Yudron wrote:Mirage--Regarding the deities, if you are a Vajrayana student of the Nyingma school it would be difficult to dispense with them, because people see the their internal 100 peaceful and wrathful deities manifesting externally in the bardo, or, if they become a sublime practitioner, they may see them externally during the bardo of this life as well. Note: they are not seeing a Tibetan painting of deity, but deity itself. Their appearance in the bardo may be very bright and very loud, so that untrained people my not recognize them as their own divinity... they may have aversion, as you do to their portraits in art. So, we do various practices to learn to recognize and love them.
I certainly would not want to "dispence" with deities, I find their existence (so to say) very inspiring. I just think that the same painting, for example, may send all the right signals to a Tibetan ("majestic, divine, beautiful, intimidating" - depends on the deity, of course) and some very different signals to a person raised in a different culture ("umm, weird"). I find it detrimental to my practice.