In Tantric Buddhism, the generation stage (T:kye rim; S:utpatti-krama) is the first phase of meditative Buddhist s?dhana associated with the class of anuttara-yoga-tantras in general and especially with the sub-class called 'Father Tantras' such as the Guhyasam?ja Tantra.
The generation stage engages creative imagination or visualization as an upaya or skillful means of personal transformation through which the practitioner (sadhaka) either visualizes a meditational deity (yidam) or refuge tree before themselves, front generation, or as themselves, self generation, to engender an alteration to their perception and/or experience of the appearance aspect of reality.
The complement of the generation/development/creation stage is the completion stage (T:dzog rim; S:sa?panna-krama).
Front generation is a form of meditative visualization employed in Tantric Buddhism in which the yidam is visualized as being present in the sky facing the practitioner as opposed to the self-identification that occurs in self generation. According to the Vajrayana tradition, this approach is considered less advanced, hence safer for the sadhaka, and is engaged more for the rites of propitiation and worship.
Self generation is a form of meditative visualization employed in Tantric Buddhsim in which the yidam is invoked and then merged with the sadhaka as an upaya of self-transformation. This is as opposed to the method of front generation. According to the Vajrayana tradition, self generation is held to be more advanced and accompanied by a degree of spiritual risk from the siddhi it may rapidly yield.
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