steveb1 has opened a thread about the nature of deity yoga
and what exactly it means to meditate on a deity which is related to a historical person - like for instance Buddha Shakyamuni or the Bodhisattvas like Chenrezig or Manjusri. I'm not sure if Guru Yoga strictly speaking falls under the category of Deity Yoga, but certainly the same question arises there.
In this context I vaguely remember that I once heard or read a story about one of the Karmapas. Since I don't remember it clearly, nor do I remember the source or if the source was even remotely reliable, I've opened this thread as a question to all of you.
One of the Karmapas (maybe the 16th?) was asked for explanation by his students who were confused because they found it strange to hear that the Karmapa himself was reciting Karmapa Chenno
mantras. He explained that there was nothing absurd or contradictory in this because practicing Guru Yoga does not mean to relate to the historical person of the Guru, but rather to relate to his enlightened wisdom mind and therefore there is nothing strange about the 16th Karmapa meditating on the 15th Karmapa and so on.
Can somebody confirm this story and explain the philosophical background - or correct me if I am wrong?
[edit: grammar mistake corrected]