Vajrayana in BuddhismWHEN TROOPS FROM THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC

of China entered Tibet in 1956, they caused a massive exodus of Tibetan Buddhist religious prac­titioners, who traveled across the Himalayas to India and little by little further west. Refugees of the Tibetan dias­pora, Tibetan lamas (gurus) and scholars of Buddhist philosophy reached the United States in less than ten years and, with their emphasis on meditation in action and the transmutation of daily life into

Read more...

The tantric approach to Buddhist practice is called Vaj­rayana, the indestructible vehicle. Actually the vajra is a kind of brass scepter held by lamas and advanced tantric


practitioners during ceremonies. Mythologically, the vajra was the weapon held by Indra, the king of the gods. It was forged from the bones of a rishi, one of the legend­ary Aryan supermeditators

Read more...

Vajrayana is sometimes called Esoteric Buddhism be­cause the principal teachings are supposed to be secret—
given only to the most sophisticated and devoted disciples. Traditionally, these disciples will have already studied Hinayana (Theravada) and Mahayana Buddhism for many years before they receive real Vajrayana teach­ings, which are presented as long-withheld secrets, finally revealed during elaborate occasions of ceremonial in­struction.

Read more...

Another important characteristic of Tantra is the use of complex symbolism in meditation practice. Vajrayana ritual texts use symbolic diagrams called mandalas to represent the phenomenal world from the point of view of fruition—that is, as seen by a Buddha. In such a world, all sounds are regarded as the sacred formulas known as mantra:

Read more...

In theory, through tantric practice one should be able to abandon ego without abandoning the world. In practice, however, there are times when a tremendous amount of meditation is appropriate and necessary. The tradition of long, ascetic retreats has successfully been transplanted

Read more...

Ceremonies of empowerment or initiation are an essen­tial component of Esoteric Buddhism. Since the teachings are secret, students must receive, in person from enlight­ened masters, permission to practice them. In some cases this is not enough, and students must also receive special blessings and dispensations of spiritual energy before

Read more...

Group meditation practice has never, to my knowledge, been done by Tibetans. In Tibet, such “formless” prac­tices as breath meditation or the silent contemplation of arising thought were considered beyond the capabilities of all but the most advanced students, who practiced them mainly in private. However, when Vajrayana Bud­dhism came West, Tibetan gurus noticed that Japanese, Chinese, and South Asian Buddhists were doing formless

Read more...

There has been a change in the study habits of American Tantric Buddhists over the last ten years. When Tibetan Buddhism was first taught in the West, there were very few translations and only one or two Tibetan teachers who could give talks in English. There were not many interpreters. The few who existed were almost as new to Buddhism as were the people in the audiences. These conditions placed severe limitations on what

Read more...

Tantric teachings are being taught on this continent in a tremendous variety of ways. Some Tibetan Buddhist churches have organized them into extensive curricula based on a particular view of Buddhism. Training at cen­ters affiliated with Shambhala International, for example, revolves

Read more...


 

Dathun is Tibetan for “month-long prac - tice.” More specifically, it’s a twenty-eight day re­treat designed by the late Chogyam Trungpa-Rinpoche to introduce Western students to the practice of medita­tion. The primary focus is the eight to ten hours

Read more...



 

PROSTRATION PRACTICE IS AN IMPORTANT FEA-

ture of ngondro (foundation) practice in the Vajra­yana system. The ngondro in its simplest form has five

Read more...



Valentine’s Day. A giant snowstorm dumped two feet on our little temple. I had been living next door in a small retreat cabin and when I got up that day I was worried that people couldn’t get through—especially since the plow had gotten stuck four times just trying to clear the parking lot. I called Tulku, our Tibetan lama. He didn’t seem at all concerned.

When

Read more...

Google Ads

Zen Buddhist Temple

Located in a renovated Pentecostal church building, Zen Buddhist Temple offers services and meditation courses to the general public, and provides a com­munity…

The Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago

The Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago is the oldest continuously practicing Zen temple in the United States. Its training emphasizes the interplay between…

Theravada Buddhism in North America

Since the 1960s, the Theravada tradition has slowly but surely found a home in North America. The two major turning points for its establishment here were the…

Arizona

Arizona Buddhist Temple We offer many activities for families and individuals. These include regular Sun­day services with dharma school for the children. We…

Vajrayana

The tantric approach to Buddhist practice is called Vaj­rayana, the indestructible vehicle. Actually the vajra is a kind of brass scepter held by lamas and…

Nevada

Dharma Zephyr Sangha Dharma Zephyr Sangha is named after the local afternoon wind, the Washoe Zephyr, which Mark Twain reported car­ried “things living and…