The Bell & Dorje are ritual implements used together to represent the inseparability of wisdom and compassion. The Bell which is always held in the left hand represents the female element of wisdom and the Dorje which is always held in the right hand represents the compassion of the Buddha and the male element of skillful means. To achieve enlightenment, those two principles must be combined. The bell is visualized as the Buddha's body, the Dorje or Vajra is visualized as his mind, and the sound of the bell is visualized as Buddha's speech in teaching of the dharma.
The Bell (Ghanta) is the most commonly used of all musical instruments in tantric Buddhist ritual. The sound made by the Bells is regarded as very auspicious and is believed to drive out evil spirits from where the ritual is being performed. When the Bell is being used with the Dorje its use is varied depending on the ritual or the mantras being chanted. During meditation ringing the bell represents the sound of Buddha teaching the dharma and symbolizes the attainment of wisdom and the understanding of emptiness. During the chanting of the mantras the Bell and Dorje are used together in a variety of different ritualistic ways to represent the union of the male and female principles.
The Dorje is the indestructible weapon of the wrathful deities and is the symbol of spiritual authority of the peaceful deities. The word Dorje means Lord of Stones in Tibetan. It symbolizes the capacity to transform all experience into an experience of enlightened perspective. Everything in samsara, cyclic existence, is impermanent, and therefore, not to be relied upon. The dorje symbolizes the skillful means of transforming our ordinary experience to one that will propel us on our spiritual path. The dorje has five extraordinary characteristics. It is impenetrable, immovable, immutable, indivisible, and indestructible. The dorje is the indestructible weapon of the wrathful deities. It is the symbol of spiritual authority of the peaceful deities. Vajra, the Sanskrit word, means the hard or mighty one, diamond-like. Its brilliance illuminates ignorance and reveals Truth, destroying the delusion that causes suffering. Once the cause of suffering is revealed to us, we are empowered to create the causes of happiness. Ultimately we will attain the egoless state, which is free from all suffering. From the Vajrayana perspective, the motivation for attaining this state is to relieve all beings from their suffering.
The meaning of the designs of a Bell (Ghanta) -

The hollow of the bell represents the void from which all phenomena arise, including the sound of the bell, and the clapper represents form. Together they symbolize wisdom (emptiness) and compassion (form or appearance). The sound, like all phenomena, arises, radiates forth and then dissolves back into emptiness.
Inside the Bell is hollow with a clapper. The hollow represents emptiness from which all phenomena arise including the sound of the bell. The clapper represents form. Together they symbolize wisdom (emptiness) and compassion (form or appearance).

A – Rim of the Bell representing the disc of space from which the sound of emptiness arises.

B – Ring of Vertical Dorje / Vajras between 2 rows of pearls. Lower row of pearls represents a rosary of light or a ring of wisdom flames, representing the five primordial wisdoms.. The row of vertical Dorjes/ Vajras symbolises the Vajra fence he indestructible circle of protection. is another protective circle symbolizing the development of the higher states of consciousness which allow one to enter the celestial palace of Prajnaparamita.

C – Empty area representing the earth disc of the mandala

D – Row of eight Kirtimukhas symbolising the 8 makara heads of the vishvavajra on which the mandala palce rests. From the mouth of the Kirtimukhas hang jewel loops and pendants symbolising decoration of the celestial palace.

E – Between the eight Kirtimukhas stand the eight symbols of the Bodhisattvas. These can take different forms which commonly include Dorjes / Vajras, eight auspicious symbols etc. and symbolise the eight charnel grounds or cemeteries within the mandala

F – Ring of 8 or 16 Horizontal Dorje / Vajras between 2 rows of pearls. The row of Horizontal Dorjes/ Vajras symbolises the Inner protection circle of the Mandala and represent the 8 or 16 emptinesses.

G – Eight inscribed syllables set within the eight Petal Lotus circle of the eight Bodhisattvas and their female consorts. The eight syllables and their representations are –
Tam (direction east) representing - Kshitigarbha and his consort Lasya offering beauty
Mam (direction south-east) representing - Maitreya and his consort Pushpa offering flowers
Lam (direction south) representing - Akashagarbha and his consort Mala offering garlands
Pam (direction south-west) representing - Samantabhadra and his consort Dhupa offering incense
Mam (direction west) representing - Avalokithesvara and his consort Gita offering song
Tsum (direction north-west) representing - Manjughosha and his consort Aloka offering light
Pam (direction north) representing - Vajrapani and his consort Nrit ya offering beauty
Bhrum (direction north-east) representing - Sarva-nivarana-vishkambhim and his consort Gandha offering perfume

H –Central circle of Petals

 
 
 
 


 
   
 
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