There are all these different deities and all of them have lots of arms and faces and this is something which a lot of western people have difficulty relating to, because they’d say that, “Well, this is some sort of Tibetan thing or Indian thing”. We can’t really relate to it, so, “Why don’t we just throw it out the window and do something a little bit more western style”. This is really missing the point of what’s involved with all these various deities because they have many different levels of purpose and meaning and symbolism for all the different parts they have.
First of all the Tibetan word for these deities is the word “Yi-dam” and a Yi-dam is a personal deity to bind our minds closely with. We shouldn’t get confused by this word “God” or “Deity” and think that we are talking abut the creator God. It’s completely different.
What is being discussed is a certain type of image, being that we want to bind ourselves closely with, so that we take it like an ideal model of what we want to be. Continue reading