Questions on visualizations

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Re: Questions on visualizations

Postby Vajratantrika » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:41 am

Knotty Veneer wrote:I think secret to good visualisation is the same as meditation on an actual or object or on the breath - stay focussed but relaxed. If you let your mind wander too much then obviously it will be difficult to maintain a clear visualization. Similarly if your mind is too tight, you will tire and lose the visualization that way.


This is great advice as well. I have been thinking about going back to meditation on the breath, which I set down for a while to focus on other practices. I think I will begin to incorporate a session of this before and after my daily sadhana.

Knotty Veneer wrote:I think it's important to to remember that when visualizing your are not using your eyes so you will not see the deity as you would if they manifested physically in front of you. You can hone in on details or draw back and imagine the entire scene.


and...

Knotty Veneer wrote:Other tips I have found useful, especially if getting distracted, is to "sweep over" the visualization - imagine the details from the top down, then from the bottom up and from left to right and then right to left and so on. It's great if you can rest your attention comfortably on a detail like the seed syllable of the deity but if you can't (and we all have days when it's easier than others), move the focus of your attention around to different aspects of the visualisation like the jewelry, mantra syllables, mudras, retinue etc. Remember too that your point of view is not limited to being in front of the deity - you can go beneath, behind, above or either side. You can move in right up close or even inside - the deity is made of light after all. SImilarly if you visualizing yourself as the deity you do not have to "look the deity's eyes", you can put your awareness outside and view the deity from without.


I am very thankful for these tips. In my practice I was much more focused on trying to visualize everything all at once, all the details, sort of like I was viewing a 3D picture, but I wasn't 'looking around', like you suggest here - beneath, behind, on either side, etc. I will explore this for sure.

Knotty Veneer wrote:When learning a sadhana I often pause just before the section which describes the field of merit and build the visualization in my mind before reciting the text. If I am practising with a group I will often wait until the mantra recitation to build it up if I cannot do it during the recitation of the text.


This is very helpful as well. I have done some of this during sadhana practice at home (pausing to build up the visualization before reciting the text) and have found it to be very effective. During group practice, since we are reciting a text together, I was not able to do this so much at times. I will try what you suggest though, to build up the visualization during the mantra.
Last edited by Vajratantrika on Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Questions on visualizations

Postby Vajratantrika » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:53 am

conebeckham wrote:I cannot recommend strongly enough the book "Creation and Completion: Essential Points of Tantric Meditation" by Jamgon Kongtrul, translated by Sarah Harding, if you are engaged in deity visualization.

A quote: "The clear form of the deity is the luminous appearance of your own mind, and the unclear, disastisfying experience is also your mind!".


I love that quote, and how true! I will try to obtain this book.

conebeckham wrote:As for visualization, it is a mental activity, not an activity that engages the "visual sense." This is an important point. We're talking about a "mental image." Successful Visualization is really primarily about familiarity, I think. For example, if I ask you to think of, or "envision" a hammer, you will find it easy, I think, to envision a hammer in your mind's eye. You're probably doing it right now!! Right?


Hahaha, I am!

conebeckham wrote:Yidam deities, etc., are just like that, really--only more complex in the details. It requires some training and time to "flesh out" all the details. The other stumbling block is that we are told that "our bodies" arise as the deity. This is hard for some people--envisioning a hammer is not so hard, but envisioning ourselves as a hammer...well, that's a sort of "replacement," isn' t it? To help surmount this hurdle, it's useful to think about one's normal "body image" as a mental construct--which it is, really--it's quite rare that we are aware of our entire body all at once, visually. But we carry around a mental image of our entire body, which we identify as ourselves, mentally. The coarse level of deity yoga practice involves just this: Replacing that self-image with the yidam's body.

I hope these are helpful comments. Kongtrul's text is essential, IMO, if one wants to understand how these practices function.


Oh yes, your comments are very helpful. Thank you for sharing them. Patience, effort and practice to get from visualizing the deity to visualizing myself as the deity. I especially like the point you make about one's ordinary body image is really just a mental construct when we get right down to it. Replacing this with the yidam's body...that becomes easier when recalling this. Totally makes sense. Thanks again.
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Re: Questions on visualizations

Postby conebeckham » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:26 pm

Konchog1 wrote:During Daily Activities, there is no clear appearance right? Just divine pride?



I think in general, yes...Divine Pride is the most important thing in daily life, but on occasion it's good to recall clear appearance, though in general I don't think we "envision" our normal body image much during daily activity. So it would be the same with the yidam's appearance.
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Re: Questions on visualizations

Postby Yudron » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:38 pm

Traditions really are different on this, no joke. It is important to be congruent with your lama's approach. Why? Because the deity is your lama, and deity practice is Guru Yoga. The great rime lamas are able to go to a Kagyu center and teach exactly according to that approach and a Sakya center and teach the Sakya way, but we are ordinary simple householders who should learn one way well.

One's approach to visualization reflects the general approach to deity yoga in one's lineage.
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Re: Questions on visualizations

Postby conebeckham » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:29 pm

I both agree and disagree, Yudron. How's that for equivocation? :shrug: :smile:

Listen, Kagyupas practice so-called "Sarma" deity practices, and also "terma" (Nyingma) practices, as a matter of course. We Karma Kagyupas like the Chogling Tersar, Konchok Chidu, and of course Yongay Mingyur Dorje's Termas have become a central part of our lineage, along with the Sarma practices of Phagmo, Demchok, etc. The details DO differ, as to how deities are generated, and their nature, etc., etc. No doubt about it. But I think it's possible to learn more than one way, and to understand there are a variety of methods, that complement each other, and "tease out" meaning, but I think these methods shouldn't be mixed. I'm pretty sure all lineages equate the Yidam deity with the Guru, at some level, as well.

On the other hand, I think trying to practice too many sadhanas at once is probably not a good idea for householders like ourselves. One approach is to incorporate all three roots into one practice. Another approach is practice three sadhanas, for each of the roots, and often various systems will combine these anyway. Another point to be made, is that some Lamas recommend a daily practice that incorporates all levels of Tantra--and there are methods to accommodate this within a single sadhana.

It's a huge topic, actually, and maybe not one for too much public discussion, now that I think about it. Which may have been your main point, after all! :smile:
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Re: Questions on visualizations

Postby TaTa » Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:51 am

conebeckham wrote:I cannot recommend strongly enough the book "Creation and Completion: Essential Points of Tantric Meditation" by Jamgon Kongtrul, translated by Sarah Harding, if you are engaged in deity visualization.

A quote: "The clear form of the deity is the luminous appearance of your own mind, and the unclear, disastisfying experience is also your mind!"

.


Im very happy to read this. Im a bout to start a seminar about that book and this kind of practice in a couple of weeks. =)
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