I waas wandering through my favorite store the other day, and looked in one of their display cases. They had next to their incense cases and tiny Buddha statues two items that interested me. I thought they were of use inn the Buddhist religion, as they were grouped with the other items.
The first was an iron dagger that had, instead of two blades, three coming from the handle. When viewed looking from the tip down, it had a triad shape.
The second was what appeared to be a flat, wide blade that was shaped oddly. I’ll try to render it in my primitive ASCII skills:
So the drawing looks horrible. But the blade curved gracefully in a large outward circle, then curved in, and at the end curved out a little bit.
Does anyone have any ideas of what these are and what they are used for? I am thinking of going back and buying them from Global Village (a great store, I’ll make a thread about it sometime), but I would like to know what they are for.
The first is what they call in sanskrit a vajra, in Japanese the word is kongo (with a macron over the last “o”). It symbolises a thunderbolt, sort of-- a weapon of the gods (you can see guardians in paintings carrying it, and it’s used as a decorative/symbolic motif in some mandalas), and also something like diamond, or adamantium-- the hardest possible substance. The metal object is a liturgical item-- I’m not sure exactly how it’s used-- in the esoteric Buddhist sects the liturgy involves arrangements of big groups of ritual implements in ways you and I will never understand.
As for the second thing you mentioned, I haven’t a clue. Could be something similar. Did it have a handle, or was it just a flat piece of metal?
Thanks for the help M.K… IT was just a flat piece of metal.
I’m having a little trouble picturing your descriptions, but I’ll give it a shot.
I’m not sure that the object RedDragon was describing is a vajra. If the “blades” were curved, forming a bell shape, then , yes, it is a vajra. As I understand it, the vajra is a combination of the male lingam and the female bell, the balance between these leading to enlightenment. Red Dragon’s statement " When viewed looking from the tip down, it had a triad shape " suggests to me a “phurpa.” Unfortunately, I don’t know much specifically about the symbolism associated with this. It is a ritual dart. I have read that it is used in the slaying of the effigy of ones foe. I have also read that it is for removing obstacles to enlightenment. I don’t recall the sources on these, but I am sure they were not scholarly, as I have had a deuce of a time finding a good scholarly overview of Tibetan symbology. Don’t mean to hijack, but does anyone know of a good one?
The second object you describe sounds like it might be an “ankush”, which symbolizes control over the mind. Apply same caveat as above.
Ok, when you say Triad, is this like a, um, “trident” or like a curved-in tetrahedral shape, or more like a sylized “W” shape with the prongs going off to the sides? The japanese type of vajra looks sort of like a inwardly-curving trident shape, not bell-shaped, really (there’s no outward curve like in a western bell, at least).
Update: I have found pics of the items online
That second one isn’t one of these, is it? Those are Nepalese Gurkha knives.
That’s the extent of my buddhist weaponry knowledge, and the Nepalese are mostly Hindu so I guess I’ll shut up now.
Please ignore me. Thanks for the photo links!
Ah, ok. You found 'em. I was abou tto guess the tri-gug, and you beat me to it.
Now for the next question: What are they used for or what do they symbolize?