Our enlightened nature is always present. It's beyond the reach of any intellect which is populated by emotional and cognitive attachments.
The purpose of all Buddhist paths is to reduce the interfering noise of such attachments so that the signals emitting from our enlightened nature can be detected.
Vajrayana has a unique and startling approach to "quieting the noise". Deities, mantras and sadhanas. Hundreds of them.
If you can reduce your noise, even the noise you're not aware of, then you will easily detect the candle flame of of your enlightened nature without deities, mantras and sadhanas.
If not, these techniques (yes, they are merely techniques) work together to create a huge bonfire that amplifies the light of our enlightened nature. This is an in-your-face method, apparently necessary for some of us!
However, it's not just these techniques. We also need faith, devotion and the blessings of the masters and the buddhas.
Deity practice can be a natural inclination or an acquired taste. I'd like to know, what's your inclination and why?
Please share your reflections in the comments below.
Lama Dechen Yeshe Wangmo