catlady2112 wrote:I just read this quote by a mahamudra teacher and had a question:
"One should stabilize the confidence that one's own body is the deity. Remember, you am not 'creating this.' you are recognizing who you actually are."
I am new at this and am having difficulty visualizing my own body as a deity. Can anyone give me some basic techniques on how they did this? Specific images/examples/questions they reflected -- would be really helpful. There is no wrong answer -- just want suggestions on how other people approached this in their own practice.
Essentially there are several aspects to involved:
1) Developing the confidence, pride and dignity that you in fact are the deity. Always begin and end giving rise to this confidence, and do your best to maintain it throughout the entire sadhana.
2) Developing the visualization itself is like memorizing anything: repetition until you don't need to refer to the support. The traditional way is to place in front of you a thangka, statue or photo of the specific deity in question. It is important to make sure that this is the proper representation according to the lineage and practice that you are doing, as often there are variations in the implements they hold, colour, posture, etc. even for the same deity. Then study this image closely for a while, then close your eyes and visualize the specific details, concentrating on one area at a time, for example starting at the lotus seat, then after a few minutes look at the image again checking to make sure you got it right and focusing on any details you missed. Then close your eyes again and repeat visualizing. After doing this as many times as it takes to clearly remember and see the seat, then move up and concentrate on the legs. When you are comfortable visualizing them then add the seat and repeat until you can see both the seat and legs clearly in your mind's eye. Continue like this adding one aspect after another, including each hand implement, the jewellry, crown, eyes, top knot etc. etc. At the beginning you might only manage to work with one aspect during a session, which is fine. The main thing is to maintain the confidence that you are in fact the deity, and there is no rush to develop the complete visualization. If you approach it in a step-by-step manner with stress-free diligence, practicing everyday (ideally several times a day) even someone who has pour visual memory will quite quickly develop the ability. Eventually, one will be able to clearly visualize the deity with only the occasional glance at the image as support, and then one day just the thought of the deity or hearing or reading their name will bring up a perfect recollection of them in all their glory.
3) At the end of each visualization session always dissolve the visualization and rest briefly in shamatha or if you have received direction introduction to the nature of mind then rest in the thoughtfree natural state of rigpa. Then before dedicating merit and going about your daily business, remind yourself once again that you are in fact the deity and carry that confidence with you between sessions.
Like i said, with a little practice and patience you will soon have no problem recollecting the entire deity and mandala instantaneously. So don't doubt yourself and take it one step at a time and you'll be fine.