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Welcome.  This page is about Vajrayana  in general. For a summary of my Mind Illuminated series with content and page links see the site overview. If you’d like to hear me discussing Vajrayana, meta-systematicity, meditation and martial arts, follow me on Twitter.  The best way to get notifications of new pages on this site is to subscribe by email using the subscribe box and follow button in the side bar.

Vajrayana is a Buddhist path. The term covers a body of teachings and practices that developed over hundreds of years in India, Tibet and other Asian countries. It is used to describe a Buddhist approach in contrast to Hinayana and Mahayana. Vajrayana includes Buddhist Tantra. Vajra is a Sanskrit word meaning “thunderbolt”. Yana means “path” or “way”.

Vajrayana is relevant for practitioners wanting to apply meditation to daily living without a renunciative lifestyle. Many of its practices are transformative in principle. Tantrikas – Vajrayana practitioners – approach emotions, and all of life, as material to work with.  The point of Buddhist Tantric practice is to develop skilful, competent activity in every-day circumstances. Qualities of anger such as clarity and energetic motivation are fuel for effective intervention when they’re experienced without self-justification or peevish vengeance.

The parts of Vajrayana I find most appealing and applicable to contemporary life are the practices and teachings that developed outside monastic systems – the yogic traditions. Yogis and monks were never entirely separate in practice: some monks became wandering yogis, monasteries institutionalized methods from great yogic masters, male and female. Nonetheless, a clear strand of non-monastic, yogic practitioners in the Himalayas is traceable back to early centuries AD in India. I belong to this tradition.

On Vajrayana Now I explore how Vajrayana adapts as it transitions from its pre-modern cultural formation into contemporary societies.

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