Khyabdag Dorje Chang 


Vajradhara is the primordial Buddha, the Dharmakaya aspect of the Body of Enjoyment. Vajradhara, depicted as indigo in colour, expresses the quintessence of Buddhahood itself. Vajradhara represents the essence of the historical Buddha's realization of enlightenment. Indigo is the colour radiated by a diamond. Vajradhara is the quintessence of the Diamond Path, its basis and its fruit.

Historically, Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in Bodh-Gaya over 2500 years ago and then manifested as the Buddha. According to Buddhist cosmology, he was the Fourth Historic Buddha of this fortunate eon. Prince Siddhartha's achievement of enlightenment manifested on three levels:

  • The realization, or wisdom of enlightenment itself, is called Dharmakaya, the Body of Truth. Also called Buddha Vajradhara, it is the source of all the manifestations of enlightenment;
  • When this realization is expressed through subtle symbols, it is then called Sambhogakaya, the Body of Enjoyment, a subtle manifestation that can only be perceived by those of higher realization;
  • When such realization is manifested in a physical form accessible to all - such as the historical Sakyamuni Buddha - it is called Nirmanakaya, the Body of Manifestation.

In this way Buddha Vajradhara can be seen as the embodiment of all the Buddhas in the Universe and thus as the Primordial Buddha. Vajradhara is central to the Kagyüd lineage. Indeed Tilopa received the Vajrayana teachings directly from Vajradhara, the Dharmakaya Buddha. Thus, the Kagyüd lineage originated from the very nature of Buddhahood.

Vajradhara Buddha is described as having eight main qualities:

1. The qualities of Buddha Vajradhara's Body: His body is adorned with the 112 Marks of Excellence of a Supreme Nirmanakaya. For a complete enumeration, consult Maitreya's ‘Abhisamayalankara’ - ‘The Ornament of Emergent Realization’  (For easy access to this information, consult TNG/ST 004-E Sang-Gyay Män-La folios 24 to 38).

2. The qualities of Buddha Vajradhara's Speech are the 60 aspects of Melodious Speech;

3. The qualities of Buddha Vajradhara's Mind is that in respect to all beings and at all times, he perceives their reality, in 'thusness'. Moreover he possesses the knowledge of the various possibilities for each one of them in the three realms;

4. The quality of Buddha Vajradhara's miraculous activity that encompasses all three realms of existence;

5. The quality of the capacity of movement towards any sentient being in need of His intervention;

6. His place of residence: He resides in Akanishta, the highest Buddha Realm

7. The quality of being able to enjoy the seven precious possessions of a chakravartin without attachment

8. The quality of Buddha Vajradhara's retinue, which consists exclusively of Bodhisattvas abiding on the tenth Bhumi.


This realization of the nature of mind was transmitted within the Golden Rosary by Tilopa.


Excerpt from the official website of The Tsurphu Labrang