Ritual Dagger (Phurba) and Stand


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 253

Ritual utensils are the essential tools of Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism practice, used to drive away the delusions that act as impediments to enlightenment. The phurba (Sanskrit: kila) dagger seen here was designed to symbolically consume the triple poisons of ignorance, greed, and delusion that impede spiritual progress. The phurba is the embodiment of the Vajrakila Buddha, who is empowered to suppress all evil in the world. Its ritual use is first described in the Vajrakilaya Tantra, a Vajrayana text dating to the eighth century or earlier.

Ritual Dagger (Phurba) and Stand, Ebony with polychrome, Tibet

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