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Vajra

(skt.: vajra; tib.: dorje) Literally means diamond or thunderbolt. A tantric implement symbolizing method (compassion or bliss), held in the right hand (the male side), usually in conjunction with a bell, which symbolizes wisdom and is held in the left hand (the female side).

Vajrayana

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.

Vipashyana

(skt.: vipashyana; tib: lag thong) The principal meditation taught in the Theravada tradition. It is sometimes called mindfulness meditation. In the Mahayana, vipashyana can have a different meaning: investigation of and familiarization with the actual way in which things exist and is used to develop the wisdom of emptiness. If a state of mind is one of vipashyana, it is combined with shamatha. Therefore, although we may work on vipashyana before attaining shamatha, we cannot actually attain vipashyana without having first attained shamatha.

Vows
(skt.: uddana; tib.: dom pa) An obligation which one takes to do or not do something. There are three types of vows (tib.: dom pa sum):
- Pratimoksha vows - Hinayana and Mahayana practitioners can take these vows 
- Bodhisattva vows - only Mahayana practitioners can take these vows
- Tantric vows - only Mahayana practitioners can take these vows

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Words of Wisdom

"Like me, the countless living beings have been wandering in cyclic existence. Many times they have been a parent to me and shone radiant kindness upon me. How unworthy not to respond to their sorrow. For the sake of all living beings we must strive in the practices bringing Enlightenment."
- 1st Dalai Lama

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