A phurpa, sometimes called a "magic dagger", is a tantric ritual object used to conquer evil spirits and to destroy obstacles. It is utilized in magic rituals by high level tantric practitioners. The word phurpa is used primarily in Central Tibet, while the word phurbu is used more often in Kham, Amdo and Ladakh.
The triple blade of the phurpa symbolizes the overcoming or cutting through of the three root poisons of ignorance, desire, and hatred, and also represents control over the three times of past, present and future. The triangular shape represents the element of fire and symbolizes wrathful activity. The tenacious grip of the makara-head at the top of the blade represents its ferocious activity.
This triple blade issues from the jaws of a makara (mythical crocodile). Also issuing from the makara mouth are a couple of snakes (nagas), clinging to the uppermost blade. Above the makara head is a five-pronged vajra. Above the vajra are three heads of Hayagriva. Each head has three eyes, bushy eyebrows and an emblem of four skulls. The three faces of Hayagriva signify that he is the deity invoked to dwell within the phurpa. These three faces destroy the afflictions of ignorance, desire and hatred. The binding of the hair into a single topknot symbolizes the binding of all extremes and contentions into the single nature of reality. Their nine eyes symbolize the nine vehicles of the Buddha's teachings. The twelve projecting skulls, which encircle their combined crown, represent the twelve deeds of the Buddha.