Deities—Demonic or Enlightening?

Lama Tharchin Rinpoche recounted this story several times whenever he taught deity meditation.

At a Los Angeles public talk on deity meditation, a woman challenged Rinpoche saying that deity practice was a demonic practice.

Surprisingly, Rinpoche said, Yes, I completely agree. You’re right. If you don’t understand their nature, then deity meditation is demonic and will take you further away from enlightenment.

Lama Dechen Yeshe Wangmo:

Even before fully realizing the nature of deities, it's helpful to regard ourselves as deities in both meditation and daily life.

We believe our bodies were born and will die. Believing that our bodies are real, we deprive ourselves of our bodies' inseparability with shunyata-emptiness or primordial purity and suffer needlessly. As for our mind, it also has no birthday. If we practice deity-mind instead of dualistic mind, all existence is suffused with wisdom-awareness and we do not create karma.

Rinpoche would ask me, How's your phenomena today? Will my phenomena be fighting with yours? He didn't mean how are your feeling or what's going on. He was asking if I was regarding myself as deity. So it was a check-in for me.

How has your path of cultivating yourself as deity unfolded?