Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
Red Faced Buddha
Posts: 185
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:16 am
Location: The Middle of Nowhere

Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby Red Faced Buddha » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:12 am

I was wondering if I could choose a Buddha or Bodhisattva as an enlightened protector and focus of meditation.I wanted to make Manjushri or Vajrapani a focus of meditation.However,I do not know whether one needs a guru or teacher to choose a personal meditational deity.Some traditions do not need a teacher to meditate on a Buddhist deity(such as Nio Zen which meditate on warrior deities.)however,I was unsure whether or not it is okay to have a meditational deity without a guru.
A person once asked me why I would want to stop rebirth. "It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want to be reborn."
I replied. "Wanting to be reborn is like wanting to stay in a jail cell, when you have the chance to go free and experience the whole wide world. Does a convict, on being freed from his shabby, constricting, little cell, suddenly say "I really want to go back to jail and be put in a cell. It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want that?"

User avatar
tomamundsen
Posts: 1615
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:50 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby tomamundsen » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:16 am

I think the main issue would be that without the guru, you can't make the connection with the deity via empowerment. But it's not like it's "against the rules" as far as I know.

Red Faced Buddha
Posts: 185
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:16 am
Location: The Middle of Nowhere

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby Red Faced Buddha » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:25 am

A person once asked me why I would want to stop rebirth. "It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want to be reborn."
I replied. "Wanting to be reborn is like wanting to stay in a jail cell, when you have the chance to go free and experience the whole wide world. Does a convict, on being freed from his shabby, constricting, little cell, suddenly say "I really want to go back to jail and be put in a cell. It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want that?"

User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 14670
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby Grigoris » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:50 am

Definitely need a teacher/lama for the oral transmission of the mantra and sadhana and instructions/explanations of the visualisation, mantra and practice. Of course one does not necessarily need a sadhana to do a practice, you can just receive the short praise and the mantra. But, officially, all of this has to come from a lama or somebody that has completed the preliminiaries for the deity.

Empowerment 100% needs the presence of a qualified teacher. Having said that, empowerment is not 100% necessary in order for you to do a practice. It does take one's practice to another level though.

So yes, you can choose an enlightened deity as a protector. Many protectors (dharmapala) are enlightened beings too. Most protectors are aspects of an enlightened beings activity anyway.

Keep in mind that you may be asked to officially take refuge before a practice is given to you (especially a sadhana). You may also be asked to complete some type of preliminaries (ngondro) too.
:namaste:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Sherlock
Posts: 1202
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:14 pm

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby Sherlock » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:03 pm

Well, you might not be able to work with a deity using tantric methods without the transmission, but just by taking refuge, you also come under the protection of many deities.

There are certain deities for whom you don't need the empowerment to meditate on/chant their dharanis, although you still should not visualize yourself as the deity without the empowerment. Amitabha is one example, Medicine Buddha, Green Tara as well. They aren't usually regarded as "protectors" though. Most protectors are wrathful and most teachers will advise you to get an empowerment before chanting their mantras or you can cause problems for yourself.

Red Faced Buddha
Posts: 185
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:16 am
Location: The Middle of Nowhere

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby Red Faced Buddha » Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:10 pm

A person once asked me why I would want to stop rebirth. "It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want to be reborn."
I replied. "Wanting to be reborn is like wanting to stay in a jail cell, when you have the chance to go free and experience the whole wide world. Does a convict, on being freed from his shabby, constricting, little cell, suddenly say "I really want to go back to jail and be put in a cell. It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want that?"

User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 14670
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby Grigoris » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:28 pm

"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

plwk
Posts: 2933
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:41 am

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby plwk » Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:58 pm


User avatar
tomamundsen
Posts: 1615
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:50 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby tomamundsen » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:12 pm


User avatar
Grigoris
Former staff member
Posts: 14670
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby Grigoris » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:19 pm

"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

dakini_boi
Posts: 683
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:02 am

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby dakini_boi » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:28 pm

Yes, you can take any enlightened being as your protector. All Buddhas embody all the qualities of Buddhahood, and that would include protection from fear.

I believe you can recite Manjushri's mantra without empowerment or lung. Vajrapani, I am not sure. Both are featured in Mahayana sutras, which you can always recite on your own. Why not read some sutras, and find one that you like? At the end of a sutra is usually a mantra, which you can then recite as a prayer.

User avatar
tomamundsen
Posts: 1615
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:50 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby tomamundsen » Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:30 pm


Red Faced Buddha
Posts: 185
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:16 am
Location: The Middle of Nowhere

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby Red Faced Buddha » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:29 pm

A person once asked me why I would want to stop rebirth. "It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want to be reborn."
I replied. "Wanting to be reborn is like wanting to stay in a jail cell, when you have the chance to go free and experience the whole wide world. Does a convict, on being freed from his shabby, constricting, little cell, suddenly say "I really want to go back to jail and be put in a cell. It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want that?"

CrawfordHollow
Posts: 265
Joined: Fri May 11, 2012 10:56 pm

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby CrawfordHollow » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:53 pm

You could always pray to and recite the Vajra Guru Mantra and Seven-Line Prayer. Years ago I started chanting the Vajra Guru as much as I could; at work, doing the dishes, walking the dog. Within a couple months I met my root lama and my practice really took off. I still chant the mantra constantly. Guru Rinpoche is a figure that I have always felt drawn to, there are many other Buddhas you can pray to, it doesn't have to be a formal practice.

If you want to practice a Vajrayana sadhana you definately need to make the connection with a teacher. Gitting the empowerment and lung is like plugging yourself into the circuit of blessings of the lineage. Thats obviously important, but there are many things that you can do now to incorporate these enlightened beings into your practice, you could pray to them, make prostrations, read their sutras or life stories, ect. You could make aspiration prayers that you will meet a teacher who will give you the empowermet that you are looking for. I think aspiration prayers are really important and useful. Its like casting out our good intentions like a fishing lure. Keep at it and you are bound to make a "catch".

If you feel drawn to Manjushri or another deity chances are you already have a karmic connection to that deity or practice. Like somebody pointed out in a past thread, even realized beings who take a rebirth have to go through the process of recieving all of their empowerments again. Don't get discouraged if you can't find a teacher right away. Have faith and good intentions and the rest will fall into place with time.

Best wishes,
Troy

Red Faced Buddha
Posts: 185
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:16 am
Location: The Middle of Nowhere

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby Red Faced Buddha » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:06 am

A person once asked me why I would want to stop rebirth. "It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want to be reborn."
I replied. "Wanting to be reborn is like wanting to stay in a jail cell, when you have the chance to go free and experience the whole wide world. Does a convict, on being freed from his shabby, constricting, little cell, suddenly say "I really want to go back to jail and be put in a cell. It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want that?"

User avatar
lobster
Posts: 1001
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:06 pm
Contact:

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby lobster » Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:58 am

No one, not even the Buddha, can stop the protection and worship of deities . . . :twothumbsup:

Ray Rudha
Posts: 136
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:09 am

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby Ray Rudha » Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:59 pm

You do not need anything to practice the mantras of the Great Bodhisattvas, as well as countless Buddha mantras which are available. It is always strange to hear people talking about needing empowerment for mantras found in sutras. If the mantra is in the sutra, that is your empowerment. The sutra itself is the matrix of all Buddhas. What other empowerment?

Just get samadhi with the mantra, that is the ultimate empowerment.

Need extra empowerment? Read a long dharani every day. [Edit]

https://medium.com/@johnutah/vajrapani- ... .qvxyir414

https://medium.com/@johnutah/ksitigarbh ... 024e217e97

Also, Avalokiteshvara, Cundi, the various mantras from the Golden Light sutra, and so on and so forth.
Last edited by Ayu on Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Removed put-down.

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 7106
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu Dec 31, 2015 5:59 pm

"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

User avatar
conebeckham
Posts: 4553
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby conebeckham » Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:07 am



"Absolute Truth is not an object of analytical discourse or great discriminating wisdom,
It is realized through the blessing grace of the Guru and fortunate Karmic potential.
Like this, mistaken ideas of discriminating wisdom are clarified."
- (Kyabje Bokar Rinpoche, from his summary of "The Ocean of Definitive Meaning")

User avatar
skittles
Posts: 155
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:24 am

Re: Can I choose an enlightentened deity as a protector?

Postby skittles » Fri Jan 01, 2016 10:11 am

You should get valid empowerments and instructions when possible. The risk of assuming a yidam before you have the empowerment and teachings is that you will form polluted views and karmas with the practice which will serve as a hinderance should you become a part of the lineage that practices that deity later.

It's not as if the core of these practices isn't accessible without empowerment, it is just unlikely for you to generate them. Strong compassion and emptiness vision naturally take useful forms and without them the forms are useless.

Don't fall into the trap of these evil people that are emphasizing protector deities. Only the scummiest fake for-profit lamas do that to play to the fears and desires of people that are not intellectually mature enough to see the value of the Buddha's teachings. The reality is enlightened protectors aren't something petty people can ask for favors from. Enlightened protectors are the limbs of a practitioner's compassion and wisdom, for a petty person they don't exist in the world. Instead, the protectors of petty people embody the selfish and ultimately self destructive qualities of the people that pray to them and lead to the madness, paranoia, and desperation you see in these protector deity cults.
"My main teacher Serkong Rinpoche, who was one of the teachers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, explained that having a protector is like having a very strong and vicious dog. If you are a strong person, you could go sit and guard your own gate every night to make sure that thieves don’t attack, but usually people wouldn’t do that. It’s not that we don’t have the ability, it’s just: why bother? You could post a dog there instead." - Alex Berzin http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... rs_ab.html


Return to “Dharma in Everyday Life”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bristollad and 26 guests