What is Vajrayana?
Vajray?na, Mantray?na, Tantray?na, Tantric Buddhism and Esoteric Buddhism are the various Buddhist traditions of Tantra and "Secret Mantra", which developed in medieval India and spread to Tibet, Bhutan, and East Asia. In Tibet, Buddhist Tantra is termed Vajray?na, while in China it is generally known as Tángmì (, "Chinese Tantray?na") or Mìz?ng (, "church of Tantray?na"), in Pali it is known as Pyitsayãna (?) , and in Japan it is known as Mikky?(, "secret teachings").
Vajray?na is usually translated as Diamond Vehicle or Thunderbolt Vehicle, referring to the Vajra, a mythical weapon which is also used as a ritual implement.
Founded by medieval Indian Mah?siddhas, Vajray?na subscribes to the literature known as the Buddhist Tantras. It includes practices that make use of mantras, dharanis, mudras, mandalas and the visualization of deities and Buddhas. According to Vajray?na scriptures, the term Vajray?na refers to one of three vehicles or routes to enlightenment, the other two being the ?r?vakay?na (also known as the H?nay?na) and Mah?y?na.
The Kadam (Tibetan: , Wylie: Bka'-gdams-pa) tradition was a Tibetan Mahayana Buddhist school. Dromtönpa, a Tibetan lay master and the foremost disciple of the great Indian Buddhist Master Atisha (982-1054), founded it and passed three lineages to his disciples.
The Kadampas were quite famous and respected for their proper and earnest Dharma practice. The most evident teachings of that tradition were the teachings on Bodhichitta (later these special presentations became known as Lojong (Blo-ljong) and Lamrim (Stages of the Path) by Atisha.
Tsongkhapa (Btsong-ka-pa) a reformer, collected all the three Kadam lineages and integrated them, along with Sakya, Kagyu and other teachings, into his presentation of the Doctrine.
The pervasive influence of Tsongkhapa was such that the Kadampas that followed were known as "New Kadampas" (Tibetan: Sarma Kadampa) or, more commonly, as the Gelug school, while those who preceded him became retroactively known as "Old Kadampas," or simply as "Kadampas."
The Tibetan word bardo means literally "intermediate state"--also translated as "transitional state" or "in-between state" or "liminal state". In Sanskrit the concept has the name antarabh?va. It is a concept which arose soon after the Buddha's passing, with a number of earlier Buddhist groups accepting the existence of such an intermediate state, while other schools rejected it.
Used loosely, the term "bardo" refers to the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth. According to Tibetan tradition, after death and before one's next birth, when one's consciousness is not connected with a physical body, one experiences a variety of phenomena. These usually follow a particular sequence of degeneration from, just after death, the clearest experiences of reality of which one is spiritually capable, and then proceeding to terrifying hallucinations that arise from the impulses of one's previous unskillful actions. For the prepared and appropriately trained individuals the bardo offers a state of great opportunity for liberation, since transcendental insight may arise with the direct experience of reality, while for others it can become a place of danger as the karmically created hallucinations can impel one into a less than desirable rebirth.
The term bardo can also be used metaphorically to describe times when our usual way of life becomes suspended, as, for example, during a period of illness or during a meditation retreat. Such times can prove fruitful for spiritual progress because external constraints diminish. However, they can also present challenges because our less skillful impulses may come to the foreground, just as in the sidpa bardo.
Chöje Akong Tulku Rinpoche (25 December 1939 – 8 October 2013) was a tulku in the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism and a founder of the Samye Ling Monastery in Scotland.
He was born in 1939, near Riwoq, in Kham, Eastern Tibet. At the age of two he was discovered by the search party seeking the reincarnation of the previous (1st) Akong, Abbot of Dolma Lhakang monastery near Chamdo. The search party was following instructions given by the 16th Karmapa.
At four he was taken to Dolma Lhakang to receive an education that included religion and traditional Tibetan medicine. When only a teenager he travelled, performing religious ceremonies and treating the ill. Later he went to the great monastic university of Sechen where he received transmission of the Kagyu lineage from Sechen Kongtrul Rinpoche, one of two tulkus of the first Jamgon Kongtrul.
He also received instruction from the 16th Karmapa, who also certified him as a teacher of Tibetan medicine.
In 1959, in the aftermath of that year's Tibetan Rebellion, he fled to India at age 20. Of the three hundred in his party only thirteen arrived successfully in India. They were so hungry after running out of food on the journey that they had to boil leather shoes and bags to make soup.
After spending time in refugee camps he was asked to teach at the Young Lamas Home School in Dalhousie. In 1963, a sponsor paid for Akong Rinpoche and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche to go to Oxford to learn English. As only Trungpa had a bursary, Akong worked as a hospital orderly in the Radcliffe Infirmary in order to support himself, Trungpa and Lama Chime Tulku Rinpoche (who had joined them at Oxford).
|Vajrayogin? (Sanskrit: Vajrayogin?; Tibetan: , Wylie: rdo rje rnal 'byor ma, Dorjé Neljorma; Mongolian: , , Chinese: ; pinyin: ) is a Tantric Buddhist female Buddha and a ki. Vajrayogin?'s essence is "great passion" (maharaga), a transcendent passion that is free of selfishness and illusion -- she intensely works for the well-being of others and for the destruction of ego clinging. She is seen as being ideally suited for people with strong passions, providing the way to transform those passions into enlightened virtues.
She is an Anuttarayoga Tantra iadevat? (meditation deity) and her practice includes methods for preventing ordinary death, intermediate state (bardo) and rebirth (by transforming them into paths to enlightenment), and for transforming all mundane daily experiences into higher spiritual paths. Practices associated with her are Chöd and the Six Yogas of Naropa.
Vajrayogin? is often described with the epithet sarvabuddhaki, meaning "the ki who is the Essence of all Buddhas".
According to scholar Miranda Shaw, Vajrayogin? is "inarguably the supreme deity of the Tantric pantheon. No male Buddha, including her divine consort, Heruka-Cakrasa?vara, approaches her in metaphysical or practical import."