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Vajrayāna (Skt., ‘thunderbolt-’ or ‘diamond-vehicle’). The Tantric aspect of Mahāyāna Buddhism, which sees itself as a succession built upon the preliminary stages of Hīnayāna and of Sūtrayāna (the sūtra aspect of Mahāyāna Buddhism). Followers of Vajrayāna see the Sūtrayāna as a long path, developing only compassion and wisdom; the Vajrayāna, however, is seen as a swift path (Tib., myur.lam) offering enlightenment in the present lifetime by the development of method. The term Vajrayāna is often (mistakenly) used synonymously with Tibetan Buddhism; in fact, Tibetan Buddhism teaches all three vehicles according to personal advancement, and stresses that while Sūtrayāna may be taught separately from Vajrayāna, Vajrayāna may not be taught separately from Sūtrayāna, but rather as an extension of it.
Vajrayana Buddhism: see Tibetan Buddhism.