After we have generated ourselves as the guru deity, we typically train in divine pride. We first typically make offerings and praises to ourself as the self-generation. It may seem a bit strange to make offerings to ourself, but this practice actually has deep meaning. We are not making offerings and praises to our ordinary self and our ordinary contaminated aggregates. That is the job of our pride, and it is foolish to do so. Our contaminated aggregates are our samsara and they are to be completely abandoned.
Here the feeling should be exactly the same as when we are making offerings and praises to the field of merit during our guru yoga practice. We are making offerings to our guru in the aspect of the deity. The difference is two-fold: first, the guru is all around us instead of in-front; and second, there is no us there at all! There is just the guru. We should have no sense of our ordinary self at all. We should hardly have any sense of self at all either. Rather, we have the feeling that there is just the guru deity in our mind. If the only object in our mind is the guru and we naturally identify with our mind, then through the backdoor we can feel as if we are the guru deity. But in the beginning, we should place our primary emphasis on thinking there is only the guru deity in our mind, with no other objects whatsoever.
When we make the offerings, we imagine that countless offering goddesses emanated out from the HUM at your heart and make offerings to yourself as the guru deity, giving rise to a feeling of great bliss. This enables you to accumulate the merit necessary to attain the vajra body of the guru deity. When we make the praises, we should feel like we are invoking the guru deity of the self-generation to accomplish his function for both ourself and for all living beings.
When we engage in the actual self-generation meditation, I find it helpful to maintain the following recognitions.
- The things that I normally see do not exist at all and they have completely disappeared into the clear light of my very subtle mind. We imagine that all conventional phenomena dissolve into the clear light emptiness of our very subtle mind, which is understood to be inside the hearts of all living beings
- The self-generation is occurring inside the “sphere of emptiness.” Geshe-la says we should engage in our meditation ‘inside emptiness.’ It should feel that everything is taking place ‘inside emptiness.’
- I appear myself as the guru deity. The wording here is very precise. We appear ourselves as the guru deity. It is an active process of appearing ourself, not a passive statement of fact that we appear in a particular way.
- I am complete with all the details. Here we engage in a brief checking meditation of ourself as the guru deity, recalling all of the different functions indicated by the the meaning of each aspect of the self-generation. We can find the explanations of the symbolism of the different aspects of the self-generation in our various Kadampa books. In particular, we should view each aspect of the self-generation as the guru deity’s ability to perform a particular function. For example, the tiger skin around the waist of Heruka symbolizes his ability to pacify all conflict and anger. So when we do this part of the checking meditation, we should think, “this tiger skin is my ability to pacify all conflicts and help all beings overcome their anger.” In particular, the main function of every deity is to bestowg the realization of the union of bliss and emptiness. We should think that we wish to plant an immovable vajra of the realization of great bliss and emptiness into our karmic world. Since this vajra is unmovable, it will eventually transform and purify the entire world, like putting a light saber into a metal wall that gradually destroys the wall.
- The mandala is my body of great bliss. We should feel like the entire mandala is our body, not just the guru-deity in the middle. We experience everything as our body of great bliss.
- The mandala is the same nature as my indestructible drop, wind and mind in my heart. We see the protection circle as our indestructible drop in our heart, the guru deity as our indestructible wind and the seed letter of the guru deity as our indestructible mind. These recognitions transform our practice of self-generation into practices of completion stage, and they cause our winds to absorb in this way.
- I have the power to accomplish the three functions. I have the spiritual power necessary to overcome my biggest delusion and those of others. Moment by moment, I am in the process of purifying the minds of living beings of the two obstructions with my realization of the union of great bliss and emptiness. Moment by moment, I am in the process of karmically reconstructing my karmic dream into a pure world. We can understand the three functions from the earlier posts in this series. Here we mainly train in the self-confidence of ourselves having the power to accomplish the various functions of the guru deity explained earlier. In reality, the different Buddhas are different aspects of our own pure potential, so whatever they can do, we can do. Here we are recalling that and generating the feeling that we can do these things. In this way, our training in faith and self-generation is a meditation for improving our self-confidence.
- I am the guru deity. The most important recognition for developing a qualified divine pride is the feeling that you are accomplishing the function of the Buddha. The clear appearance of ourself as the deity is a reminder of all of the different functions we can accomplish as the deity. We should strongly feel as if moment by moment we are accomplishing all of these functions inside the minds of all living beings. On the feeling of accomplishing this function, we impute I am the guru deity.