It is the aim of tantric practice to lift duality. In iconography, this is represented by the unification of a male and a female deity; in the ritual, by specific hand movements with a diamond sceptre in the right and a bell in the left hand.
Diamond sceptre (vajra* in Sanskrit , dorje in Tibetan), brass; L: 14 cm., B: 4,5 cm.; loan from a private collection
Used as a ritual tool in tantric rites, the vajra symbolises the »method« (upaya*), acting selflessly for the good of all living beings. In rituals it is held in the right hand as the male principle. In the left hand, the lama holds a bell (drilbu) as symbol of eh female principle of wisdom. Specific gestures of the hands symbolise the unification of method and wisdom and the lifting of the opposites in the insight of the emptiness of all appearances. This state of lifting the mode of thinking in dualities is visualised in the spherically shaped centre.
Bell and vajra are amongst the most important ritual instrument of the Vajrayana Buddhism.