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Sacred Narratives

There is no single sacred narrative in Vajrayana Buddhism. Accounts of the lives and activities of the buddhas, boddhisattvas, female deities, and significant monks serve as a means of spreading and explaining Vajrayana doctrine and practice.

Ultimate Reality and Divine Beings

The Vajrayana pantheon is made up of a vast group of buddhas, bodhisattvas, and dakinis (female buddhas). One of the distinguishing features of the Vajrayana is an emphasis on fierce deities whose devotees see through the appearance of ferocity and venerate them as great protectors.

Human Nature and the Purpose of Existence

The Vajrayana conceives of itself as the most efficient means to cut through the ignorance and grasping, inherent in human existence, that keeps humans stuck in samsara. The ultimate goal is the attainment of enlightenment, buddhahood.

Suffering and the Problem of Evil

As with other schools of Buddhism, the Vajrayana holds that suffering is caused by grasping on to things and experiences that are, by their very nature, impermanent. There is no such thing as evil: it is just an illusory appearance.

Afterlife and Salvation

As with other schools of Buddhism, the Vajrayana maintains the truth of samsara, the cycle of births and rebirths. Ultimate salvation is often understood to be nirvana, but is more typically conceived of as the perfection of the bodhisattva path and the attainment of buddhahood.