The previous Kalu R. was pretty orthodox, so although I may not have been able to manage an exact word-for-word quote, what I wrote was close enough to what he said so that I think it is pretty reliable as representing the school. While he was alive he was one of the senior lamas for the Karma Kagyu, as well as being the lineage head for the Shangpa Kagyu.dzogchungpa wrote:Well, I don't know. Is that really what the tradition says?
Everything after that I premised by saying it was my own opinion. However in my own defense, that opinion was formed from a number of interactions and discussions with various teachers. My understanding is that the Shentong position (to which Kalu R. subscribed) says that the non-conceptual Wisdom Mind is free from contrivances, also called adventitious defilements. The Wisdom Mind is real. The samsaric mind has that authenticity as a basis, yet obscures it with the dross of our emotionality, habits, intellectual limitations, and karma. So our experience is contrived, superficial, inauthentic, artificial, etc. So in that context the deities would be, as R. said, pure expressions of the Wisdom Mind, whereas we are impure expressions.
But it is still just my opinion.