Tibetan Buddhism

Definition - What does Tibetan Buddhism mean?

Tibetan Buddhism is a form of the eastern religion of Buddhism as developed and practiced in the Himalayan region of Tibet. It is perhaps best known to the Western world as the faith of the Dali Lama and is, in fact, sometimes referred to as Lamaism. Tibetan Buddhism began spreading to the rest of the world when its spiritual teachers fled the region after the Chinese communist takeover in the mid-20th century.

Like yoga, the goal of Buddhism is the attainment of enlightenment. What sets Tibetan Buddhism apart from other traditions that follow the teachings of the Buddha is its approach to the path to enlightenment, which is freedom from the cycle of life, death and rebirth, or what is known as samsara.

Yogapedia explains Tibetan Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism offers a quicker way to enlightenment, allowing the devotee more and varied practices and rituals, and many schools of thought. Chinese Buddhism, on the other hand, is much stricter and more complex, requiring a change in lifestyle. In Tibetan Buddhism, the follower need not change his/her lifestyle, but rather his/her perspective.

Buddhism has three main levels of philosophy:

  • Hinayana (individual enlightenment)
  • Mahayana (enlightenment for the benefit of all)
  • Vajrayana (expedited path to enlightenment)

Tibetan Buddhism contains elements of all three, but is primarily focused on vajrayana practices.

Rather than attempt to eliminate ego-centered evils such as ignorance and desire, as in some Buddhist practices, vajrayana emphasizes transforming them into wisdom. Tibetan Buddhism also employs the vajrayana practice of advanced yoga techniques and a form of meditation in which one sees him/herself as the Buddha – in other words, as having already achieved enlightenment.

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