Excerpt from teachings by Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche
There are various stages of practice in Vajrayana, the diamond-like vehicle of Tibetan Buddhism. One speaks, for instance, of preliminary practice, main practice and Great Perfection. But in truth, the quintessence of all is merging one's mind with the Guru's mind. That is the meaning of Guru Yoga.
What sort of goal is to be attained through the spiritual path?
Do we have to create something?
In fact, to reach the ultimate point of the path, we need only to actualize the potential we already have within us, that Buddha nature which is simply obscured by some temporary veils, in the same way as clouds may mask the sun. The purpose of the spiritual path is to actualize this treasure we have within ourselves, through clearing away all the veils that obscure it, not to create something new.
In that process of removing the veils one has to go through different stages. The main manifestation of the deluded state in which we are now,not being able to recognize our true nature, is to perceive the phenomenal world as a mixture of good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant. The purpose of the practice in which we visualize ourselves as a deity and the whole world as a Buddhafield is not to fabricate again something artificial. It is rather to train one's mind to pure perception, which means to recognize the primordial pure nature of both our mind and the phenomenal world.
In order to do so, we need to gain the power to discard all the obscuring veils. That is the purpose of the four initiations. The obscurations that mask the Buddha Nature affect our body, our speech and our mind. So, through receiving initiations and then putting them into practice through meditation, those veils are torn apart and we discover that the ultimate teacher dwells within ourselves as the ultimate nature of our mind.