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a b c d Tai Tu, Nguyen (2008). The History of Buddhism in Vietnam. Institute of Philosophy, pp. 98-99. Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy. Davidson, Ronald M.,(2002). Indian Esoteric Buddhism: A Social History of the Tantric Movement, Columbia University Press, p. 228, 234. Palmo, Tenzin (2002). Reflections on a Mountain Lake:Teachings on Practical Buddhism . Snow Lion Publications. pp.224–5. ISBN 978-1-55939-175-7.

Vajrayāna Buddhism was initially established in Tibet in the 8th century when various figures like Padmasambhāva (8th century CE) and Śāntarakṣita (725–788) were invited by King Trisong Detsen, some time before 767. Tibetan Buddhism reflects the later stages tantric Indian Buddhism of the post-Gupta Early Medieval period (500 to 1200 CE). [120] [121] Vajrayāna ( Sanskrit: वज्रयान, " diamond vehicle"), also known as Mantrayāna, Guhyamantrayāna, Tantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Tantric Buddhism, and Esoteric Buddhism, is a Buddhist tradition of tantric practice that developed in the medieval Indian subcontinent and spread to Tibet, Nepal, other Himalayan states, East Asia, and Mongolia. Each Tantra gave a specific and complete spiritual practice, so you could see the word Tantra as a specific practice that your guru would teach from, within a path of many practices. Each teacher had just one practice and hence each student had just one practice, ie: one Tantra to work with across their life. The Guhyasamāja is a Mahayoga class of Tantra, which features forms of ritual practice considered "left-hand" ( vamachara) such as the use of taboo substances like alcohol, consort practices, and charnel ground practices which evoke wrathful deities. [18] Ryujun Tajima divides the tantras into those which were "a development of Mahāyānist thought" and those "formed in a rather popular mould toward the end of the eighth century and declining into the esoterism of the left", [19] this "left esoterism" mainly refers to the Yogini tantras and later works associated with wandering yogis. This practice survives in Tibetan Buddhism, but it is rare for this to be done with an actual person. It is more common for a yogi or yogini to use an imagined consort (a buddhist tantric deity, i.e. a yidam). [20] Mullin, Glenn H.; Tsong-Kha-Pa, (2005) The Six Yogas Of Naropa, Tsongkhapa's Commentary Entitled A Book Of Three Inspirations A Treatise On The Stages Of Training In The Profound Path Of Naro's Six Dharmas, p. 70. Snow Lion Publications. ISBN 1-55939-234-7Tai Tu, Nguyen (2008). The History of Buddhism in Vietnam. Institute of Philosophy, pp. 54-156. Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy. The goal of spiritual practice within the Mahayana and Vajrayāna traditions is to become a Sammāsambuddha (fully awakened Buddha); those on this path are termed Bodhisattvas. As with the Mahayana, motivation is a vital component of Vajrayāna practice. The Bodhisattva-path is an integral part of the Vajrayāna, which teaches that all practices are to be undertaken with the motivation to achieve Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. A central feature of tantric practice is the use of mantras, and seed syllables ( bijas). Mantras are words, phrases or a collection of syllables used for a variety of meditative, magical and ritual ends. Mantras are usually associated with specific deities or Buddhas, and are seen as their manifestations in sonic form. They are traditionally believed to have spiritual power, which can lead to enlightenment as well as supramundane abilities ( siddhis). [66] History [ edit ] Mahasiddhas, Palpung monastery. Note the figure of the great adept Putalipa at center, seated in a cave and gazing at an image of the meditational deity Samvara and the figure at the bottom left holding a skull-staff ( khaṭvāṅga) and a flaying knife ( kartika). Mahasiddhas and the tantric movement [ edit ] Vajrayāna rituals also include sexual yoga, union with a physical consort as part of advanced practices. Some tantras go further, the Hevajra tantra states "You should kill living beings, speak lying words, take what is not given, consort with the women of others". [56] While some of these statements were taken literally as part of ritual practice, others such as killing were interpreted in a metaphorical sense. In the Hevajra, "killing" is defined as developing concentration by killing the life-breath of discursive thoughts. [57] Likewise, while actual sexual union with a physical consort is practiced, it is also common to use a visualized mental consort. [ citation needed]

Gray, David (2007), The Cakrasamvara Tantra (The Discourse of Sri Heruka): Śrīherukābhidhāna: A Study and Annotated Translation (Treasury of the Buddhist Sciences), p. 126. The use of these substances is related to the non-dual ( advaya) nature of a Buddha's wisdom ( buddhajñana). Since the ultimate state is in some sense non-dual, a practitioner can approach that state by "transcending attachment to dual categories such as pure and impure, permitted and forbidden". As the Guhyasamaja Tantra states "the wise man who does not discriminate achieves Buddhahood". [56] Snellgrove, David. (1987) Indo-Tibetan Buddhism: Indian Buddhists and their Tibetan successors. pp 147. In Chinese Mantrayana ( Zhenyan), and Japanese Shingon, the most influential esoteric texts are the Mahavairocana Tantra and the Vajraśekhara Sūtra. [92] [93]According to Louis de La Vallée-Poussin and Alex Wayman, the philosophical view of the Vajrayana is based on Mahayana Buddhist philosophy, mainly the Madhyamaka and Yogacara schools. [39] [40] The major difference seen by Vajrayana thinkers is the superiority of Tantric methods, which provide a faster vehicle to liberation and contain many more skillful means ( upaya). Schumann, Hans Wolfgang (1974), Buddhism: an outline of its teachings and schools, Theosophical Pub. House Isaacson, Harunaga (1998). Tantric Buddhism in India (from c. 800 to c. 1200). In: Buddhismus in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Band II. Hamburg. pp.23–49. (Internal publication of Hamburg University.) pg 3 PDF Vajrayāna uses a rich variety of symbols, terms, and images that have multiple meanings according to a complex system of analogical thinking. In Vajrayāna, symbols, and terms are multi-valent, reflecting the microcosm and the macrocosm as in the phrase "As without, so within" ( yatha bahyam tatha ’dhyatmam iti) from Abhayakaragupta's Nispannayogavali. [84] The vajra [ edit ] Bronze vajras and bell from Itsukushima, Japan The term Tantric Buddhism was not one originally used by those who practiced it. As scholar Isabelle Onians explains:

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