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Buddhadharma : Summer 2018
FORUM | UNSEEN REALIZED BEINGS 69 surrounding deities, there’s also a more secular and psychological interpretation that these nonmaterial realized beings are, in fact, within us, that these are actually our innate qualities being awak- ened. How are we to understand the rela- tionship between these beings and these awakened qualities? LAMA TSULTRIM ALLIONE: There are two terms that we haven’t brought up yet that I think would be helpful: samayasat- tva and jnanasattva. Jnanasattva means “wisdom beings” and samayasattva means “pledge beings.” The samayasattva is the visualization the practitioner creates, and it relates to our fundamental buddhana- ture. Let’s say I’m doing a Tara practice. I sound her seed syllable, “TAM,” the sound frequency of Tara, and from that I create the visualization of her and visual- ize that I become Tara. That is samayasat- tva. But my visualization of myself as Tara is just samayasattva and is not yet imbued with the energy frequency of her wisdom energy; it’s just my idea or concept of Tara that comes from the description in the texts and the blessings of having received transmission for the practice. As a normal human being, we operate at a certain energy frequency, and what we’re trying to do is attune ourselves to a more refined, luminous, compassion- ate, open, vast energy frequency, and the vehicle for that is the samayasattva. Plus in Vajrayana, you always have lineage, and you’ve had the empowerment into the particular deity practice you are doing. That creates the ability to link with the jnanasattva energy field. So I would then send light out as the samayasattva and invite the blessings and wisdom from the jnanasattva—in this case the wisdom level of Tara—to come into me as the samayasattva I’ve created. Only at that point is one actu- ally “alive as the deity,” so to speak; one becomes the deity. As the samayasattva Tara, you send the light out and invite the wisdom being energy of Tara in. Then jnanasattva and samayasattva join together, and you are now transformed through the visualization into the deity, in this case Tara. You could say you actually go through an entire lifetime as the deity, from birth to death, during each sadhana practice, because at the beginning you are born as the deity, and then at the end you dissolve the whole visualization and rest in emptiness. ROB PREECE: I’d like to bring into this the recognition that we each have bud- dhanature, buddha potential. If we’re talking about Tara, the latency of that Tara potential is in our nature right now. It just needs to be woken up. So part of the jnanasattva and samayasattva pro- cess is making that link between the wis- dom being and our own innate nature. In visualizing ourselves as Tara, or open- ing to the connection to Tara, we’re also waking up what’s in our system already. We are beginning to make the connec- tion so that our experience is awoken and imbued with that wisdom quality of the buddhas. BUDDHADHARMA: Is there a range of practices that people take up in order