The father mother symbolism ("yab yum") is not an example of erotic art but is considered by the devout to be a manifestation of the Buddha's highest spiritual essence. It is concrete evidence presented in a most striking and graphic manner of the existence of enlightenment, denoting the highest stage of yoga in which there is no polarity, no discrimination and the truth is indivisible. There in meditation in the presence of this artistic revelation, one can discover infinite bliss and ultimate self-realization.
The feminine symbol (mother) represents transcendent wisdom, the direct awareness of reality as experienced and taught by the Buddha. The masculine (father) represents compassion for all beings which is the natural expression of such wisdom. Their sacred union is believed to generate waves of bliss and harmony, turning the world into a mandala and showering a rain of nectar that satisfies the spiritual hunger in the hearts of humankind.
Today, statues and paintings of "yab yums" are sought by collectors and boldly displayed in museums, while traditionally in Tibet they were created and meant to be seen by only the initiated. The arcane rituals associated with their display were also not for public consumption. Modern depth psychology has recognized that this imagery represents the deepest archetypes of the unconscious, integrating powerful instinctual energies of life into a consciously sublimated and exalted state. As a result, we are fascinated by this beautiful art form, wanting to possess it whether we are Tantric Buddhists or not!