A phurba is a special ritual dagger, stake, or nail with a three-edged blade that is used for transfixing demons. It is actually considered an embodiment of a fierce buddha deity, Vajrakila, who manifests the adamantine wisdom of selflessness in the form of the stake of absolute transcendence, the only force capable of destroying evil, transmuting its powerful energy into the irresistible positive force of compassion.
Usually a phurba has three sections—pommel, handle and blade. It may be constituted and constructed of different materials and material components, such as wood, metal, gems, etc.
The pommel of a phurba often bears three faces of Vajrakila, one joyful, one peaceful, one wrathful. The handle is often a dorje, in a weaving or knot work design, resonating with the “thread-mansion” structures used to imprison demons. The handle generally has a triune form as have the pommel and the blade. The blade is composed of three triangular facets or faces, meeting at the tip. The three edges of the blade symbolize the three doors of liberation—voidness, signlessness and wishlessness, together they are the three-fold realization that enables the intelligence to soar free into nirvana.