No. Tibetans have a different culture than we do. The way they hear and understand Dharma is different than what we hear. If you ask a Tibetan if the deities are real and you ask a Westerner if the deities are real, you will get two different answers. Since the topic at hand is how to understand the deities in the original context, the proper procedure is to ask an expert that has not corrupted the teachings with their quasi-secular interpretations that misapply the higher teachings.
Lets see, who has corrupted what teachings with interpretation. Please be specific.
So I proudly say again, with absolutely no qualms about being accused of racism, that in order to get the correct answer people should ask a lama of Tibetan heritage so as to not get a corrupted answer.
Right, because other people who have practiced as long or longer don't know shit.
The simplest way I can think to ask the question is, "Should I believe that the dieiy is actually present when I do my sadhana practice?" Then when the answer is yes say,"But aren't they all the nature of emptiness? (Or non-duality, or provisional, or nature of my own mind, or whatever your favorite idea that discounts their nature might be) The answer will be yes. So then go back and say, "So therefore I do not have to believe they are really present when I do my practice." Let me know what your Tibetan lama says.
When you do the sadhana, you are supposed to be the deity, it is not actually conceived as some external entity to which you are making an appeal. For example, when one makes offerings, prostrations and praises in a sadhana to whom is one making offerings, prostrations and praises? One is making offerings, prostrations and praises to oneself as the deity.
You arrogantly have elected yourself the defender of the tradition against what you perceive to be corrupting influences, but as far as I can tell, you have not actually understood the tradition you imagine you are defending.
...someone will have gone to the effort to have contact with the living tradition of the Vajrayana.
You do realize that I am someone who was appointed by a real, live Tibetan to be an Ācarya within the Sakya school, and someone who was entitled Lama connected with a Nyingma monastery (Donak Tharling) by another, real live Tibetan? And yet, somehow you seek to cast aspersion on us all who actually made connections with the living tradition of Vajrayāna because we don't accept your very skewed ideas of what this tradition states.