Wow, this thread has made me realize how few Tibetan deities I know about.
Who is Karma Kamtsang? Is that just another name for Bernagchen Mahakala?
Dhondrub wrote:I dont think it is about the degree of wrathfulness a Dharmapala expresses. Achi as far as I know is considered a worldly deity even though she is an emanation of Vajrayogini ( at least thats how Karma Kagyupas see it, maybe its different for Drikungpas). And practices of Activity Protectors and Worldly Protectors always come with some commitment that should be held up if one wants to stay out of unnecessary trouble.
I did a bit of poking around on the internet, but didn't find much clear info. Are "worldly deities" deities who are not enlightened and who still can be harmful?
What about Mahakala? I've read quotes that he is enlightened and that he has never harmed anyone.Mahakala is seen standing on the corpse of two human bodies, thus symbolizing the death of negativities and the complete uprooting of negative patterns to such a point that, like a dead body, they will not come to life. It is very important that we know these symbols of Mahakala because many times we have mistaken notions that he may be a clinging spirit or harmful, evil being, perhaps even the Lord of Death ready to devour and attack. One would find great difficulty in relating to the various symbols without understanding that our awakened compassion is the essential quality of the being of Mahakala. Mahakala has never been known to harm one being, even in the slightest manner, because he is constantly benefiting beings through the continuous play of the enlightened mind.http://www.kagyu.org/kagyulineage/buddh ... /dev02.php
It would seem from that quote that Mahakala is the "safest" Dharmapala to practice.
I received a White Mahakala empowerment from a Jonage Lama. He was supposed to give a Guru Rinpoche Empowerment, but later decided that it was better for him to give us the White Mahakala empowerment to help us eliminate obstacles.
Although he said the White Mahakala mantra during the empowerment, he didn't follow the empowerment with any teachings or tell us explicitly that we could visualize ourselves as White Mahakala or say his mantra. It seemed like just a one-time to event to help us eliminate our obstacles. The empowerment felt very powerful and my mental state felt quite different for several hours afterwards.
However, after the empowerment I asked my lama what the mantra was and asked if I could say it while visualizing myself as White Mahakala. He reluctantly said "Yes" because we had visualized ourselves as White Mahakala and said his mantra during the empowerment.
However, I rarely recite the mantra because I haven't received any teachings about White Mahakala. Also, he seems to be a deity of wealth and I would rather focus on deities who have predominantly spiritual functions.