Vajra (sankosho). Made of gilded bronze.
- Made in: Japan
- Length: 13.9 millimetres
The bell, kenchi (gantha), and three types of kongosho (vajra) form a ritual assemblage used in Shingon Buddhism. The bell symbolises the connection between the phenomenal and real world, its sound implying the illusory nature of the former. The single-barbed vajra represents the union of the two worlds, the three-barbed represents Buddha, lotus, and vajra, and the five-barbed Five Wisdoms and the Five Buddhas. The rimpo (cakra) was an ancient Indian solar symbol of royalty which probably derived from a throwing weapon. It was adopted into Buddhism as the 'Wheel Of The Law' and represents Dainichi Nyorai, the supreme Buddha of the esoteric Tendai and Shingon sects. The wheel has eight spokes in the form of vajra, and a central lotus symbolising Buddhist rebirth. (label copy, VH, 1998)Zwalf 1985
In Japanese Tantrism three varieties of ‘vajra’, or ‘kongōsho’, and a ‘ghaṇṭā’, or ‘kenchi’, form a ritual assemblage. The single-pronged ‘vajra’ represents non-duality, the three-pronged the triple concept of Buddha, lotus and ‘vajra’, and the five-pronged variety Five Wisdoms and Dhyāni Buddhas. The ‘ghaṇṭā’, symbolises the connection between the phenomenal (‘garbhadhātu’) and ultimately real (‘vajradhātu’), its sound standing for the illusory nature of the former. This group is used ritually when ‘mudrās’ are performed, accompanying ‘sūtra’ readings, and the five-pronged ‘vajra’ consubstantiates the practitioner in Buddhahood.
On display: G93/dc4/sG
2006 Oct 13-, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from prehistory to the present'
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Object reference number: JCR5592
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