Devotionary wrote:Good day all.
Can anyone please elaborate on the role--and necessity--of having a Yidam (Meditational Deity)?
Does doing a deity-centered practice bring more benefits than other types of practice? Or, is it just for a very special few
who get a Yidam?
Thanks for the insight!
A Yidam is a Buddha that you feel attracted to (past life connection) or is recommended for you by your Guru due to your mental dispositions. Most Sadhana revolve around Yidams. Yidam practice is the regular performance of that Yidam's Sadhana.
As far as I aware, Yidam practice is needed for Enlightenment in Tantra unless one practices Mahamudra or Dzogchen. Sometimes Yidam practice and Mahamudra/Dzogchen are performed together, especially in the Kagyu sect.
Devotionary wrote:Finally, can Buddhists of non-Tibetan schools (Chinese, Japanese, Pureland etc) benefit or acquire from YIdams?
Some Japanese Buddhist sects are Tantric. As far as I know, they have Yidam practice. Non-Tantric sects do not have Yidams.
Another question - can one do yidam practice as one's main practice without doing shamatha (shinay/calm abiding) regularly?
You can start without mastery of Shamatha. But you cannot master Yidam practice without mastering Shamatha.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.
-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra
"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."
-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats