Buddha gave instructions for three different types of people. Those who wanted to avoid suffering received the instructions about cause and effect called the Small Way (skt. Hinayana). Those who wanted to do more for others were given the teachings on wisdom and compassion called the Great Way (skt. Mahayana). Where people had strong confidence in their own and others' Buddha nature, Buddha taught the Diamond Way (skt. Vajrayana). Here, he manifested as forms of energy and light or directly transmitted his enlightened view as a flow of awareness. On this highest level, the aim is the complete development of mind, the spontaneous effortlessness of the Great Seal (skt. Mahamudra).
The Diamond Way offers the modern world "effective methods that lead to a direct experience of mind," as explained by Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche, one of the most experienced teachers of Tibetan Buddhism. One learns to experience the world from a rich and self-liberating viewpoint. Diamond Way meditations develop a deep inner richness and lead to a non-artificial and unwavering mind where every enlightened activity can unfold.
The Karma Kagyu lineage is one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. As a lineage of direct oral transmission, it especially treasures meditation and, through interaction with a qualified teacher, can bring about the full and direct experience of the nature of mind. The Karma Kagyu methods were taught by the historical Buddha Shakyamuni to his closest students. These methods were later passed on by the Indian Mahasiddhas, Padmasambhava, Tilopa, Naropa, Maitripa, and the famous Tibetan yogis Marpa and Milarepa. In the 12th century, the monk Gampopa gave the teachings to the first Gyalwa Karmapa whose successive conscious rebirths have kept the teachings alive and powerful to the present day. Today, great Tibetan teachers (tib. lamas) such as H.H. the 17th Karmapa Trinlay Thaye Dorje and H.H. Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche transmit this unbroken tradition when visiting the many Karma Kagyu Diamond Way Buddhist centres around the world.
The Karma Kagyu school offers practical teachings applicable to everyday life. A wealth of methods are available for lay people and yogis to develop mind's inherent richness and clarity, both through meditation and in one's daily activities. The roof of the self-liberating Great Seal (skt. Mahamudra) is supported by three pillars: verifiable non-dogmatic teachings, meditation, and the means to solidify the levels of awareness that are attained.