Vajrayana - The Thunderbolt vehicle

Vajrayana or Tibetan Buddhism or Tantric Buddhism - This is the kind of Buddhism predominant in the Himalayan nations of Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and also Mongolia. It is known as Vajrayana because of the ritual use of the vajra, a symbol of imperishable diamond, of thunder and lightning.

 I visited Nyingma-pa monastry in Bylakuppe and their golden viharam  to know more about tibetan buddhism and stayed there for a night and a day.  You may be surprised to see deities in wrathful form and male & female deities in union on the wall paintings of main viharam. To understand their significance, one needs to study buddhism in its entirety.

Tantric buddhism is a profoundly complex subject. It might be described as an alternative route to enlightenment, requiring intense concentration. The way of Mahayana, the way of the Bodhisattva, is considered the slower way, requiring many lifetimes to achieve, whereas Vajrayana, the tantric way, is a faster, although more risky route. This is Buddhism in its least recognizable appearance, the form most difficult to adapt or reconcile with what are traditionally regarded as the original teachings of the Buddha Shakyamuni. Yet, although Vajrayana is almost synonymous with Tibetan Buddhism, its roots are in India.
The state of union with the divine is symbolically represented in Buddhist tantric art by a depiction of sexual embrace between the divinity and his consort in the attitude known as "Yab-Yum".

Yab-Yum (Tibetan literally, "father-mother") is a common symbol in the tantric buddhist art representing the male deity in sexual union with his female consort. Often the male deity is sitting in lotus position while his consort is sitting in his lap.

In Buddhism the masculine form is active, representing the compassion and skillful means that have to be developed in order to reach enlightenment. The feminine form is passive and represents wisdom, which is also necessary to enlightenment. United, the figures symbolize the union necessary to overcome the veils of Maya, the false duality of object and subject.

The buddhas in union with their consorts represent the need for the union of the compassion and wisdom aspects of the path. Without the union of these two it is impossible to attain enlightenment.

Wall paintings in golden viharam Nyingma-pa monastery in Bylakuppe showing divine unity of masculine and feminine -

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