According to Tanta (Vajrayana Buddhism, also known as the Diamond Vehicle), you already have everything you need to experience the full and complete enlightenment of Buddhahood. For this enlightenment to become a living experience, and not remain just untapped potential, you must overcome some powerful habits, the chief of which is the tendency to identify yourself, consciously or not, as a "limited" being. That is, you're used to seeing yourself as a separate, fragmented self or ego, flawed by the delusions of hatred, greed, and ignorance, and therefore severely limited in your ability to act, speak, and think in a way that brings happiness to yourself or others. The practice of tantra enables you to dissolve your false, limiting ego-identity and replace it with something far better. By means of this practice you train to see yourself as an enlightened being, free from all limitations, with a radiantly pure and blissful body, speech, and mind through which you can bring infinite benefit to others.
- Jonathan Landaw, Editor of Introduction to Tantra: The Transformation of Desire, by Lama Yeshe, and author of Buddhism for Dummies.
Introduction to Tantra: The Transformation of Desire , by Lama Thubten Yeshe
The teachings and practices known as Buddhist tantra can be traced back 2,500 years to the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha. Those teachings – known in Sanskrit as Dharma : that which holds us back from suffering and its causes – contain thousands of different methods for overcoming the mental and physical obstacles to our happiness and well-being, and all fit within the two categories of sutra and tantra.
According to sutrayana, the path to fulfillment is a gradual process of cleansing our mind of all its obscurations and limitations and developing in their place such beneficial qualities as love and wisdom. This path consists of crating specific causes – behaving ethically, developing our powers of concentration, training in meditative insight, and so forth – for the future attainment of full awakening.
Compared to this gradual sutra approach, tantrayana is a far speedier path to enlightenment. Although tantric practitioners create the same causes as the followers of sutra, they take the future result of full spiritual evolution as the very starting point in their path, bringing the future result of full awakening into the present moment.
According to tantra, perfection is not something that is waiting for us somewhere in the future – heaven is now! We are burdened with limiting concepts: “Men are like this; women are like this; I am a certain way and there is nothing I can do about it” and so forth. This is why we have conflict within ourselves and with one another. This conflict dissolves in the tantric point of view as we recognize that each man is a complete man and each woman is a complete woman. Every man and woman contains both male and female energy. In fact, each one of us is a union of all universal energy. Everything that we need in order to be complete is within us right at this very moment. It is simply a matter of being able to recognize it. This is the tantric approach.
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 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 not, 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 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.