Vajrayana. How do I begin my path?

Hi dear forum members,

First of all, please feel free to refer me to any threads that can contain some answers to my question. I believe that I am not the first one asking it.

I came to Buddhism about 6 years ago (as I parted with what is called Himalayan Yoga Tradition, founded by Swami Rama) and have been mostly interested in Zen. I know finally have time now to deepen my practice and am looking for clear as possible directions.

But I am no longer enchanted by Zen Buddhism. I am growing more and more fond of Vajrayana because it incorporates Dream Yoga, the practice I am currently learning about. I have been always into lucid dreaming and Dream Yoga seems like the next logical step to it.

And…the question is: where the heck should I start?

I live on the Big Island, Hawai’i. I do not have access to a local community of practitioners, although I have a few acquittances who are practicing Vajrayana, I will inquire about their situation.

All the responses, comments, encouragements are welcome!
Thank you very much,


Hey Elena…

I would suggest some reading to start with. My favorite author on tantra or Vajrayana is Je Tsongkhapa. His manual on the Six Yogas of Naropa, with excellent running commentary by Glenn Mullin, is my go-to daily reading. Here is a PDF of that manuscript.

I see that Tsonglhapa has another more introductory book as well.

Glenn Mullin has a number of excellent videos that can be accessed on-line as well.

Welcome to the sphere of the Illusory Body. :slightly_smiling_face:


Thank you so much for sharing this, Steve!

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thank you so so much!
Looking up all the resources you shared.

Good luck on your path!
May your lucidity expand and wrap you in gently and lead the way for you.


Thank you for that beautiful benediction @ElenaDakinea .

I might add that it could be helpful to look at the Mahayana perspective as well, as that slower, more multiple lifetime path originating in India seems to have been foundational to the Tibetan Tantra/Vajrayana path.

Try sinking into The Mahamudra Transmissions from Tilopa to Naropa for a while. This document still pretty much lives on my desk.

For a wonderfully fresh and deep dive into the world of Tibetan Tantric practices you might also look into Ian Baker . His book, Tibetan Yoga Principles and Practices is one that I am pretty much wearing out through constant re-reading.


Loves me some fresh Ian Baker, such an adventurer in all ways


I thought this was an interesting discussion that might be relevant to the initial question (link below the graphic)

Interesting article, Barry. It seems to me though, that he mis-apprehends each of the threads of Buddhism he elaborates and so arrives at his conclusions of contradiction erroneously. At the root, he cannot accept the simultaneity of Absolute Reality with Conventional Reality as two sides of the same coin. Extending from this, grows further misapprehension pretty much of each stream of Buddhist philosophy as he elaborates them. This is my beginner’s impression.

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Not all the Buddhist schools of thoughts are the same, so I’m not sure if, and by how much he misapprehends them—given his anthropological perspective, which is bound to be a limited measure in any case. I think he is trying to look at the different perspectives in a succinct way, for a magazine, though I agree it doesn’t do justice to a more in-depth exploration such as found in, for example, Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, where there are obvious differences in the stages, though in reality, according to the author, they include but transcend the differences. Indeed, I think Andrew’s interview with Evan Thompson, and the podcast discussion below it, point to legitimate questions and issues that can be addressed from a number of perspectives—scientific, anthropological, metaphysical, cultural to name a few.

I like Andrew’s dictum about contemplation to read and think about Dharma—then meditate, because that’s how we engage it and make it our own. So what are some of the errors in his article that you found?

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I have to say, on an initial reading, that it feels as if he is missing the mark on a few things…relative to my recent reading. For instance, when he speaks of the middle way, referencing Nagarjuna among others he says this:

For such mystical idealists, much as for the phenomenalists, the world of material things is described as ‘illusory’, as having no real existence, and empirical knowledge, which involves conceptual understanding built up from everyday sense experience, is continually denigrated, interpreted as implying a dualistic metaphysic of reality and illusion.

…and this,

This view suggests that what appears to us in everyday life, such as mountains, trees, and elephants, are purely ‘illusions’, devoid of reality, They are empty, void, unsubstantial: only the absolute mind is real.

Hardly a middle way!

It is my understanding that Nagarjuna was clear about the absolute conventional existence of physical things relative to dependent arising. But at the same time, those physical things are completely empty of a true, independent self-existence.

Relative to the extremes of non-existence on one end and materialism on the other…that is the true middle way.

I’ll have to read it again but on first blush I came away with the feeling that the author may not really grasp the nuances of dependent arising and emptiness as espoused by the very people that he referenced.


I agree, but good to read the argument.

With what are you in agreement, my friend? :slightly_smiling_face:

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This in particular . . . .



As I suspected. :sunglasses:

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I think there is a Rigpa student, practising vajrayana Buddhism in Hawaii. Maybe byou could try googleing it. Good luck. Of course there’s lots of great things online. Dzogzar Khyentse Rinpoche-an amazing traditional but very hip tibetan Lama, check out Facebook page. Also Mingyur Rinpoche Tergar offers a really clear path and their online courses and brill. Good luck. Also Dzigar Kontrul Rinpoche lives in America and is aVajrayana, teacher.