Vajrayana Program

The Vajrayana Program


Green Tara ThankaThe Vajrayana (the “Diamond Vehicle”) represents a branch of Mahayana Buddhism that was brought to Tibet in the seventh and eighth centuries by the Indian mahasiddha Padmasambhava. This form of Buddhist practice became the main spiritual tradition of Tibet. The practices and doctrines set forth in the Vajrayana work expediently to purify practitioners of obscurations, karmic conditionings, and blockages that impede our
capacity to both recognize and live from the most awake and free dimension of our being – the wise and compassionate nature of our heart/mind.

The Vajrayana includes sets of yogic technologies aimed at opening, awakening, and melting our frozen emotional and conceptual energies to free us from the habitual thoughts and emotional patterns of reactivity that usually structure our relationship to ourselves, others, and the world around us. Through Vajrayana practice and study, we learn to embrace ordinary thoughts and emotions as the unlikely catalysts for recognizing that our nature, and the nature of others, is love and wisdom inseparable.

In the practices of Vajrayana, we especially welcome the challenging aspects of life—our difficult thoughts, emotions, and physical reality—as the fodder for awakening. This shift in perspective, from our usual antagonistic relationship to the difficult to a relationship of friendliness, curiosity, and clarity, implies that meditation is not left on the cushion, but rather is an active and dynamic process that involves utilizing body, speech and action as potentially transformative and liberative practices.

Vajrayana practice includes foundation-practices (ngöndro), deity visualization practices, connection with lineage-based teachings, energy body yogas, and deep retreating. The foundation-practices—generally the first step in Vajrayana development— introduce practitioners to the principals of visualization, deity yoga and lineage-connection.

Students who are interested in exploring Vajrayana skillful means as an enhancement of their training in natural awareness and bodhicitta, should contact

Ron Thomas, the NDF Vajrayana Program Coordinator
Gina Michaels, the NDF Vajrayana Practice Coordinator

Please note: NDF’s Vajrayana track is usually only open to students who have completed the NDF’s two-year Margha program. However, interested students who have completed equivalent practices in other Buddhist lineages, or those who already have an established Vajrayana practice outside of NDF are invited to contact us to explore joining NDF’s track.

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