The tantras describe not just one Buddha, but thousands. Tibetans believe that every living being has the potential to achieve enlightenment and this is the message of Buddha. The vast numbers of tantric deities reflect the infinite variety of human temperaments and cultural conditions. Focusing on his or her own potential for enlightenment, a tantric meditator visualizes that he or she is one of these Buddhas. Such a Buddha is called a Yidam, a tutelary or archetypal deity. By harnessing one’s own self-image through mediating on a Yidam, the tantric path aims at turning the deepest recesses of the psyche into an engine for enlightenment. Tampering with the foundation of the psyche can be dangerous, though – Tibetans do not practice tantric meditation without the guidance of an accomplished teacher. Training such highly skilled professionals, in fact, is the central goal of Gyuto and Gyudme Tantric Monastery.
“Some people may ask ‘Why are they performing publicly what should be esoteric rites?’ Perhaps these people feel that secret teachings should not be turned into a theatrical spectacle. But they need not be concerned. The secret interior path and its processes are things which the ordinary eye cannot perceive.” – H.H. The Dalai Lama.
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