Deities

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Re: Deities

Postby beautiful breath » Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:45 pm

GarcherLancelot wrote:
Steveyboy wrote:
beautiful breath wrote:Hi, can someone tell me how Deities exist? A blunt question but after man y years studying in the Tibetan Tradition I still struggle with how some can speak of Deities as if they have an independent existence - then in the next breath explain how they're as empty as anything else.

My experience of phenomena is that conventional truths appear to my mind and are valid appearances. I have no such experience of Deities other than a Generic image that I liken to the ones I have of Tolkien characters. PLEASE don't be offended by that statement its meant literal not glib.

BB...


The pantheon of deities exists because they represent the practitioners of the distant past have realized Buddhahood and manifests in these forms to benefit sentient beings. According to the King of Prayers, one of the abilities of the Buddha is the 'Power of Magical Emanation' and that means the Buddhas can manifest in countless forms simultaneously to benefit us. Many of the pantheon of Buddhas like Manjushri, Chenrezig, Tara and so forth have appeared to yogis and great masters of the past and they have recorded it down as sadhanas so we can propitiate them for a particular result or blessing. Their appearance is not arbitrary and when visualized correctly, it will have a certain blessing/effect upon our mind. I hope this little explanation answered your question.


Why is it that when we visualized them,it will have a certain blessing upon our mind?what if we visualized our friends or video game characters or others?. ..Does it have any effect?. ..


Great question! :shrug:
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Re: Deities

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:58 pm

GarcherLancelot wrote:Why is it that when we visualized them,it will have a certain blessing upon our mind? what if we visualized our friends or video game characters or others?. ..Does it have any effect?. ..


Consider the very real visualization that you have of yourself at this moment...so real that you can feel your own skin and hear your heart beat. All of your sense faculties fully visualized.

Usually it never occurs to us that what we also experience, as the one doing the visualization, is in fact also a visualization, a projection of the mind.

When I drive on the freeway or highway, there is a CD that I often pop into my car, theme songs from James Bond movies....Goldfinger, Live and let die, You Only Live Twice...I love it. In my mind i imagine that I am driving the Astin-Martin DB5, and this actually helps me concentrate more fully and respond more quickly to the sudden actions of other drivers.

So, if you are playing Super Mario brothers, visualizing Mario or Luigi or some other character, or visualizing yourself as that character might in fact be very helpful.

But In Vajrayana, visualization is not about role-playing, and it is not crucial that you visualize every detail perfectly. If it were, all Tibetan Thangkas of the same yidam or Buddha would be absolutely identical. They are often very close...dictated by canonical proportions, certain descriptive characteristics, but there is usually some variation. They are not "realistic" images in the sense of western art. They are more like cartoons. By this, I mean that if you want to draw Snoopy, you have to employ a given set of standardized elements so it looks like Snoopy. Otherwise, you don't get Snoopy. Maybe you get Garfield.

Visualizations in Buddhist practice likewise employ various standardized descriptions, done as part of a Sadhana or mantra recitation, to generate a realization of some aspect of the true nature of one's mind. That is what is meant by a blessing. In some aspects they might be arbitrary. Does it really matter if Green Tara is a sort of turquoise green rather than a lime green? maybe, but that isn't the point.

An interesting side note to this (because perhaps ground turquoise might be used to create the pigments to paint Green Tara), You know, in traditional western religious art, Virgin Mary is almost always seen wearing blue...usually a blue cloth draped over her head and upper body. This is because at the time the churches really begain to commission religious paintings, they insisted that only the most expensive pigments should be used for Jesus' mother, and lapiz lazuli, a deep blue stone with tiny gold flecks, from Afghanistan, was the most expensive of pigments (they would grind the stone into a powder and mix with binding agents to make paint). However, it was not uncommon for artists to purchase sodalite, a much cheaper blue rock, use that instead, tell the bishops it was lapis, and then keep the left over money for themselves!
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: Deities

Postby heart » Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:38 pm

beautiful breath wrote:
GarcherLancelot wrote:
Why is it that when we visualized them,it will have a certain blessing upon our mind?what if we visualized our friends or video game characters or others?. ..Does it have any effect?. ..


Great question! :shrug:


It is a really stupid question actually. If you visualize yourself as Darth Vader you will have his blessing, that is nothing at all since he is a fictional character. You think Tara is a fictional character then what are you doing in the Vajrayana section of this forum?

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Sambhogakaya

/magnus
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Re: Deities

Postby catmoon » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:39 am

One might just as well ask, if you think Tara is anything other than a creation of your mind what are YOU doing in a Vajrayana forum?

Fact is, this forum is not closed to people of either view.
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Re: Deities

Postby heart » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:01 am

catmoon wrote:One might just as well ask, if you think Tara is anything other than a creation of your mind what are YOU doing in a Vajrayana forum?

Fact is, this forum is not closed to people of either view.


I am very sorry if I sound rude, please accept my excuses.

Mahasiddhas and Bodhisattvas receive these teachings directly from the Buddhas, they then make empowerment's, teachings and sadhanas and start the lineages that eventually we receive. Does it sound like a fairytale? Well, this is Vajrayana we are not in Kansas anymore. So then how does this compare to a six year old boy pretending he is superman? It just doesn't.

/magnus
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Re: Deities

Postby catmoon » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:35 am

Yes, there is a difference. But I wouldn't get too attached to the forms. The difference in the effect of the visualizations lies not in the forms. The Green Tara form is a focal point for virtuous contemplations, and it is her attributes of kindliness, helpfulness, and gentleness that are the point. The form of a young woman supports the visualization, but one could as easily visualize a very kindly grandmother figure or something else entirely.

Which I think is the point our foamy monk is trying to make.
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Re: Deities

Postby GarcherLancelot » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:42 am

heart wrote:
beautiful breath wrote:
GarcherLancelot wrote:
Why is it that when we visualized them,it will have a certain blessing upon our mind?what if we visualized our friends or video game characters or others?. ..Does it have any effect?. ..


Great question! :shrug:


It is a really stupid question actually. If you visualize yourself as Darth Vader you will have his blessing, that is nothing at all since he is a fictional character. You think Tara is a fictional character then what are you doing in the Vajrayana section of this forum?

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Sambhogakaya

/magnus

Nah,I am just asking does it have ANY effect ,not whether we would receive any blessing.. .
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Re: Deities

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:18 pm

catmoon wrote: The form of a young woman supports the visualization, but one could as easily visualize a very kindly grandmother figure or something else entirely.

Which I think is the point our foamy monk is trying to make.


Well, sort of.
My teacher has explained that the visualizations in Vajrayana practice are aspects of the perfect nature of one's mind.
So, yes, you could imagine the kindness of your grandmother (and recalling the kindness of others is part of a specific practice) but grandmothers are not perfect, so it is not adequate...not quite the same thing.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: Deities

Postby lobster » Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:40 pm

If you visualize yourself as Darth Vader you will have his blessing, that is nothing at all since he is a fictional character.


Perhaps. :shrug:
http://youtu.be/d5mK7dzyUkM

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Re: Deities

Postby conebeckham » Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:37 pm

In general, the Yidam deity is the root of accomplishment. The Guru is the root of blessing. Do deities "convey blessings?" Well, yes....but it's not really a proper understanding to say that, for example, practice of Tara immediately conveys Tara's blessings. If one were to actually receive Tara's blessings, I think that would be akin to Tara being the Guru--either the Guru taking on Tara's form, and/or Tara taking on the Guru's form--or both, really. This is, of course, part of the skillful method. But, in terms of personal practice, whether one is following a gradual or an instantaneous creation stage, still, it takes time and practice to become skilled in self-visualization. Divine Pride, and Pure Recollection, are very important aspects of deity yoga.

The form of the deity is important. Every aspect--the color, number of arms, legs, implements held, costume--all these things have meaning. Also, the "origin" of the deity is important--where did this practice come from? What is the lineage?

Of course, you could make up your own sadhana of Darth Vader, I suppose--but another key point about Yidams is that they stem from the Pure Vision of the great masters. So, ask yourself--would you rather practice the method of accomplishment of Luipa, or Dombhi Heruka, or Tsong Khapa......or George Lucas, or Stan Lee?

Which reminds me of a guy I know who wrote his own sadhanas...my friends and I used to joke about Cap'n Crunch and Minnie Mouse yabyum......"from emptiness appears the cereal box, with four sides and eight corners, within which the seed syllable transforms to the CrunchBerry Bindu...."

In all seriousness, though....deity yoga is a very deep and profound subject, and much can be said about it.
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Re: Deities

Postby GarcherLancelot » Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:29 pm

Ok,is this visualization technique only for vajrayana,what is the exact purpose for it?.. .
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Re: Deities

Postby heart » Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:39 pm

GarcherLancelot wrote:
heart wrote:
It is a really stupid question actually. If you visualize yourself as Darth Vader you will have his blessing, that is nothing at all since he is a fictional character. You think Tara is a fictional character then what are you doing in the Vajrayana section of this forum?

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Sambhogakaya

/magnus


Nah,I am just asking does it have ANY effect ,not whether we would receive any blessing.. .


If you do it long enough you will most possible have the feeling of living inside a black bucket with a lousy speaker system. :smile:
There is a classic Tibetan story about a woman that visualized herself as tiger and that after a long time everyone started experience her as a tiger and that in the end all people left the village she was living in because of fear or the tiger. Visualization have power, however in order to have spiritual trans-formative powers something else is needed, it have to directly be linked to a genuine spiritual teachings.

/magnus
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Re: Deities

Postby heart » Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:42 pm

GarcherLancelot wrote:Ok,is this visualization technique only for vajrayana,what is the exact purpose for it?.. .


Visualizations are free for anyone to use, and they also do. But doing that they don't realize the empty nature of appearance and existence.

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Re: Deities

Postby GarcherLancelot » Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:26 pm

heart wrote:
GarcherLancelot wrote:
heart wrote:
It is a really stupid question actually. If you visualize yourself as Darth Vader you will have his blessing, that is nothing at all since he is a fictional character. You think Tara is a fictional character then what are you doing in the Vajrayana section of this forum?

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Sambhogakaya

/magnus


Nah,I am just asking does it have ANY effect ,not whether we would receive any blessing.. .


If you do it long enough you will most possible have the feeling of living inside a black bucket with a lousy speaker system. :smile:
There is a classic Tibetan story about a woman that visualized herself as tiger and that after a long time everyone started experience her as a tiger and that in the end all people left the village she was living in because of fear or the tiger. Visualization have power, however in order to have spiritual trans-formative powers something else is needed, it have to directly be linked to a genuine spiritual teachings.

/magnus

What kind of power?I just want to make sure I am not accidentally using it.. .
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Re: Deities

Postby heart » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:52 pm

GarcherLancelot wrote:
heart wrote:
If you do it long enough you will most possible have the feeling of living inside a black bucket with a lousy speaker system. :smile:
There is a classic Tibetan story about a woman that visualized herself as tiger and that after a long time everyone started experience her as a tiger and that in the end all people left the village she was living in because of fear or the tiger. Visualization have power, however in order to have spiritual trans-formative powers something else is needed, it have to directly be linked to a genuine spiritual teachings.

/magnus

What kind of power?I just want to make sure I am not accidentally using it.. .


It should be obvious from the story, stay away from those Darth Vader visualizations. :smile:

/magnus
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Re: Deities

Postby conebeckham » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:58 pm

Yeah, don't go to the Dark Side. That's obvious, isn't it?


Seriously, though...there's no tradition of Darth Vadar Ishvadevata. No Lineage, no special instructions, no completion stage, no sadhana, no empowerment, no history, no stories of accomplishment based on the practice, etc.,etc., etc.

Get it?

It's not JUST visualization.
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Re: Deities

Postby GarcherLancelot » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:00 pm

heart wrote:
GarcherLancelot wrote:
heart wrote:
If you do it long enough you will most possible have the feeling of living inside a black bucket with a lousy speaker system. :smile:
There is a classic Tibetan story about a woman that visualized herself as tiger and that after a long time everyone started experience her as a tiger and that in the end all people left the village she was living in because of fear or the tiger. Visualization have power, however in order to have spiritual trans-formative powers something else is needed, it have to directly be linked to a genuine spiritual teachings.

/magnus

What kind of power?I just want to make sure I am not accidentally using it.. .


It should be obvious from the story, stay away from those Darth Vader visualizations. :smile:

/magnus


As long as we are not visualizing ourselves as darth vader it should be fine right?haha.. .The thing is I like those visualizations for my own "private cinema" inside my mind lol,but most of the time its not about me so i guess no one would get scared.. .
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Re: Deities

Postby conebeckham » Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:08 pm

catmoon wrote:One might just as well ask, if you think Tara is anything other than a creation of your mind what are YOU doing in a Vajrayana forum?

Fact is, this forum is not closed to people of either view.



Tara is most certainly not merely a creation of my own mind.

If Tara were merely that, I would doubt the efficacy of practicing Tara. Agreed?
I take your meaning, Catmoon--regarding the primacy of "mind," a loaded word in itself--but, from our conventional, dualistic, POV, Tara certainly appears, initially at least, as "other," and, in particular, there is skillful means in relating to a deity as "other" than oneself, just as there is skillful means in relating to a deity as "the same as oneself." And, in fact, there is skillful means in relating to a deity that appears externally, but is in fact "internal," and skillful means in relating to a deity which is not the same as, or other than, the nature of my own mind....

And, by the way, none of these are really Tara.
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Re: Deities

Postby heart » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:24 am

GarcherLancelot wrote:
As long as we are not visualizing ourselves as darth vader it should be fine right?haha.. .The thing is I like those visualizations for my own "private cinema" inside my mind lol,but most of the time its not about me so i guess no one would get scared.. .


Seriously, visualizations are a kind of thoughts. Like you point out, we use them all the time. Using visualizations as meditation is strangely enough, considering how natural they are to our mind, quite difficult. Why? Because we lack control over our mind.

/magnus
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Re: Deities

Postby GarcherLancelot » Fri Oct 19, 2012 4:11 pm

heart wrote:
GarcherLancelot wrote:
As long as we are not visualizing ourselves as darth vader it should be fine right?haha.. .The thing is I like those visualizations for my own "private cinema" inside my mind lol,but most of the time its not about me so i guess no one would get scared.. .


Seriously, visualizations are a kind of thoughts. Like you point out, we use them all the time. Using visualizations as meditation is strangely enough, considering how natural they are to our mind, quite difficult. Why? Because we lack control over our mind.

/magnus


Strange but natural?not sure if I get what you mean.. .
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