Vajrasattva – the Practice of Purification

Vajrayana Buddhism prevails in Nepal where Vajrasattva is regarded as one of the primary Buddhas.

Hero of the Vajras

Patriarch of the 5 Dhyani Buddhas


ornaments and crown

 Who is Vajrasattva:

White in color and bearing all the princely ornaments and crown, he will always be represented in the form of sambhogaya, translated as “Glorious Form”.

Vajrasattva belongs to the family of Akshobya. Some believe that he is an emancipation of Vajradhara, while others will regard him as the patriarch of the 5 Dhyani Buddhas.

Detail of right hand

Holding a double-Vajra

How to recognize Vajrasattva

detail of left hand

Left hand holds a bell

Attributes and Objects

He holds a vajra in-front of his heart with his right hand, used to represent the willful way of action.

While the left hands holds a bells close to the thigh, symbolizing transcendent wisdom.


Represented here without his consort

Posture and Forms

Mostly found sitting in Vajrasana or cross legged. Vajrasattva can be represented with or without his consort Vajrasattvatmika, also white in colour, who will almost always be symbolized with a kapala  and a kartika.

Purification of our Conscious –

In Buddhist practice the main function of Vajrasattva is to purify the veils that cover our conscious: ignorance, inner disruptions and karmic debt. These veils can be considered:

  1. A cause of misery and suffering in our existence.
  2. An obstacle on the path to self-awareness and the true nature of life.

Practice of Vajrasattva

This is the aim of almost all the practices related to Vajrasattva, which often include several visualizations and recitals. The mantra of Vajrasattva, often called 100 syllable mantra is used in almost all rituals due to its purifying nature. Specifically to those who practice Vajrayana buddhism when they take their vows or samayas.

Comments 1

  1. I have seen lots of Thangkas on display in Nepal and always have been wondering on the meanings behind them, this article is surely of a great help to understand them. Thanks a lot!

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