This wooden phurba takes its form from The Nine Enriching Phurbas of Ngak’chang A-kyong Düd’dül Dorje. A-kyong Düd’dül Dorje was a disciple of Khyungchen Aro Lingma, but he was also a great master in his own right. A-kyong Düd’dül Dorje held traditions of phurba from almost all schools and traditions of Vajrayana Buddhism. ‘The Nine Enriching Phurbas’ is a gar’cham (or vajra dance) of phurba, which is danced in black costume, and centres on the Buddha Karma of ‘enrichment’. (The Buddha Karmas are: enrichment, pacification, magnetisation, and destruction.)
The phurba in this photograph was made by Ngakpa Trögyal Traktung Wangdrak Dorje who specialises in the practice of Dorje Phurba. Nine such phurbas were made by him in 1998, and since then 72 other A-kyong phurbas have been made in Nepal for the performance of Aro Gar’cham. The dance requires 18 phurbas, and so the three sets of phurbas are now housed in California at ‘Vulture’s Nest’, in New York, in Austria at ‘Khyungchen Aro Ling’, and in Britain in ‘Aro Taktsang’. The phurbas are used in pairs by each of nine dancers – the four ‘phur-gön’ or phurba protectors, and the five phurbas of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space.