Tantra, also known as Vajrayana, is a distinctive aspect of the Mahayana path in Tibetan Buddhism that offers a swift path to awakening. Through skillful means such as creation and completion stage meditation, visualization, mantra repetition, and direct perception of reality, tantric practitioners seek to be freed from confusion and recognize the union of wisdom and compassion in all aspects of life.
According to tantra, perfection is not something that is waiting for us somewhere in the future: “If I practice hard now maybe I will become a perfect buddha” or “If I behave well in this life and act like a religious person, maybe some day I will go to heaven.” According to tantra, heaven is now! We should be gods and goddesses right now. But at present we are burdened with limiting concepts…
Speaking generally we can say that all the many practices of tantra involve the principle of transformation. As modern science has demonstrated, the physical universe with its infinite variety of phenomena – from the smallest subatomic particle to the largest galaxy – is in an unceasing state of transformation and evolution from one form of energy to another. Our own body and mind are also energy, and whether we are healthy or ill, mentally balanced or beserk, depends on whether our mental and physical energies are harmonious or not. Through the proper practice of tantra all of our energies, including the subtle yet very powerful energies we are not ordinarily aware of, are harnessed to accomplish the greatest of all transformations. This is our evolution from an ordinary, limited, and deluded person trapped within the shell of a petty ego into a fully evolved, totally conscious being of unlimited compassion and insight.
-Lama Yeshe, in Introduction to Tantra: The Transformation of Desire