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Also called Tantrayana (path of Tantra) or Vajrayana (path of Diamond) or Mantrayana (path of Mantra). It includes methods such as mantras and visualizations to work on ones subtle energies directly. Tantrayana is considered an abrupt path to the Enlightenment. It is an alternative to the safer, but longer Sutrayana path.
Tantra employs skillful methods of using desire objects that usually bring reactions of confusion and dissatisfaction in the path to enlightenment. Without proper guidance the delusions (such as desire, anger or pride) are not self-consumed as they should be, but are strengthened instead. For this reason proper guidance is essential on the Tantra path.
Tantra can be divided in four classes:
1. Kriya Tantra (cha gyu): Emphasizes external ritual practices such as ablution, diet, and fasting. We see ourselves as being deluded, while the deity is worshipped as having all the power to impart to us.
2. Charya Tantra (cho gyu): There is a more balanced emphasis on both meditative states and ritual observances. The deity is seen as closer to us, and is understood to be no different from ones own Buddha-nature, or the nature of mind.
3. Anuyoga Tantra (jesu nel jor gyu): The practitionner relies less and less on relative truth and aims more toward absolute truth. Here are explanations how defilements and delusions can be transformed into wisdom, and therefore the delusions are an important material we have to deal with - instead of abandonning - as it can give rise to insight and wisdom if dealt in a proper way.
4. Maha-anuttarayoga (la me chen poi gyu): It is the most difficult one to practice. From here, one must take the Tantric vows, and undertake some daily commitments (Samaya). The practitionner deal direclty with his or her conflicting emotions and delusions.