Vajrayana is not Tibetan Buddhism (and vice versa)
This matters for what Buddhism can be in the 21st century. In the 1970s, Tibetan pioneers like Tarthang Tulku, Lama Yeshé, and Chögyam Trungpa developed modern presentations of Vajrayana. Around 1990, the Tibetan power structure put a stop to that.
There’s an old idea that Vajrayana is a mixture of Indian Bodhisattvayana with a Tibetan shamanic religion called Bön. According to this story, Bön is primitive devil worship, which was given a fake respectability by smearing a little Buddhism on it, and that’s Vajrayana. This slander is still repeated by people who don’t want to admit Vajrayana is Buddhist. It was debunked by Western historians decades ago, and has zero credibility. There was some influence of Bön on Tibetan Buddhism, but it was relatively slight. The major tantric doctrines and ritual forms all come from India.
Vajrayana in twenty other countries
perhaps even Madagascar
The Vajrayana of all these countries was non-Tibetan.
From Tibet, Vajrayana spread to neighboring countries: south to Bhutan and Sikkim, west to Kalmykia (the only Buddhist nation in Europe), and north to Mongolia, Tuva and Buryatia. These countries could all be said to still practice “Tibetan Buddhism.” However, that may make no more sense than describing the religion of Black South African Presbyterians as “British Christianity.”
Vajrayana is the prestige teaching within Tibetan Buddhism. And, Tibet did preserve a wider array of tantric teachings than any other culture. However, although it is the fanciest yana, it is not the main one in terms of numbers. Vajrayana was mainly reserved for the social elite.
The vast majority of Tibetans, including nearly all monks, practiced the “worldly yanas,” whose aim is better material conditions in this life or future lives. (See Civilized Shamans: Buddhism in Tibetan Societies.)
A small fraction of monks practiced Sutrayana. Most sects required many years of Sutrayana practice before beginning Vajrayana; and even then permitted entry only to a few people (usually from high-caste families).
In recent centuries, Tibetans have blurred the distinction between Sutrayana and Vajrayana. They have sutrified tantra—trying to make it compatible with monastic renunciation—because laypeople will pay to support monks but not non-monastic tantrikas. Also, monks are easier to control than independent tantrikas, who are a potential political threat.
“Vajrayana is not suitable”
Vajrayana is not really suitable for most people in both the West and in Asia, including Tibet… Since sex is taught as the main core of tantric practice in the West and this does not benefit anyone, what is generally practiced as Tantra in the West is based on a big misunderstanding.
I assume good intentions, but this is dramatically duplicitous. Sex is not taught as the main tantric practice in the West. Tantric sexual practice does benefit some people; his own tradition claims it is absolutely necessary for final enlightenment.
He advocates and teaches “Bodhisattvayana with a high level of meditation” instead. However, the letter says that renunciation is “suitable for very few people” in modern times. Renunciation is the engine of Bodhisattvayana, so what the letter recommends is not Bodhisattvayana as traditionally taught.