Vajrayana

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Vajrayāna Buddhism (Devanagari: वज्रयान; Mongolian: Очирт хөлгөн, Ochirt Hölgön) is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle. Vajrayana is a complex and multifaceted system of Buddhist thought and practice which evolved over several centuries and encompasses much inconsistency and a variety of opinions.[1] Its main scriptures are called Tantras.[1] A distinctive feature of Vajrayana Buddhism is ritual, which is used as a substitute or alternative for the earlier abstract meditations.[2][3]

The period of Indian Vajrayana Buddhism has been classified as the fifth[4] or final[1] period of Indian Buddhism. Although the first tantric Buddhist texts appeared in India in the 3rd century and continued to appear until the 12th century,[5] scholars such as Hirakawa Akira believe that the Vajrayana probably came into existence in the 6th or 7th century,[4] while the term Vajrayana first came into evidence in the 8th century.[1]

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