Vajrapani, Vajrapāṇi, Vajrapāṇī, Vajra-pani: 14 definitions


Vajrapani means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit, the history of ancient India. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

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In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: The Indian Buddhist Iconography

Vajrapāṇi (वज्रपाणि) is the name of the Bodhisattva offspring associated with Akṣobhya: one of the Dhyāni-Buddhas, according to Vajrayāna or Tantric Buddhism.—His colour is blue; and his symbol is the vajra.—The Bodhisattva Vajrapāṇi with the Vajra symbol is the spiritual son of the Dhyāni Buddha Akṣobhya who is the progenitor of the Vajra family. His spiritual mother is Māmakī. Vajrapāṇi, when represented, either stands or sits and carries usually a lotus on which is placed the family symbol of Vajra. Sometimes he holds the Vajra against the chest in one of his hands.

Source: Wisdomlib Libary: Vajrayogini

Vajrapāṇi (वज्रपाणि) is the name of a deity to be contemplated upon by a practicioner purifying his correspondences (viśuddhi), according to the 12th-century Abhisamayamañjarī. Vajrapāṇi is alternatively known by the name Dveṣavajra because he is the enemy of malice (dveṣa). The contemplation is prescribed as a preliminary ritual for a yogin wishing to establish, or reestablish the union with a deity.

Vajrapāṇi is associated with the ears and the color black. He is to be visualised as holding an attribute in his right hand and a bell in his left. The deities of the sense organs and fields are the esoteric equivalents of the deities associated with the skandhas.

Source: A Collection of Tantric Ritual Texts

Vajrapāṇi (वज्रपाणि) is the name of an ancient Tibetan tantric deity.—The iconographic group of Vajrapāṇi and the eight Nāga Kings is so far scarcely studied. As is well-known, Mahāyāna considers Vajrapāṇi as one of the eight great Bodhisattvas, disciples of the Buddha and the major auditor and protector of Tantric texts received from the Buddha in the form of Vajradhāra. It is no surprise then that his image obtained an important place in the Vajrayāna tradition. The image of the Two-Handed Wrathful Vajrapāṇi is among the most wide-spread and familiar in Tibetan Buddhist arts.

In the Sarvadurgatipariśodhana-tantra, Vajrapāṇi is depicted as an one-faced, two-handed deity of white color and peaceful appearance, the eight Nāga Kings located in petals of a lotus surrounding the central figure. The joint use of their images in one maṇḍala can be connected with a legend on the taming of a gigantic serpent by the Buddha in Uddayana when he appointed Vajrapāṇi the protector of the nāgas against their enemies Garuḍas. At the same time, Vajrapāṇi is a commander of the Nāgas and can be depicted in the wrathful form.

Source: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala

Vajrapāṇī (वज्रपाणी) or Pāṇi is the name of a Ḍākinī who, together with the Vīra (hero) named Vajrapāṇa [or Pāṇa] forms one of the 36 pairs situated in the Hṛdayacakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava chapter 15. Accordingly, the hṛdayacakra refers to one of the four divisions of the sahaja-puṭa (‘innate layer’), situated within the padma (lotus) in the middle of the Herukamaṇḍala. The 36 pairs of Ḍākinīs [viz., Vajrapāṇī] and Vīras are reddish yellow in color; they each have one face and four arms; they hold a skull bowl, a skull staff, a small drum, and a knife.

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous (V) next»] — Vajrapani in Mahayana glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

Vajrapāṇi (वज्रपाणि) threw away the rock thrown at the Buddha with his thunderbolt (vajrakīla) according to the 2nd century Mahāprajñāpāramitāśāstra (chapter XXIV).—Accordingly, “Then Devadatta conceived a dire plan (duṣṭacitta): he pushed down a rock to crush the Buddha. But Kin kang li che (Vajrapāṇi) with his thunderbolt (vajrakīla) threw the rock far away. However, a rock splinter split off which wounded the Buddha’s toe”.

Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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General definition (in Buddhism)

[«previous (V) next»] — Vajrapani in Buddhism glossary
Source: Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

Vajrapāṇī (वज्रपाणी) refers to the fourth of the “eight Bodhisattvas” (aṣṭabodhisattva) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 12). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., aṣṭa-bodhisattva and Vajrapāṇī). The work is attributed to Nagarguna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

India history and geogprahy

Source: The Yona or Yavana Kings of the time of the Legendary King Ashoka

Bodhisatva Vajrapani.—Buddhist monks introduced Buddhism in Yavana Janapada. Many Indo-Greek kings accepted Buddhism as state religion. A Bodhisatva Vajrapani was believed to be the incarnation of Heracles.

Source: The Chronological History of Tibetan Buddhism

Bodhisattva Nagarjuna Vajrapani was the founder of Mahayana Buddhism. He was also referred to as Padmapani, Padmasambhava, Samantabhadra etc. According to Gilgit Manuscripts, Vajrapani attained nirvana 400 years before King Kanishka. Samyuka-Ratna-Pitaka-Sutra of Chinese Suttapitaka records that King Kanishka flourished 700 years after Buddha nirvana. Thus, there was at least 300 years difference between the date of Buddha nirvana and the date of nirvana of Vajrapani

India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

[«previous (V) next»] — Vajrapani in Sanskrit glossary
Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Vajrapāṇi (वज्रपाणि).—

1) an epithet of Indra; वज्रं मुमुक्षन्निव वज्रपाणिः (vajraṃ mumukṣanniva vajrapāṇiḥ) R.2.42.

2) an owl.

Derivable forms: vajrapāṇiḥ (वज्रपाणिः).

Vajrapāṇi is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms vajra and pāṇi (पाणि).

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Edgerton Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dictionary

Vajrapāṇi (वज्रपाणि).—(in Sanskrit ep. of Indra; in Pali Vajirapāṇi is n. of a yakkha, also of Indra, the two being identified, at least sometimes; on his character see DPPN; in BHS sometimes = Indra, as in Mv i.183.10 where his form is assumed by Buddha; probably also in Gv 250.20, where he parallels, and forms the climax of, a series of devatās; and probably SP 445.6), n. of a yakṣa, Māy 3 (living at Rāja- gṛha); compare Vajra-rājagṛha; usually not, as in Māy, a mere local yakṣa, but a much more imposing and even terrifying yakṣa, who e.g. in Bbh 152.1 may be conjured up by a Bodhisattva to frighten evil-doers (compare also Caṇḍa- vajrapāṇi); often called by epithets like mahāyakṣa- senāpati Suv 85.3, guhyakādhipati 91.17 (see the word, and compare LV 66.6), yakṣendra 158.13; similarly Mmk 548.7, and often; elsewhere he is an important Bodhisattva, at or near the head of lists of them, Kv 1.7; Mvy 649; one of eight, Dharmas 12; a special attendant on Buddha Laṅk 240.10; a Bodhisattva in the 8th bhūmi is Vajrapāṇi- satatānubaddha, Dbh 71.22; other references to V. the Bodhisattva, Śikṣ 274.3; Sādh 49.13 etc.; Mmk 11.6; 62.28; 68.20, etc.; it is clear, however, that for Mmk, at least, the Bodhisattva and the yakṣa or guhyaka prince are the same person; so Vajrapāṇir bodhisattvo 25.8 is referred to in 12 as (Ā)guhyakādhipatinā yak- ṣendreṇa; in addressing Vajrapāṇiṃ guhyakādhipatim, 36.2, he is called jinaputra (= bodhisattva) in the next line; he is called a bodhisattva in 145.2 and 13, and addressed as yakṣeśa in 14.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Vajrapāṇi (वज्रपाणि).—m.

(-ṇiḥ) Indra. E. vajra the bolt, pāṇi the hand: see vajradhara .

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Vajrapāṇi (वज्रपाणि).—[adjective] having the thunderbolt in the hand (the same).

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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