God and Vajrayana
In Vajrayana, there are many devotional deities to choose from, each representing a different quality. Deity devotion and inspiration is as old as humanity; indigenous people know all about spirit qualities of the seasons, for example. In Vajrayana, we choose a deity (or our teacher suggest one for us) that suits our need and that symbolises a certain quality, beit protection, inspiration, compassion … it’s ‘psychological’ Guru yoga. Until we mature, it sometimes helps to have an imaginary guide that we think has superior qualities to our own. As a group, we may pray and chant to one particular deity. Does being given one deity to believe in sound familiar?
It isn’t necessary to do deity practice but it may help some temperaments. We can start at pure consciousness and bypass deities, or we can do both: as individuals, we may choose whatever practice(s) work for us.
The outcome of all practices is inner silence of non-duality where we drop everything – including the deity. Vajrayana is devotional practice but the completion stage at the end of every practice is to rest in emptiness – pure consciousness. Deities are symbolic: they are not an end in themselves but rather, a means to an end. Devotion to any deity – or God – is a duality. If we bind ourselves to a deity, that becomes a religion and is dualistic.
Buddhism is the approach to ultimate truth, which is non duality. This is ‘not two-ness’ and has its source in the Vedas and Upanishads. There is one thing that we all have in common and that is consciousness – the very subtle consciousness of non duality, where there are absolutely no differences.
We all have consciousness, because we all have awareness. Subtle consciousness is being aware of this consciousness. Very subtle consciousness is the pure state of consciousness itself. Realisation is recognising that seeing and the thing seen (or thought of) are inseparable.
When we (very subtle consciousness) identify with objects or imaginings in the mind, we become caught, held and bound. The simple solution is being aware that we are free of this in the moment of seeing. We are outside the box, and this can be unnerving because there aren’t many outside with whom we can communicate.
If we fixate either on a deity or an idea of self, we dwell in a realm of fantasy, and this becomes a false security of belief. Both believers and non-believers hold dualistic ideas, and would like us to share their conviction.
We have been led to believe and, as such, are mistaken. Such beliefs – that we are reliant, and not able to free ourselves – have affected our social and political lives to this day.
The idea of one God and one teacher is a little limited, to say the least. As long as we belong to a group, we will remain separated.
We belong to one another:
rather than taking advantage of the weak,
the strong serve the weak.
It all depend on our view.