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Masterpiece Quality Vajrapani by The Shakya Family

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The Shakya family is well known for making some of the finest statues in Kathmandu. We have been working with them for over 13 years and are thrilled to call them our friends. This year they sent us 10 statues of incomparable work. This Vajrapani is one of the large masterpiece quality statues they sent us.

This 3 piece statue is 15 inches tall and very heavy. Incredibly detailed and accented with a gold wash to give the bronze statue more depth. It is a replica of a 16th century statue from Tibet and therefore is antiqued and beads are intentionally left off where they are missing on the original.

One of a kind.

On the popular level, Vajrapani, Holder of the Thunderbolt Scepter (symbolizing the power of compassion), is the Bodhisattva who represents the power of all the Buddhas, just as Avalokitesvara represents their great compassion, Manjushri their wisdom, and Tara their miraculous deeds. For the yogi, Vajrapani is a means of accomplishing fierce determination and symbolizes unrelenting effectiveness in the conquest of negativity. His taut posture is the active warrior pose (pratayalidha), based on an archer's stance but resembling the en garde position in Western fencing. His outstretched right hand brandishes a vajra and his left hand deftly holds a lasso - with which he binds demons. Although he wears a skull crown in a few depictions, in most depictions he wears a 5 pointed Bodhisattva crown to depict the power of the 5 Tathagathas. (The skull crown is an iconographic symbol of another similar Dharmapala called Mahakala). Vajrapani's expression is wrathful and he has a third eye. Around his neck is a serpent necklace and his loin cloth is made up of the skin of a tiger, whose head can be seen on his left knee.

The Pali Canon's Ambattha Suttanta, which challenges the caste system, tells of one instance of him appearing as a sign of the Buddha's power. At the behest of his teacher, a young Brahmin named Ambatha visited the Buddha. Knowing the Buddha's family to be the Shakya clan who are Kshatriya caste, Ambatha failed to show him the respect he would a fellow Brahmin. When the Buddha questioned his lack of respect, Ambatha replied it was because the Buddha belongs to a "menial" caste. The Buddha then asked the Brahmin if his family was descended from a “Shakya slave girl”. Knowing this to be true, Ambatha refused to answer the question. Upon refusing to answer the question for a second time, the Buddha warned him that his head would be smashed to bits if he failed to do so a third time. Ambatha was frightened when he saw Vajrapani manifest above the Buddha's head ready to strike the Brahmin down with his thunderbolt. He quickly confirmed the truth and a lesson on caste ensues.

According to the Pancavimsatisahasrika and Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita any Bodhisattva on the path to Buddhahood is eligible for Vajrapani's protection, making them invincible to any attacks "by either men or ghosts".

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