Vajrayana Buddhism practices are connected to specific lineages in Buddhism, through the teachings of lineage holders. Others might generally refer to texts as the Buddhist Tantras. It includes practices that make use of mantras, dharanis, mudras, mandalas and the visualization of deities and Buddhas. It is an off-shoot of Mahayana Buddhism. Traditional Vajrayāna sources claim that the tantras and the lineage of Vajrayāna were taught by the Buddha Shakyamuni (Siddhartha Gautama) though from a historical timeline this points to an earlier Buddha than historically documented.
Vajrayana Buddhism is an offshoot of Mahayana Buddhism with a special emphasis on the magical and the miraculous. Vajrayana Buddhists add to the Mahayana scriptures a collection of sacred texts called Tantras. These texts have roots in Hinduism and describe secret methodologies and practices to hasten the path to nirvana. Some of these include special hand positions called mudras that channel mythical power, certain postures of the body (yoga), and sacred phrases or mantras that bear magical power when repeated over and over. Vajrayana, in the history of Buddhism, marks the transition from Mahayana speculative thought to the enactment of Buddhist ideas in individual life. The term vajra (Sanskrit: “thunderbolt,” or “diamond”) is used to signify the absolutely real and indestructible qualities in a human being, as opposed to the fictions an individual entertains about himself and his nature; yana is the spiritual pursuit of the ultimately valuable and indestructible.
One of the most utilized and profound teachings of Vajrayana Buddhism is: This very mind is the root of all bondage, the root of all disaster. When the aorta is cut through, all the senses stop.
For one who has understood and practiced this There is no part of life that is not included within its’ teachings.
There is also an important circular diagram known as the mandala that represents cosmic spaces and spiritual relationships. Deep meditation on the mandala leads to out-of-body experiences. Vajrayana Buddhism is deeply eclectic and has its own expression in every culture, often absorbing existing rituals and religions. It is most commonly practiced in Tibet, Nepal, and Mongolia.
Peace and Love, Jim