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Kyerim (Skt. utpattikrama; Wyl. bskyed rim) is the ‘generation’ or ‘development phase’ of practice—otherwise known as visualization practice—the goal of which is to purify our perception into the purity of our inherent nature.

Sogyal Rinpoche writes:

The development stage consists of three phases, known as ‘the three samadhis’:
  1. The practice of Mahayoga begins with meditation on emptiness, the ‘samadhi of as-it-isness’ where all phenomena are realized as empty in their pure nature. This is the realization of absolute bodhicitta.
  2. From this state arise exuberant waves of compassion in what is known as the ‘samadhi of all-perceiving compassion’. This is the realization of relative bodhicitta.
  3. The union of these two is known as the causal samadhi, in which state arises a seed-syllable, from which rays of light emerge, purifying the entire environment of samsara and the beings within it into the nature of emptiness. One’s mind becomes this seed-syllable, which in turn transforms into the pure appearance of the deity. The mandala is seen as the palace of the deity. The form of the deity is the indivisible appearance of skilful means and wisdom. All experience is perceived as the retinue and activity of the deity. As one realizes that all perceptions, sounds and thoughts are the vajra-nature, one rests in this state of vajra dignity.[1]

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche says:

“To practise the Inner Tantra one should realize that everything is primordially pure. Accordingly all outer elements are not perceived as ordinary, but as the five female Buddhas. The five aggregates within the body are also not perceived as ordinary, but as the five male Buddhas. In the same way, the eight conciousnesses as well as their eight objects are perceived as the eight male and eight female Bodhisattvas. In this way one will not only see the purity of all phenomena, but one will also perceive the ‘great evenness of samsara and nirvana’. So samsara is not considered to be something to be discarded and nirvana something to be achieved, but as the Great Union of purity and evenness. Such a state is not something which has to be fabricated anew; it has been there since the very beginning.
The essence of Kyérim, or Mahayoga is to recognize all appearances as the deity, all sounds as the mantra, and all thoughts as the Dharmakaya. This is the most profound path, through which one can actualize all of the qualities of the body, speech and mind of the Buddha.”


Further Reading

  • Chögyam Trungpa and Herbert V. Guenther, The Dawn of Tantra, Shambala, 1975
  • Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Pure Appearance, Development and Completion Stages in Vajrayana Practice, Translated by Ane Jinba Palmo, Vajravairochana, 2002
  • Gyatrul Rinpoche, Generating the Deity, Translated by Sangye Khandro, Snow Lion, 1996
  • Jamgön Kongtrul and Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Creation and Completion, Essential Points of Tnatric Meditation, Translated by Sarah Harding, Wisdom, 2002
  • Jamgön Kongtrul, The treasury of Knowledge, The System of Buddhist Tantras, Translated by Kalu Rinpoche Translation Group, Snow Lion, 2005
  • Jikmé Lingpa and Getse Mahapandita Tsewang Chokdrub, Deity, Mantra and Wisdom: Development Stage Meditation in Tibetan Buddhist Tantra, translated by the Dharmachakra Translation Committee, Snow Lion, 2007
  • Padmasambhava and Jamgön Kongtrül, The Light of Wisdom, Vol II, Translated by Erik Pema Kunzang, Rangjung Yeshe, 1998
  • Ringu Tulku, Daring Steps Towards Fearlessness: The Three Vehicles of Buddhism, Snow Lion, 2005 (Includes a translation and commentary to Do Khyentse's Babble of a Fool, a text on Kyerim)
  • Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Rainbow Painting, Translated by Erik Pema Kunzang, Rangjung Yeshe, 1995