Religious schools and traditions

Vajrayana (Skt. ‘diamond vehicle’) is the name given to Buddhist traditions practised widely in Tibet and Mongolia, but also in some Buddhist schools of China and Japan. Vajrayana Buddhism is presumed to have evolved in the fourth or fifth century as Mahayana Buddhism gradually adopted Tantric practices (Tantra). In the eighth century, Vajrayana Buddhism became the state religion of Tibet. Vajrayana practice enhances the status of rituals that include the recitation of mantras, meditation, and the visualization of deities. Vajrayana Buddhism fosters close relationships between teachers and pupils. The latter go through several stages of initiation in which they familiarize themselves with ritual practices.