The Story Of The Five Buddha Families – Which One Do You Fit Into?



by Chantel JVR
The Spirit Science

Buddha, Vajra, Ratna, Padma and Karma described as five different qualities of energy.

All of us possess these qualities, not meant to solidify our egos or to identify one through their astrological signs, they refer to the fluid working basis in which we recognize our current neurosis – our sanity.

Since these families originate from vajrayana tradition, they offer openness which allows us to self-reflect and work on our ability to bring out our intrinsic wisdom. What do they wholly demand? Honest, willingness to see how we are manifesting both sanely and neurotically.


Each of these Buddha families are associated with an emotion which is transmuted into wisdom. The color, element, landscape, direction, season and even the time of day play a role. Changing both physically and mentally over the years, our predominant Buddha family may change when influenced by these factors.



The central Buddha family is essentially Buddha which refers to the quality of space and accommodation. Having no set likes or dislikes, you may be very open to choices. You may not be very expressive and open to excitement, yet you are usually quite enterprising.

The neurosis however of the Buddha family is dullness. You may be living life quite “molasses minded”. Ignoring the vividness life offers as it’s not what you choose to see. A great example may be someone watching TV, uninterested in what’s on, but it’s too much effort to find the remote. Although this may seem quite thick, there is a flicker of wakefulness. You may suddenly get up, clear space and turn off the TV!

This may very well be the wisdom which makes the other Buddha family function. Call it the oxygen of life. The Buddha energy is usually portrayed as blue, resembling coolness and the air. The symbol – the eight spoked wheel of Dharma.

The Vajra family is precise and intellectual. Associated with the East, the lightening sky of dawn. Symbolizing the diamond or adamantine thunderbolt known as Vajra. They are naturally puzzled by vague answers and will investigate and push for further information. They may come across as rather cold and sharp.

The Vajra family represents white hot anger. Their neurosis tends to have a short fuse, ready to criticize at any moment or at the very least, to analyze errors in an idea or situation. If they manage to stick with their emotional anger instead of self-righteously expressing their rage, their anger is clarified into mirror-like wisdom and they successfully manage to express their intelligence without blaming concerns and insights.

By registering anger, which we all feel at some stage, we allow ourselves to touch the clarity within the emotion, finding a more skillful way of expressing ourselves without polluting and emoting all over the place and most certainly not bottling it up.

The Ratna family is proud and draws from richness. After all, Ratna means jewel or precious gem. Ratna ladies tend to have comfortable, lavish homes full of rich collections. Some may have a library or a collection of paintings. They never stop short when it comes to things like kitchen utensils to herbs and spices they cook with. Their gardens are filled with an array of vegetables, colorful flowers and even vine covered walls.

They love silk scarves and may have quite the collection, including jewelry and many other forms of bling. Gregarious by nature, they surround themselves with companions.

The Ratna’s sanity is expressed by the wisdom of equanimity, where there is balance and earth stability. Dressed in brocade, she may replay opera arias as she is self-aware of her richness. She recognizes her tendency to be prideful as loosening up her wisdom and equanimity, she also tends to defend herself to maintain her ego, which relaxes her. She rather feels inspired to be generous and hospitable to all. Ratna is connected with the South which symbolizes fertility and autumn’s abundance along with a warm, mid morning sunshine.

The Padma family is naturally provocative and magnetizing. Padma translates into lotus. Many artists are in the Padma family. They are usually attractive and instinctively thrive on union. Their neurosis is prone to fascination and seduction, followed by a disinterest as they desire attraction, not having. Their neurotic form of passion needs to be channeled into discriminating awareness. This will allow them to know what to attract and what to reject. Warm and genuinely compassionate behavior will follow instead of entrapment-rejection.

The Padma family originates from the West, the setting sun and springtime, the time when winter settles into an abundance of flowers.

The Karma family is the final, which symbolizes a sword. They are generally the most efficient and active as Karma translates to action or activity. They enjoy it when things work, they’re functional and timely.

Pragmatic and leaning towards being competitive, the neurosis of Karma is speed, restlessness and jealousy. They tend to feel that is something isn’t at all times functional or doesn’t fit a predetermined scheme, that it should be destroyed.

They should focus on recognizing these tendencies and loosen the hold. They will in turn learn to delegate and this begins the process of accomplishment into action.

Possessing the energy of the good winds which blow away winter’s stasis of clinging leaves, a summer breeze in the Northern Highlands of cape Breton, whipping through the grasses as it is summer when most things are active. Green in color, but dusk in mood, the sound of insects to partying people.

Representing five different approaches and styles, these families are all equally valid. Practitioners may relate to a certain one, or occasionally several. Casting can never be fixed as they all have the potential to express a difference of sanity. They should be described as hang ups, they are displays of a variety of valuable energies.


“This was recorded live at Naropa University in my Buddhist Psychology Class. It is part of a rock-opera I started writing based on the Tibetan Buddhist teachings of the “Five Buddha Families”. Each family is represented in the five colors on the Tibetan Buddhist prayer flag: Karma (Green) Buddha (White), Ratna (Yellow), Padma (Red) and Vajra (Blue). We all embody these energies at various times. Each can manifest in its wisdom aspect, or in its neurotic forms.”

When one practices enlightened Karma, one can accomplish incredible amounts of work in a sense of calm and enjoyment. Neurotic karma tends to lead towards paranoia and manipulation.

“In this song, I embody the insane “Emperor Karma”, who uses all of the other Buddha Families to do his bidding as he conquers the earth!”


Thank you to Elephant Journal for the magnificence in this piece.

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