Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Jainarayan » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:35 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote: One reason I mention it is, alot of the questions you are asking here will be answered somewhat by the practice, it answers questions about the nature of the deity etc. in the practice itself. So while as I said some people don't think it needs empowerment, I do imagine something like self-generation is probably not worth doing without having a qualified person there to at least explain it to you in terms of context etc...coming from the unusual place you're coming from, it's probably good to get the clarification on this kind of stuff in person.


I agree that's a good idea. Things really are hard to explain in writing, but this has given me a springboard, so to speak.
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Yudron » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:42 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Jainarayan wrote:I've been given to believe that practice of Chenrezig, Manjushri and Green Tara don't require empowerment. I may be wrong about Manjushri and Green Tara, though I say prayers to them and the Praises to the Twenty-one Taras, as well as to Medicine Buddha, but no visualizations or sadhana. I have a mālā (mala is 'dirt', 'refuse', or 'waste' in Sanskrit) reserved only for Chenrezig's mantra oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ, but I'm going to get a nicer one. I also recite the Nīlakaṇṭha Dhāranī . Someone told me that by embarking on this journey and accepting the Eightfold Path, the Four Noble Truths, the Six Perfections and Five Precepts (none of which conflict with my basic beliefs), I automatically take refuge.
Self visualisation as any deity requires empowerment. Sadhanas, unless they are Sutra, require a ritual reading.


A lot of Tibetans recite the mantra of the deities you mentioned without empowerment. It won't bring anyone to enlightenment, but it is very positive. Practicing sadhana as a vow-holding Buddhist who has received a Chenresi empowerment, reading transmission, and teachings is much much more powerful.

I's say just start where you are and do something small to get a taste for it.
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Jainarayan » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:43 pm

Jainarayan wrote:Ohhhh-K, I think I understand. If so, at this point I'd simply be praying to Chenrezig and reciting the mantra, asking for help in cultivating compassion. After empowerment I'd be able to practice full sadhana.


I think this is what I've been thinking of...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation ... generation

Front generation

Front generation is a form of meditative visualization employed in Tantric Buddhism in which the yidam is visualized as being present in the sky facing the practitioner as opposed to the self-identification that occurs in self generation. According to the Vajrayana tradition, this approach is considered less advanced, hence safer for the sadhaka, and is engaged more for the rites of propitiation and worship.[2]


Not http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation ... generation

Self generation

Self generation is a form of meditative visualization employed in Tantric Buddhism in which the yidam is invoked and then merged with the sadhaka as an upaya of self-transformation. This is as opposed to the method of front generation. According to the Vajrayana tradition, self generation is held to be more advanced and accompanied by a degree of spiritual risk from the siddhi it may rapidly yield.[3]


In either case I think I should look into it more fully, in person.
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Jainarayan » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:52 pm

Yudron wrote:A lot of Tibetans recite the mantra of the deities you mentioned without empowerment. It won't bring anyone to enlightenment, but it is very positive. Practicing sadhana as a vow-holding Buddhist who has received a Chenresi empowerment, reading transmission, and teachings is much much more powerful.

I's say just start where you are and do something small to get a taste for it.


Yes, I know om mani padme hum is recited all the time by lots of people, and written all over the place, on rocks, walls, just about anywhere. I think I see the differences mentioned in my last post, viz "Front generation" and "Self generation". Front generation seems not much different than praying to or reciting the mantras of Ganesha or Saraswati or Hanuman, et. al., imagining being in their presence. I pray to Hanuman to help in an athletic endeavor; to Saraswati when I am playing guitar (well, I like to think I play :tongue: ). They also have powerful mantras that are not to be recited unless initiated by a guru. So I think I understand the similarity here.
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Jainarayan » Wed Feb 13, 2013 6:59 pm

Btw, all this information underscores what we said in the post saying thanks. ;)
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Yudron » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:06 pm

Jainarayan wrote:
Yudron wrote:A lot of Tibetans recite the mantra of the deities you mentioned without empowerment. It won't bring anyone to enlightenment, but it is very positive. Practicing sadhana as a vow-holding Buddhist who has received a Chenresi empowerment, reading transmission, and teachings is much much more powerful.

I's say just start where you are and do something small to get a taste for it.


Yes, I know om mani padme hum is recited all the time by lots of people, and written all over the place, on rocks, walls, just about anywhere. I think I see the differences mentioned in my last post, viz "Front generation" and "Self generation". Front generation seems not much different than praying to or reciting the mantras of Ganesha or Saraswati or Hanuman, et. al., imagining being in their presence. I pray to Hanuman to help in an athletic endeavor; to Saraswati when I am playing guitar (well, I like to think I play :tongue: ). They also have powerful mantras that are not to be recited unless initiated by a guru. So I think I understand the similarity here.


Yeah. I'm glossing over that part because, personally, I am not too crazy about Hindus taking Buddhist empowerments. When one takes refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, one stops taking refuge in other things, such as Vishnu. You do take refuge during an empowerment.

Yes, the Dalai Lama--and other lamas-- give empowerments to all comers, but if you are really going to do the practice IMHO it would be good to go into the empowerment sincerely, with the intention to keep the refuge vow. That's just my opinion.
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Jainarayan » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:19 pm

Yudron wrote:Yeah. I'm glossing over that part because, personally, I am not too crazy about Hindus taking Buddhist empowerments. When one takes refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, one stops taking refuge in other things, such as Vishnu. You do take refuge during an empowerment.

Yes, the Dalai Lama--and other lamas-- give empowerments to all comers, but if you are really going to do the practice IMHO it would be good to go into the empowerment sincerely, with the intention to keep the refuge vow. That's just my opinion.


It's a worthwhile and valid opinion. That's why I brought this up, and asked about empowerment. I do not believe I would do that unless I felt that Hinduism was not the right path for me and I wanted to practice Vajrayana fully. However, I'm seeing an evolution in my beliefs; not better or worse, but change and openness, so who knows what the future holds? At this point I'm content to do the practices that I've found are open, with no need for empowerment.
Worthy, wise and virtuous: Who is energetic and not indolent, in misfortune unshaken,
flawless in manner and intelligent, such one will honor gain. - Digha Nikaya III 273
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Yudron » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:33 pm

Jainarayan wrote:
Yudron wrote:Yeah. I'm glossing over that part because, personally, I am not too crazy about Hindus taking Buddhist empowerments. When one takes refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, one stops taking refuge in other things, such as Vishnu. You do take refuge during an empowerment.

Yes, the Dalai Lama--and other lamas-- give empowerments to all comers, but if you are really going to do the practice IMHO it would be good to go into the empowerment sincerely, with the intention to keep the refuge vow. That's just my opinion.


It's a worthwhile and valid opinion. That's why I brought this up, and asked about empowerment. I do not believe I would do that unless I felt that Hinduism was not the right path for me and I wanted to practice Vajrayana fully. However, I'm seeing an evolution in my beliefs; not better or worse, but change and openness, so who knows what the future holds? At this point I'm content to do the practices that I've found are open, with no need for empowerment.



I like your approach.
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Jainarayan » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:44 pm

Yudron wrote: I like your approach.


Thanks, that means a lot. :twothumbsup:

I wonder if this is what you'd call upāya. According to Wiki (I know, not the most authoritative source) the definition is a concept which emphasizes that practitioners may use their own specific methods or techniques that fit the situation in order to gain enlightenment. The implication is that even if a technique, view, etc., is not ultimately "true" in the highest sense, it may still be an expedient practice to perform or view to hold; i.e., it may bring the practitioner closer to true realization anyway. And it certainly is my own specific technique. And if that's not what you'd call it, we'll just leave the post at "Thanks, that means a lot." :twothumbsup: and forget the upāya part. lol
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Jnana » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:42 pm

According to Karma Chagme, you can practice Avalokiteśvara, including self-generation, even without empowerment. A Spacious Path To Freedom:

    In general, it is necessary to receive an empowerment to practice the secret Mantra[yāna], and it is wrong to do so if that is not received. However, according to Mahāsiddha Karma Pakṣi, as for this public Dharma of Jinasāgara, which was prophesied and granted by Avalokiteśvara, it is all right even if you have not received an empow­erment. For those who have not received an empowerment, who have not been granted the oral transmission, and who have not completed the Dharma training from a master, may the blessing be equal to that of the Great Compassionate One.

The text A Spacious Path To Freedom includes a sādhana for self-generation of the four-armed form of Avalokiteśvara.
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Aemilius » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:06 pm

In Sravakayana, as well as in Mahayana, there is the practice of six Anu-smriti, or ten Anu-smriti. Anu-smriti means remembrances or topics to keep in mind. Among the six or ten anusmriti there is Devata anusmriti, which means keeping in mind the devata, i.e. remembering a higher state in the wheel of rebirth. Remembering the Devata means remembering their radiance and their glory. One should cultivate confidence that one self is going to reborn among the Devata as a consequence of one's practice of Dharma. The Six anusmriti are mentioned in the pureland sutras. First three of the anusmriti are Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. In the pali suttas Buddha Shakyamuni says that one will achieve enlightenment through the practice of the remembrances. According to the sravakayana and mahayana there are also enlightened Devata. (information about the Anusmriti, or Anusati. in the Accestoinsight sutta translations, and in the Pureland sutras, for example).
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby dakini_boi » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:38 pm

Well, Jainarayan, looks like you answered your own question. Embrace Avalokitesvara, chant Om Mani Padme Hum if that seems to resonate more.

Jainarayan wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:Self visualisation as any deity requires empowerment.


:oops:

Sadhanas, unless they are Sutra, require a ritual reading.


I don't think I understand that. As a matter of fact, I know I don't. :cry:


You don't need any transmission to chant om mani padme hum, or to visualize Avalokitesvara in front of yourself or above your head.
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Jainarayan » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:46 pm

dakini_boi wrote:Well, Jainarayan, looks like you answered your own question. Embrace Avalokitesvara, chant Om Mani Padme Hum if that seems to resonate more.

You don't need any transmission to chant om mani padme hum, or to visualize Avalokitesvara in front of yourself or above your head.


Thanks. I've seen it around a lot that front visualization is OK without transmission, but self-generation does require it. I wouldn't be doing self-generation.
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Yudron » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:28 pm

Jainarayan wrote:
dakini_boi wrote:Well, Jainarayan, looks like you answered your own question. Embrace Avalokitesvara, chant Om Mani Padme Hum if that seems to resonate more.

You don't need any transmission to chant om mani padme hum, or to visualize Avalokitesvara in front of yourself or above your head.


Thanks. I've seen it around a lot that front visualization is OK without transmission, but self-generation does require it. I wouldn't be doing self-generation.


See the Karma Chagme text above.

It's not going to kill him to see himself at Chenrezi. You think?
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby dakini_boi » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:58 am

Yudron wrote:
Jainarayan wrote:
dakini_boi wrote:Well, Jainarayan, looks like you answered your own question. Embrace Avalokitesvara, chant Om Mani Padme Hum if that seems to resonate more.

You don't need any transmission to chant om mani padme hum, or to visualize Avalokitesvara in front of yourself or above your head.


Thanks. I've seen it around a lot that front visualization is OK without transmission, but self-generation does require it. I wouldn't be doing self-generation.


See the Karma Chagme text above.

It's not going to kill him to see himself at Chenrezi. You think?


oh good, I thought I had read that it's ok to self-generate as Chenrezig without empowerment, but I couldn't find it. Yes, Jainarayan, case settled by Karma Chagme, nothing to worry about. Lots of benefit to bring to sentient beings :namaste:
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Karma Dorje » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:53 am

Yudron wrote:Yeah. I'm glossing over that part because, personally, I am not too crazy about Hindus taking Buddhist empowerments. When one takes refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, one stops taking refuge in other things, such as Vishnu. You do take refuge during an empowerment.


Respectfully, Yudron I beg to differ. What one gives up when taking refuge in the Buddha is going for refuge to samsaric beings, for the obvious reason that they can not grant true refuge as they themselves are still confused. If you are viewing Vishnu as a samsaric being and performing sadhana only to end up in Vaikuntha then you are entirely correct. However, I don' think it is so simple.

Firstly, many of the devas in the Hindu pantheon are worshipped either as yidams or enlightened protectors. One has to look no further than the centrally important Avalokitehsvara/Shiva/Mahakala to see this.
Secondly, even if one were to concede that the Hindu pantheon are worldly beings, there is a long tradition in Vajrayana of the practice of propitiating such beings for the temporal benefit of the practitioner.
Lastly and most importantly, there are very definitely philosophical approaches to the worship of the Hindu devatas indistinguishable to the approaches of Vajrayana.

None of my teachers have insisted that I halt my Hindu sadhana or felt that I was damaging my refuge vow. I think that is a matter for discussion with one's refuge lama.
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Adamantine » Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:06 am

Karma Dorje wrote:
Yudron wrote:Yeah. I'm glossing over that part because, personally, I am not too crazy about Hindus taking Buddhist empowerments. When one takes refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, one stops taking refuge in other things, such as Vishnu. You do take refuge during an empowerment.


Respectfully, Yudron I beg to differ. What one gives up when taking refuge in the Buddha is going for refuge to samsaric beings, for the obvious reason that they can not grant true refuge as they themselves are still confused. If you are viewing Vishnu as a samsaric being and performing sadhana only to end up in Vaikuntha then you are entirely correct. However, I don' think it is so simple.

Firstly, many of the devas in the Hindu pantheon are worshipped either as yidams or enlightened protectors. One has to look no further than the centrally important Avalokitehsvara/Shiva/Mahakala to see this.
Secondly, even if one were to concede that the Hindu pantheon are worldly beings, there is a long tradition in Vajrayana of the practice of propitiating such beings for the temporal benefit of the practitioner.
Lastly and most importantly, there are very definitely philosophical approaches to the worship of the Hindu devatas indistinguishable to the approaches of Vajrayana.

None of my teachers have insisted that I halt my Hindu sadhana or felt that I was damaging my refuge vow. I think that is a matter for discussion with one's refuge lama.


That's interesting Karma Dorje. I feel like we may have brushed up against this issue peripherally in other topics but I am more than a bit curious now. I have a hard time imagining how it is possible to worship Vishnu , or Krishna for instance and not outright be contradicting one's refuge vow. Most elements of that belief system and practice fall into Eternalist views. If you can explain how it is possible not to fall into an Eternalist frame of reference when practicing that way I would be quite interested. I have personally in the course of my life found it necessary to drop prior spiritual practices to fully commit to my Buddhist practice for this reason. I am not putting forth judgement so don't take it that way, I am just genuinely interested to hear your take on it.
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Yudron » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:29 am

Adamantine wrote:
Karma Dorje wrote:
Yudron wrote:Yeah. I'm glossing over that part because, personally, I am not too crazy about Hindus taking Buddhist empowerments. When one takes refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, one stops taking refuge in other things, such as Vishnu. You do take refuge during an empowerment.


Respectfully, Yudron I beg to differ. What one gives up when taking refuge in the Buddha is going for refuge to samsaric beings, for the obvious reason that they can not grant true refuge as they themselves are still confused. If you are viewing Vishnu as a samsaric being and performing sadhana only to end up in Vaikuntha then you are entirely correct. However, I don' think it is so simple.

Firstly, many of the devas in the Hindu pantheon are worshipped either as yidams or enlightened protectors. One has to look no further than the centrally important Avalokitehsvara/Shiva/Mahakala to see this.
Secondly, even if one were to concede that the Hindu pantheon are worldly beings, there is a long tradition in Vajrayana of the practice of propitiating such beings for the temporal benefit of the practitioner.
Lastly and most importantly, there are very definitely philosophical approaches to the worship of the Hindu devatas indistinguishable to the approaches of Vajrayana.

None of my teachers have insisted that I halt my Hindu sadhana or felt that I was damaging my refuge vow. I think that is a matter for discussion with one's refuge lama.


That's interesting Karma Dorje. I feel like we may have brushed up against this issue peripherally in other topics but I am more than a bit curious now. I have a hard time imagining how it is possible to worship Vishnu , or Krishna for instance and not outright be contradicting one's refuge vow. Most elements of that belief system and practice fall into Eternalist views. If you can explain how it is possible not to fall into an Eternalist frame of reference when practicing that way I would be quite interested. I have personally in the course of my life found it necessary to drop prior spiritual practices to fully commit to my Buddhist practice for this reason. I am not putting forth judgement so don't take it that way, I am just genuinely interested to hear your take on it.


Well, I went to a Hindu Saraswati puja a couple of nights ago so that I could understand more of the similarities and differences. It was really lovely, and seemed to run like I imagine a Buddhist sadhana practice from the outer tantras would be, and had some very similar symbolism to a Buddhst Saraswati practice. I say "I imagine" because I have never been to a puja from the outer tantras, so I don't really know. I would argue that for me the practice was a Buddhist one, or because I hold a Buddhist frame of reference. The people around me, eyes closed, palms up, seemed to be seeking rapture.

Mipham said the view of the Kriyayogatantra :

"in absolute truth all phenomena; existants are equal in the indivisible nature of the two truths; appearances and emptiness. But, in relative truth, it views the yidams as lords, who are free from faults, are perfect in all the virtues, are the manifestation of the clarity of the ultimate sphere as the form of the primordial wisdom and who grants the temporary and final attainments. .. Oneself as the devotee to be blessed, as one who has still not reached the goal and who has coverings. .... in absolute truth all are equal and in relative truth the interdependent causation is incontrovertible. ... The view is to believe that through practicing and accepting all (phenomena) as signs of the body, speech and mind of the deities themselves, for the time being one achieves the power of numerous activities, and finally one attains the essence of the deities itself."

So, I don't really understand this kind of language, but it seems that if one wants to do Kriyayoga practice as such one remembers the view of the inseparability absolute and relative truth, while simultaneously exerting oneself at an elaborate sattvic practice, as though it was really really true. No wonder hardly anyone specializes in these practices in Vajrayana Buddhism anymore... for most of us this would be wicked confusing!

So, you are right Karme, only a wisdom lama can determine who to accept as a disciple and what to advise them about their practices. I think it would be pretty easy to make Chenresi another god in the Hindu pantheon, if if hasn't already been done. Would it be of some benefit, sure! But, would bring the same fruition of Buddhist Vajrayana? I kind of think it would be a different fruit?
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby Karma Dorje » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:55 am

Adamantine wrote:That's interesting Karma Dorje. I feel like we may have brushed up against this issue peripherally in other topics but I am more than a bit curious now. I have a hard time imagining how it is possible to worship Vishnu , or Krishna for instance and not outright be contradicting one's refuge vow. Most elements of that belief system and practice fall into Eternalist views. If you can explain how it is possible not to fall into an Eternalist frame of reference when practicing that way I would be quite interested. I have personally in the course of my life found it necessary to drop prior spiritual practices to fully commit to my Buddhist practice for this reason. I am not putting forth judgement so don't take it that way, I am just genuinely interested to hear your take on it.


Well, most extant Vaishnava approaches are quite dualistic so I am inclined to agree you can't hold those particular views and keep your refuge vow. However, one can certainly hold the view of Krishna or Narayana as being nondual awareness. This is actually quite explicit when discussing Shiva in Shaiva/Shakta teachings, particularly when you are looking at the real experiential meaning of prakasha and vimarsha.

I suppose the question for me is whether one can infuse the realization dharma in other systems, or we just cut everything loose and focus only on our own system. For me personally, I think that the compassionate thing is to try to make as many symbol systems as possible living, breathing and full of meaning. There are so many people born into the various Hindu traditions through their own causes and conditions. Should we insist that they take on Buddhist theory and praxis, or should we use the symbol system that they are familiar with to liberate them? Besides, Hindu tantra is so close to Buddhist tantra that it's not all that different to practice.
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Re: Startling issue about my yidam/ishta-devata is arising

Postby muni » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:57 am

Of course it is interesting to examine these. And we can come to see clear through our practices is there told. Whether there are samenesses-differentnesses and so comparision of views, depends on mind. Awaken nature/wisdom indeed has no problem since the nature of those views is known and wisdoms' clarity 'sees' sharp all grasping/clinging in order to guide.
I got once a small wooden statue. Wonderful Chenrezig! But then someone told me: "that is no Chenrezig! That is a Hindu statue!

Who cares in the blessings of Chenrezig?
Last edited by muni on Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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