Vajrayana: Diamond Vehicle.  (Mantrayana)


1.      Diamond = eternal Buddha Nature residing in all of us; never destroyed

a.      Mantra = ritual utterances, sacred sounds, esoteric (hidden) practices

b.      Tibetan Buddhism best known of the Vajrayana traditions

c.       Influence of Tantric Buddhism/Hinduism

                                                  i.      Secret knowledge and practices, yoga, use of the body to obtain enlightenment through union of opposites.

                                                ii.      Can use maithuna or sexual practices for the purpose of uniting individual with universe

                                              iii.      Yab-yum - father and mother. A non-polarized state of enlightenment.  Two deities in sexual union, male and female polarities merged, indivisible truth

1.      Female with legs around male.  Both emanations of the Buddha.  Mother = transcendent wisdom, father = divine compassion.

2.      Secret teaching by Master: teachings, recitation of mantras, use of artifacts (bells, prayer wheels, hand movements and positions (mudra).

3.      Visualizing: Buddhas whose names mean Illuminator, Imperturbable, Jewel-Born, Boundless Light, Infallible Success.  Five directions of cosmos.  Five kinds of Evil.  Five kinds of Wisdom

a.      Recognize them as projections of one's own true nature; no distinction, become one = unity.  Sometimes represented in sexual union

b.      Thongka - tool for visualization.  Guardian deities in benevolent and terrifying forms, Buddhas and bodhisattvas.

c.       A kind of mandala: sacred cosmic diagram.  Symbolizes entire universe

                                                  i.      Sometimes created with sand = temporary, transient

4.      Book of the Dead - Bardos

5.      Monastic complexes, large communities

6.      Spiritual leader = Lama (guru)

7.      Dalai Lama: incarnation of Avalokateshvara.  Spiritual and political leader.