Tentative question: "deity yoga"

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Tentative question: "deity yoga"

Postby steveb1 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:29 am

I'm out of my depth here, and more or less guessed which subgroup in Tibetan Buddhism would be best to post this question. Please feel free to refer me elsewhere if this question is inappropriate here.

My confusion concerns visualisation of deities or Buddhas.

Some sources indicate that the visualisation is a sort of temporary externalization of one's own Buddha Nature, which ceases once that Nature has been realized.

But other sources indicate that the content of the visualisation corresponds to an actual external reality, so that even after the aspirant realizes his/her Nature, the visualisation's object remains a real, external "cosmic" or "transendental" Existence.

Thanks in advance for any comments that might enlighten my limited understanding :)
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Re: Tentative question: "deity yoga"

Postby Caz » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:13 am

steveb1 wrote:I'm out of my depth here, and more or less guessed which subgroup in Tibetan Buddhism would be best to post this question. Please feel free to refer me elsewhere if this question is inappropriate here.

My confusion concerns visualisation of deities or Buddhas.

Some sources indicate that the visualisation is a sort of temporary externalization of one's own Buddha Nature, which ceases once that Nature has been realized.

But other sources indicate that the content of the visualisation corresponds to an actual external reality, so that even after the aspirant realizes his/her Nature, the visualisation's object remains a real, external "cosmic" or "transendental" Existence.

Thanks in advance for any comments that might enlighten my limited understanding :)


There is the conventionally existent Buddha which appears in images and is reflective of a conventionally existing Buddha.
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
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Re: Tentative question: "deity yoga"

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:19 pm

External, internal, both internal and external, neither internal nor external. Any theory based on one of these will be falling into extremes and should be avoided (or at least utilised merely as an expedient to overcome a specific situation). If you have received a deity practice then it would be best to ask the teacher that gave the practice to explain this issue. If it helps you to consider the deity as an external entity go with that for now, if it helps you to consider the deity as an internal entity go with that for now, if it helps you to consider the deity as empty of existence go with that for now, at least until you have time to clarify it with your teacher. None of the above approaches is either right nor wrong, each students practice is based on their capacity and preferences. Just do the practice.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Tentative question: "deity yoga"

Postby Jeff » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:32 pm

In deity yoga, one forms an energetic connection to the deity. With increasing clarity, ultimately, one is able to "merge" with the deity. The "energy" of the deity helps with removal of obstructions.

:smile:
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Re: Tentative question: "deity yoga"

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:29 am

Hi Steve,

maybe this helps to understand deity yoga:

When we practice tantric yoga method sadhanas and transform our consciousness into the transcendent, rainbow body of our meditation deity we should simultaneously recognize the unity of the rainbow body and its non-dual nature. The rainbow body of the deity is totally non-dual. Non-duality and the transformation, the transcendent experience of the clean clear, crystal rainbow body, are completely one. It’s like it’s there, but it’s not there. If you were to try to touch it, it would be like trying to touch a rainbow. Your hand can’t feel it yet there’s something there. It’s real; there’s some energy there. You can’t say that a rainbow isn’t real because you can’t touch it by hand.


- from an article by Lama Yeshe, see here for the entire article:

Visualizing yourself as a deity - by Lama Yeshe

I also vaguely remember a story about the 16th Karmapa meditating on the 15th Karmapa, but I'm not so sure about this story which is why I've opened a thread about it in the Kagyu subforum:

Does Karmapa meditate on Karmapa?
"Forget about being clever, and simply remain." Guru Rinpoche, Treasures from Juniper Ridge
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