dharmapala Thangka CentreIconography

Tibetan Iconography


Vajrapāṇi [tibetisch ཕྱག་ན་རྡོ་རྗེ། Chagna Dorje - meaning: Vajra in [his] hand] is one of the earliest-appearing bodhisattvas in Mahayana Buddhism. He is the protector and guide of Gautama Buddha and rose to symbolize the Buddha's power.

Vajrapāni is also called Chana Dorji and Chador and extensively represented in Buddhist iconography as one of the earliest three protective deities or bodhisattvas surrounding the Buddha. Each of them symbolizes one of the Buddha's virtues: Manjushri manifests all the Buddhas' wisdom, Avalokiteśvara manifests all the Buddhas' immense compassion, and Vajrapāni protects Buddha and manifests all the Buddhas' power as well as the power of all five tathāgatas [Buddhahood of the rank of Buddha].

Vajrapāni is one of the earliest Dharmapalas of Mahayana Buddhism and also appears as a deity in the Pali Canon of the Theravada school. He is worshiped in the Shaolin Monastery, in Tibetan Buddhism and in Pure Land Buddhism [where he is known as Mahasthamaprapta and forms a triad with Amitābha and Avalokiteśvara]. Manifestations of Vajrapāni can also be found in many Buddhist temples in China, Taiwan and Japan as Dharma protectors guarding monastery and temple gates. Vajrapāni is also associated with Acala, where he is serenaded as the holder of the vajra.

Source: Wikipedia