a reply to: UniFinity
Will send you an email now.
Regarding visualizations, I personally do not do them.
They are done a lot in Mahayoga, very clear and detailed visualizations. In Anuyoga, which is considered higher, the visualizations are more like
visualizing the essence/feel/vibration of the deity, such as instinctively feeling the form and colors in a very subtle and quick manner. In Atiyoga,
which is highest, there isn't much visualization, as it is concerned with Awareness and the Nature of Mind, and working with Pure Presence and Space.
This is, of course, a very very quick overview. There are still some visualizations in Atiyoga, but they're more for the purpose of generating a
specific type of energy, it's not the main point of the practice, so it's for a specific goal, not the main practice. Because Mind is beyond creation
and completion, which are the stages of visualization as generally taught.
So the purpose is to realize the Nature itself.
I'll give you a quick explanation of visualization. Basically all human bodies are Nirmanakaya transformation bodies. Illusory bodies. With
visualization you "create" an illusory form with the qualities and attributes of a Deity, of a Buddha, and eventually you visualize yourself as that
illusory form, and learn to work with the channels and wheels and so on as part of Heat Yoga and Illusory Body Yoga and Clear Light Yoga (the first 3
of the 6 yogas of Mahamudra).
This practice generates a specific type of energy, corresponding to the mantra of the deity (which you practice during visualizations) and the energy
of the visualization itself, the colors, your work with (the visualized) channels (because for most people it won't be their actual energy channels,
just some channels visualized in their head or in some part of their body which may not be the correct one, as non-enlightened humans have a very
restricted view of their actual body). Hopefully you are then able to use that illusory body and its good energy to rest in the heart center, which is
in the middle energy channel, and using the very pure consciousness there, the clear light, to realize emptiness directly.
Once you realize emptiness and are enlightened, you basically have to stabilize for a long time, you start seeing your actual channels, which may be a
lot more incomplete and generally messed up than you had hoped for, and so on. Here it's hard to say, do you start working with your actual Vajra
body, do you continue doing visualizations, do you combine the methods, and so on, so many questions, so little time.
Why so little time? Because there is little good karma in the world, and human bodies are messed up. Even if you realize emptiness and become
enlightened, you won't be flying through the sky immediately.
So what this really depends on is wisdom, true transcendent wisdom, which can realize the right path of practice at any one time, and it also depends
on samadhi. On the basic non-conceptual power of your samadhi. If your samadhi depends on visualization, not so good.
Yes, the truth is you can keep visualizing the deity and so on, and grow from there, but true emptiness will consume whatever you visualize, and it's
time to move on to Anuyoga and beyond.
The truth is I never bothered with visualizations. I find Emptiness, Awareness and Samadhi to be superior for all purposes, and it has served me well.
If you gain samadhi and emptiness and cultivate emptiness and awareness, you'll eventually realize the clear light anyway.
And Clear Light yoga relies on mantra anyway, since that is the power that gives you the actual ability to go into the Heart center and realize clear
light. Without mantra, and with just a human body and human karma, good luck, won't happen.
So my advice to you, because believe me, I can feel people's karma and presence. My advice is that you need mantra practice big time, you need to gain
samadhi with some powerful mantra and change your karma, because it is at the same time heavy, in the sense that you seek a lot, and weak, in the
sense that you do not have a powerful practice of your own.
If you do not gain powerful samadhi, you may never achieve anything, or might get stuck under some human guru and achieve a few things very slowly.
Who knows. What is best is to gain samadhi, to realize the essence and deity of the mantra, and to help other beings.
Then if you want to do this type of yoga or that type of yoga, if you have the merit for it from mantra, it's not that hard.