The serene and peaceful deities of the Tibetan tantric pantheon represent the highest aspects of enlightened mind. They are as empty and as void of substance as the shimmering rays of the rainbow, yet the tantric practitioner devotedly, and with much passion, visualizes and identifies with every aspect of the chosen wisdom - being. While recognizing that one's personal chosen deity emanates from one's own mind, and is but the play of consciousness, the tantricka maintains the noble pride and bearing of the deity, and the pure view of all phenomena as inherently empty. Paintings showing couples in sexual union are called yab yum. They celebrate the perfect state of non-dual awareness that is the result of the union of the masculine qualities of compassion, or skillful means, with the feminine qualities of wisdom, or emptiness. Realizing that true compassion is devoid of subject and object, the nature of ultimate compassion is recognized as emptiness.
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