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Vajrayana Buddhism: Beliefs, Meditations, and Practices

August 8, 2023

Basics of Vajrayana Buddhism:

Along with Theravada and Mahayana, Vajrayana Buddhism is one of the three main schools of Buddhism. It is often referred to as Tantric or Esoteric Buddhism. It first appeared in India in the early Middle Ages and afterwards spread gradually to many regions of Asia, including Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and Mongolia. Intricate ceremonies, esoteric symbolism, and a stress on direct experiential realisation are some of the characteristics that distinguish Vajrayana Buddhism from other schools of Buddhism.

Vajrayana Buddhist beliefs:

  1. One of the cornerstones of Vajrayana Buddhism is the idea that enlightenment, also known as Buddhahood, is something that may be attained in a single lifetime. The concept of multiple rebirths, which is prevalent in other branches of Buddhism, conflicts with this.
  2. The idea of Buddha Nature: According to Vajrayana, all sentient beings have the ability to become enlightened because they were born with the Buddha nature. The purpose of Vajrayana practises is to unveil and fully actualize this Buddha nature.
  3. Relationship between the Guru and the Disciple: In Vajrayana Buddhism, the guru’s (spiritual teacher) and disciple’s relationship is of paramount importance. The guru is regarded as the physical representation of the Buddha’s knowledge and compassion, and the student is expected to have entire faith in their direction.

Buddhist Vajrayana meditations:

  1. Deity Yoga: In Vajrayana Buddhism, deity yoga is a crucial form of meditation. When practising, people picture themselves as certain Buddhas or enlightened beings, taking on their traits and characteristics. They hope to change their everyday perspective into the enlightened state of the designated deity through this practice.
  2. Mandala visualization: A focus point for meditation, mandalas are complex geometric designs. Practitioners aim to purify their brains and achieve intense levels of focus by visualizing and meditating on mandalas.
  3. Offering one’s own body to all entities, including demons and evil spirits, is a part of the Chöd practise. Practice leads to a profound understanding of emptiness and the absence of a self when practitioners face their anxieties and attachments.

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