In Buddhism, the vajra is the symbol of Vajrayana, one of the three major branches of Buddhism. Vajrayana is translated as "Thunderbolt Way" or "Diamond Way" and can imply the thunderbolt experience of Buddhist enlightenment or bodhi. It also implies indestructibility.
In ritual use the vajra is frequently employed in conjunction with the bell, the various gestures, when correctly executed, having considerable metaphysical power. The vajra (symbolizing the male principle, fitness of action) is held in the right hand and the bell (symbolizing the female principle, intelligence) in the left hand, the interaction of the two ultimately leading to enlightenment. In art the vajra is an attribute of many divinities, such as the celestial Buddha Akṣobhya and his manifestation as a bodhisattva (“Buddha-to-be”), Vajrapāṇi (In Whose Hand Is the Vajra). The viśva-vajra is a double vajra in the shape of a cross with four equal arms.