Welcome. This page is about Vajrayana. See the site overview to navigate the site posts and blog series and the Author page to read about my life and work. To navigate posts chronologically, click on the recent posts links in the side bar and use the next post and previous post links at the bottom of every page after the comments. If you’d like to hear me discussing Vajrayana, metasystematicity, 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 distinguishes a Buddhist approach in contrast to Hinayana and Mahayana. Vajra is a Sanskrit word meaning “thunderbolt”. Yana means “path” or “way”. Vajrayana includes Buddhist Tantra, Dzogchen and Mahamudra.
Vajrayana is relevant for practitioners who want to apply meditation to daily living with a life-affirming, non-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 to contemporary societies as it transitions from its pre-modern, mostly Tibetan cultural formation.
I am building a community of contemporary Vajrayana practice, Evolving Ground, with my friend and collaborator Jared Janes. We offer a free, monthly, unrecorded practice Q&A meetup. The group is for meditators with any sort of background and experience who want to explore Vajrayana. We also host a Slack community for the group, Happy Yogis. To request involvement, fill out this form.
The Evolving Ground Foundation series is currently running at The Stoa. You can watch recordings of our events so far:
Our next community get-together (virtual, unrecorded) will be on Sunday 25th October at 9:30am PT (12:30pm ET).