Tantric practitioners strive to transform themselves by using meditative and ritual tools with the ultimate goal of enlightenment or awakening. One of the primary instrumental practices of their training is visualization, or creating images in the mind’s eye.
The physical depiction of a deity is an important aid in this process. Thangkas of tantric deities are often displayed during rituals where practitioners are initiated into practices that focus on those deities. Series of paintings can also be used to elaborate the textual descriptions of a particular tantra. Displaying such sets of paintings in a temple enables familiarization with the forms of the deities. It is believed that by merely looking at such images viewers can improve their chances of advancement to awakening.