Vajrapani Attends the Buddha at His First Sermon

Pakistan (ancient region of Gandhara)

Not on view

Vajrapani stands to the Buddha’s right, holding a bar-shaped vajra (thunderbolt). In this early period, artists depicted Vajrapani as a muscular hero, drawing on Heracles imagery that came to Gandhara through trade. Significantly, Vajrapani does not appear in the written narrative describing the first sermon; instead, the vajra-holding figure was added in order to protect the Buddha and bring auspiciousness to the narrative scene. The Buddha sets the wheel of law (dharma) in motion, revealing the teachings to the surrounding five monks, who in turn spread this doctrine and establish the monastic order.

Vajrapani Attends the Buddha at His First Sermon, Schist, Pakistan (ancient region of Gandhara)

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