The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Deity yoga (Tibetan: lha'i rnal 'byor; Sanskrit: Devata-yoga) is the fundamental Vajrayana practice. It is a sadhana in which practitioners visualize themselves as a deity or yidam. Deity Yoga brings the meditator to the experience of being one with the deity:
deity yoga (Tibetan: ལྷའི་རྣལ་འབྱོར, Wylie: lha'i rnal 'byor; Sanskrit: Devata-yoga)
Deity Yoga employs highly refined techniques of creative imagination, visualization, and photism in order to self-identify with the divine form and qualities of a particular deity as the union of method or skilful means and wisdom. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, "In brief, the body of a Buddha is attained through meditating on it".
By visualizing oneself and one's environment entirely as a projection of mind, it helps the practitioner to become familiar with the mind's ability and habit of projecting conceptual layers over all experience. This experience undermines a habitual belief that views of reality and self are solid and fixed. Deity yoga enables the practitioner to release, or 'purify' him or herself from spiritual obscurations (Sanskrit: klesha) and to practice compassion and wisdom simultaneously.
Recent studies indicate that Deity yoga yields quantifiable improvements in the practitioner's ability to process visuospatial information, specifically those involved in working visuospatial memory.