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Yidams

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In the Tibetan tradition, several types of figures are used as a focus for practice. Among them are found the so-called meditational deity or yidam, the lineage teacher or guru, the dharma protector who acts to overcome spiritual obstacles, and the dakini. All may serve as models of inspiration, as bestowers of grace or blessing, and as guides and protectors.

Yidams are sometimes referred to as tutelary deities. The "personal deity or yidam is usually assigned by the spiritual mentor, guru or lama in accordance with the student's personality and life circumstance or karma. Sometimes it is said that the yidam chooses the student. The choice can be made in any of several ways. Through dedication to, and the ritual observance of a yidam, habitual tendencies and inclinations can be modified or overcome.


When we consider all the great masters of the Indian and Tibetan traditions, we find that in every case, their accomplishment came about through their practice of a yidam. They chose a deity and guarded that practice like their very life force, and on the basis of that complete commitment to the path of deity yoga, they practised the stage of generation, the stage of completion, and integrated these arriving at their final realisation of complete accomplishment and enlightenment.

But nowadays there are people who say, “Oh, what a lot of bother! Deities and mantra, I hate all that. I’m just going to meditate.” And they sit there, and close their eyes, and that’s what they call practice. They say, “I just want to do effortless meditation.” But as Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche said, “Although there are people like that, I’ve not seen them gaining any sign of attainment.”


In one of the texts of Ratna Lingpa’s cycle of Vajrakilaya practice, there is a passage which recounts how on one occasion Yeshe Tsogyal asked Guru Rinpoche about the nature of kyérim practice. “Do we really need a yidam deity?”, she questioned. Guru Rinpoche replied, “If there is no yidam, where is the source of siddhis? Without siddhi, how could there be enlightenment?”


In fact, if we look at the great masters of the Indian and Tibetan traditions of Vajrayana practice, we find there is no-one who did not meditate upon a yidam deity.

In the Nyingmapa school, all the great vidyadharas have had a main yidam deity which they practised. If their practice was of a peaceful deity, it was almost always Vajrasattva. If it was a wrathful deity, it was almost always Vajrakilaya. Guru Rinpoche and Vimalamitra themselves attested to the fact that Vajrakilaya was their yidam deity.

Nowadays however, the Nyingmapas are perhaps the worst when it comes to practising a yidam on a daily basis. When Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö was giving the Rinchen Terdzö empowerment, he scolded us as Nyingmapa practitioners and said, “You Nyingmapas don’t do any kind of regular daily practice. You don’t even say the Sampa Lhundrupma prayer; you just lie around all day! We Sakyapas must do the path empowerment practice of Hevajra every day , which takes about two or three hours. You don’t do anything. You just lie around. You don’t do any kind of regular practice.”


He said to us, “If you want yidam deities, you Nyingmapas have more than anybody.” He showed us all the texts of the Rinchen Terdzö, which consists of dozens and dozens of volumes, and said, “This is filled with sadhanas of the three roots—lama, yidam and dakini—but none of you practises any of them.”


What he said was true. Perhaps the reason is that so many of us in the Nyingma tradition place great emphasis on the Dzogchen tradition and its effortlessness. Often we make the mistake of just paying lip service to effortlessness, while really just being kind of lazy.


Look at someone like Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. No-one would question that his realisation was higher than anyone’s, and yet day and night he would recite prayers and mantras and do his practice. And he was inseparable from Vimalamitra! Look at the kind of effort that he put into his practice. Then there are others who just don’t do very much of that at all. They just sit there with their mouths open.


On one occasion, I asked Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, “Is it necessary for someone with realization to recite prayers and mantras?” And he replied, “Someone who has that kind of realisation is like space. What harm could recitation possibly do to space?”And he continued, “To recite even a single mani mantra, or to recite the Vajra Guru mantra a few times, is only going to help. It’s not going to hurt, is it?”


grub pa bka' brgyad - Eight Sadhana Teachings. Eight chief yidam deities of Mahayoga and their corresponding tantras and sadhanas: Manjushri Body, Lotus Speech, Vishuddha Mind, Nectar Quality, Kilaya Activity, Liberating Sorcery of Mother Deities, Maledictory Fierce Mantra, and Mundane Worship. See also under Assemblage of Sugatas and Sadhana Section [RY]

rgyas pa'i rigs - increasing / enriching family [of deity / yidam] [RY]

rgyud sde drug gi yi dam - Yidams of the six tantra sections; rgyun gyi yi dam - personal yidam [RY]

sgrub pa bka' brgyad - 8 logos deities, 8 principal mahayoga yidams ('jam dpal gshin rje shed, pad ma gsung or rta mgrin, yang dag heruka, bdud rtsi yon tan, rdo rje phur ba or rdo rje bzhun nu ma mo rbod gtong, 'jig rten dregs pa, dregs sngags dmod pa, che mchog heruka combines the first five; rig 'dzin bla ma and spyil dril snying po are mentioned sometimes sadhanas of 8 great mandalas (yamantaka, hayagriva, vajraheruka, bdud rtsi che mchog, Vajrakila, ma mo rbod gtong, 'jigs rten mchod bstod, dmod pa drag sngags), 8 great orders of mandalas, sadhana practices of the eight Herukas [JV]

sgrub pa bka' brgyad - Eight Sadhana Teachings. Eight chief yidam deities of Mahayoga and their corresponding tantras and sadhanas: Manjushri Body, Lotus Speech, Vishuddha Mind, Nectar Quality, Kilaya Activity, Liberating Sorcery of Mother Deities, Maledictory Fierce Mantra, and Mundane Worship. Often the name refers to a single practice involving complex mandalas with numerous deities [RY]

sgrub pa bka' brgyad - Eight Sadhana Teachings; the sadhana practices of the eight Herukas; Eight heruka sadhanas, eight great orders of Mandalas, the Eight Logos Sadhanas / Heruka Practices. Ultimate yidams of the Nyingma tradition. 1) {'jam dpal sku}. 2) {pad ma gsung} 3) {yang dag thugs} 4) {bdud rtsi yon tan} 5) {phur pa phan las} 6) {dmod pa drag snags} 7) {rbod gtong ma mo} 8) {'jig rten mchod bstod}; eight great orders of Mandalas; (deities of) Eight Commands of Sadhana Practice cycle [RY]

dngos grub kyi rtsa ba - Root of siddhis. The yidam among the Three Roots [RY]

dngos grub kyi rtsa ba yi dam - yidams, the root of siddhi [RY]

bcom ldan 'das ma - bhagavati A general term for a peaceful female yidam [RY]

rjes dran drug - Six recollections. There are different lists of which the most appropriate is: Recollection of the yidam deity, the path, the place of rebirth, the meditative state, the oral instructions of the teacher, and the view [RY]

nyams len gyi dngos gzhi - Main part of practice. Refers to the practice that follows the preliminaries: either yidam practice or, here, the actual practice of Mahamudra or Dzogchen. According to Jigmey Lingpa, 'main part' literally means 'actual basis' in the sense that 'basis' means to have full intellectual comprehension of the practice and 'actual' means to have direct experience of its meaning [RY]

snying po'i sngags - essence mantra. The short form of the mantra of a yidam deity as opposed to the longer dharani mantra; for example 'om mani padme hung.' [RY]

ting nge 'dzin gsum - threefold contemplations (empty suchness, all-pervading compassion, clear seed syllables), three contemplations of bskyed rim practice of Mahayoga and tantra in general (contemplation of the essential nature where one meditates on the intrinsic emptiness of all phenomena, contemplation of total manifestation where one meditates on equanimous compassion for all sentient beings, and contemplation on the cause where one concentrates on the seed syllable of the yidam deity), de bzhin nyid kyi ting nge 'dzin, kun tu snang ba'i ting nge 'dzin, rgyu'i ting nge 'dzin [JV]

thang ka - Tibetan scroll painting, hanging scroll / painting, image, tangka, image [of a yidam] [RY]

thugs dam - tutelary god, devotion, contemplation, happily, spiritual power, compassionate pledges, holy opinion, advice, oath, vow, solemn promise, prayer, wish, heart-vow, yidam practice, experience and realization, realization, confirmation by oath, personal practice [JV]

dus kyi 'khor lo - kalachakra, a yidam, doctrine of kalachakra, kalachakra system, animated nature or living beings, SA dus khor, Wheel of Time, basis of zodiacal astrology, temporal cycle [JV]

rdo rje phag mo - Vajravarahi. A sambhogakaya manifestation of the female buddha Samantabhadri. She is also one of the chief yidam deities of the Sarma Schools, as well as a wisdom dakini [RY]

rdo rje phur ba - Vajra Kilaya. One of the main yidams of the Nyingma School belonging to the Eight Sadhana Teachings. Wrathful aspect of Amoghasiddhi [RY]

gnubs nam mkha'i snying po - Namkhai Nyingpo of Nub. Born in the district of Lower Nyal, he was one of the first Tibetans to take ordination. An adept translator, he journeyed to India where he received transmission from Hungkara and attained the body of nondual wisdom. Namkhai Nyingpo is also counted among the twenty-five disciples of Guru Rinpoche. Receiving the transmission of Vishuddha Mind, he became able to fly on the rays of the sun. When meditating in Splendid Long Cave of Kharchu at Lhodrak he had visions of numerous yidams and attained the vidyadhara level of Mahamudra. Eventually he departed for celestial realms without leaving a corpse behind. Namkhai Nyingpo means 'essence of space.' [RY]

rnam par smin pa'i rig 'dzin - Vidyadhara level of maturation; vidyadhara level of Full Maturation. The first of the four vidyadhara levels. The beginning of the path of seeing; the practitioner has reached stability in the development stage and his mind has 'matured' into the form of the yidam deity, but he is yet to purify the remainder of the physical elements [RY]

dpal gsang ba 'dus pa - Shri Guhyasamaja. Literally, 'Assembly of Secrets.' One of the major tantras and yidams of the New School [RY]

phag mo - Varahi. Vajra Varahi/ Dorje Phagmo. An important female yidam/ dakini [RY]

phyag rgya chen po'i sku - Bodily form of Mahamudra. The 'body of Mahamudra' refers to the rainbow-like form of one's personal yidam [RY]

phyag rgya chen po'i dngos grub - Siddhi of Mahamudra. Same as enlightenment. In the context of Mahayoga Tantra, it can also refer to the attainment of the third vidyadhara level in which 'Mahamudra' means the sublime body of the yidam deity [RY]

phyag rgya bzhi - 4 axioms (transitory, frustrating, no principle, bliss),

4 signs (mahamudra, dharma, samaya, karma),

4 mudras of yogatantra (phyag rgya chen po, chos kyi phyag rgya, dam tshig phyag rgya, las kyi phyag rgya), the four insignia of Buddhist teaching, four mudras of yogatantra (visualizing oneself as deity, concentrating on the seed syllable of the mantra, visualizing the symbolic attributes of the yidam, radiation and re-absorption of the rays of light) [JV]


bla ma yi dam mkha' 'gro - Guru, Yidam and Dakini. The three roots of Vajrayana practice:

the guru is the root of blessings,

the yidam is the root of accomplishments,

and the dakini is the root of activities [RY]


'bul gtor - offering torma to deities yidams, dharmapalas etc.] [IW]

'bras bu rdo rje 'dzin pa - the fruition of being a vajra holder [the yidam of the mantra path as rupakaya, a yoga of meditating in the development stage [IW]

ma ha ma ya - mahamaya (yidam) [JV]


rtsa gsum - 1) the three roots,


[[[guru]], yidam, dakini [+ dharmapala].


2) the three channels, {ro ma} / {la la na}, {rkyang ma} / {ra sa na}, {dbu ma} / {kun 'dar ma} / avadhuti] [RY]


rtsa gsum - Three roots Guru, yidam, and dharmapala. These three are objects of refuge in the Vajrayana in addition to the Three Jewels [RY]

rtsa gsum gyi lha - deities of the three roots. guru, yidam and dakini [RY]


dzam bha la - jambhala (yidam), tibetan pluto or god of riches [JV]

zhal mthong ba - to have a vision of [the yidam etc.] [RY]

zhi khro'i lha tshogs - peaceful and wrathful deities, {yi dam zhi khro'i lha tshogs} peaceful and wrathful yidam-deities [RY]


'og min du lhan skye kyi yum - Dorje Phagmo, for those who practice the {gsang sngags} the yidam descends and bestows the third initiation and by this there is the transition from tenth stage bodhisattva to buddha, the coemergent consort in Akanishtha [RY]

yab - father, male personage in yidam groups [JV]


yi dam - yidam; meditational deity; Yidam, a meditation deity, devata; meditational deities. personal meditation / tutelary deity [[[yidam]]]. deities who are the focus of meditation and means for attainment, and who confer supreme accomplishments [RY]


yi dam - Yidam. A personal deity and the root of accomplishment among the Three Roots. The yidam is one's tutelary deity; a personal protector of one's practice and guide to enlightenment.

Traditionally, yidam practice is the main practice that follows the preliminaries. It includes the development stage and the completion stage and is a perfect stepping stone for, or the bridge to approaching, the more subtle practices of Mahamudra and Dzogchen. Later on, yidam practice is the perfect enhancement for the view of these subtle practices [RY]


yi dam - 1) yidam; 2) promise, vow, oath [IW]

yi dam kyi lha rjes su dran pa - recollection of the yidam deity [RY]

yi dam dkyil 'khor gyi lha tshogs - the divine assembly of the mandala of the yidam [RY]

yi dam skor - yidam practices [RY]

yi dam gyi sngags - yidam's mantras [IW]

yi dam gyi sngags - the mantra of your yidam [RY]

yi dam gyi lha - yidam deity [IW]

yi dam gyi lha - yidam deity; chosen meditational deity [RY]

yi dam gyi lha - his yidam [RY]

yi dam rgyud bzhi drug - the yidams of the four and six tantras [RY]

yi dam bsgom bzlas - the visualizations and recitations of the yidam deities [RY]

yi dam rdo rje sems dpa' - the yidam Vajrasattva [RY]

yi dam zhi khro - peaceful and wrathful yidams [RY]

yi dam zhi khro'i lha tshogs - The peaceful and wrathful yidam-deities [RY]

yi dam yab yum - yidam with consort [RY]

yi dam lha - yidam deity [IW]

yi dam lha tshogs - host of divine yidams [RY]


yi dam lha'i phyag chen kyi lus - Mahamudra form of the yidam deity. The attainment, chiefly through Mahayoga Tantra, of the illusory wisdom body on the vidyadhara level of Mahamudra which corresponds to the path of cultivation.

It is a divine form of a deity endowed with the complete major and minor marks and through which the yogi is able to benefit beings in an extent which is equal to the sambhogakaya [RY]


yi dam lha'i zhal mthong ba - having a vision of the yidam deity [RY]

yum bka' - female yidam [RY]


rigs kyi bdag po - Lord of the family. The chief buddha of the family to which one's particular yidam deity belongs. For example, Avalokiteshvara's crown buddha is Amitabha. [RY]

gsang ba 'dus pa - Guhyasamaja. Literally, 'Assembly of Secrets.' One of the major tantras and yidams of the New School [RY]

gsung yi dam - his speech the yidam [RY]

lha - 1) gods [as in worldly gods, or Desire realm gods]. 2) deity, divinity [as in meditational-]. god, deva, 3) divine, sacred. gods. sentient beings of the higher realms. deva. gods within the three realms of samsara. celestial being[s), divine ones, pleasure being, yidam, deva. celestial being[s), yidam, deva. divine; god, deity, Deva; sublime [RY]

lha bsgom - meditation of a deity, to meditate on the [[[yidam]]] deity [RY]

lha rje su dran pa - remembering the yidam deity; recollection of the deity [RY]

lha rjes su dran pa -recollecting the yidam deity; mindfulness of divinity, one of the {rjes su dran pa drug} the six recollections / mindfulnesses [RY]

lha rtags - sign, indication of / by the yidam deity. Syn {lha yi rtags} divine indication [RY]

lha dang bla ma - the deity [[[yidam]]] and the master, deity and guru [RY]

lhag pa'i lha - supreme deity, special deity; especially exalted one [[[deity]]], supreme god / deity, one's personal yidam. Syn {yi dam gyi lha} tutelary deities, favored deity [RY]

lhag pa'i lha - your yidam deity [RY]

lhag pa'i lha gtso bo - chief yidam [RY]




Source

http://rywiki.tsadra.org/index.php/Yidam