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Padmasambhava ("Born from a Lotus"; Sanskrit: पद्मसम्भव, IAST: Padmasambhava ; ; Mongolian ловон Бадмажунай, lovon Badmajunai ; ), also known as Guru Rinpoche (गुरु रिनपोचे), incarnated as a fully enlightened being, as foretold by Buddha Shakyamuni. Padmasambhava is considered the Second Buddha by the Nyingma school, the oldest Buddhist school in Tibet known as "the ancient ones". Around 767 he came to Tibet and helped construct Samye Monastery, the first Buddhist and Nyingma monastery in Tibet. Padmasambhava then revealed the Vajrayana of Tibetan Buddhism, with scholars, translators, and masters. His students in Tibet include the great master Yeshe Tsogyal and the "#Twenty-five King and SubjectsTwenty-Five King and Subjects".Schaik, Sam van. Tibet: A History. Yale University Press 2011, page 34-5, 96-8.
A number of biographies describe Padmasambhava's life and deeds. The Nyingma scholar Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche explains of his birth:
In addition to the Nyingma school, Padmasambhava is also widely venerated as a second Buddha by Buddhists in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, the Himalayan states of India, and in countries around the world. Buddha Shakyamuni predicted Padmasambhava's coming and activities in 19 Sutras and Tantras, stating he would be an emanation of Amitaba and
Avaloketishvara. Other accounts maintain Padmasambhava is a direct reincarnation of Buddha Shakyamuni.
For the most part, Buddha Shakyamuni taught Hinayana and Sutra Mahayana, and only taught Vajrayana to select students privately. As a reincarnation, Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche states that Padmasambhava "revealed the Vajrayana teachings in their entirety." The Vajrayana is also known as Tantra, and is based on the Mahayana.
In Tibetan Buddhism, the Vajrayana revealed by Padmasambhava has an oral Kama lineage, and a hidden treasure Terma lineage that was founded by Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal. The Terma are discovered by fortunate beings and Tertöns when conditions are ripe for reception. The Nyingma Dzogchen lineage has its origins in Garab Dorje through a direct transmission to Padmasambhava.
Padmasambhava appears to Tertöns in visionary encounters, and his form is visualized during guru yoga practice, particularly in the Nyingma school. The Nyingma school considers Padmasambhava to be a founder of their tradition. Padmasambhava established Vajrayana Buddhism and the highest forms of Dzogchen (Mengagde) in Tibet and transformed the entire nation.


Yeshe Tsogyal said there are
nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine biographies of Padmasambhava. They are categorized in three ways: Those relating to Padmasambhava's Dharmakaya buddhahood, those accounts of his Sambhogakaya nature, and those chronicles of his Nirmanakaya activities.

Chronicle sources

One of the earliest chronicle sources for Padmasambhava as a historical figure is the Testament of Ba (dating to the 9th or 10th centuries), which records the founding of Samye Monastery under the reign of king Trisong Detsen (r. 755–797/804).van Schaik, Sam; Iwao, Kazushi (2009). "Fragments of the Testament of Ba from Dunhuang". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 128 (3): 477–487. ISSN 0003-0279
Other chronicle texts from Dunhuang evidence that Padmasambhava's tantric teachings were being taught in Tibet during the 10th century. New evidence suggests
that Padmasambhava already figured in spiritual hagiography and ritual, and was already seen as the enlightened source of tantric scriptures, as many as two hundred
years before Nyangrel Nyima Özer (1136-1204)Cantwell, Cathy;Mayer, Rob; REPRESENTATIONS OF PADMASAMBHAVA
IN EARLY POST-IMPERIAL TIBET(pg.22). the primary source of the biography of Padmasambhava.

Biographical accounts

Khenpo Nyangrel Nyima Özer (b.1124/1136 - d.1192/1204), abbot of Mawochok Monastery,
is responsible for revealing the terma of "The Copper Palace" (bka' thang zangs gling ma), a complete biographical narrative on Padmasambhava which was located near Mawochok, in Lhodrak, Tibet. The narrative was also incorporated into Nyangrel Nyima Özer's history of Buddhism, the "Flower Nectar: The Essence of Honey" (chos 'byung me tog snying po sbrang rtsi'i bcud).Daniel Hirshberg, Nyangrel Nyima Ozer, Treasury of Lives, April 2013, The Copper Palace narrative forms the beginning at least of the hagiographical tradition of Padmasambhava, according to Janet Gyatso.
Guru Chöwang (1212–1270) was the next major textual source contributor on Padmasambhava, and may have been the first full lifestory biographer of Yeshe Tsogyal.
In the eleventh and twelfth centuries there were several parallel narratives of Padmasambhava, Vimalamitra, Songtsän Gampo, and Vairotsana.Davidson, Ronald M. Tibetan Renaissance. pg 229. Columbia University Press, 2005. At the end of the 12th century, there was the "victory of the Padmasambhava"Davidson, Ronald M. Tibetan Renaissance. pg 278. Columbia University Press, 2005. narrative, which details the greater role of Padmasambhava in the introduction of Vajrayana to Tibet,Schaik, Sam van. Tibet: A History. Yale University Press 2011, page 96. as revealed by Khenpo Nyangrel Nyima Özer's Copper Palace.


Most biographical accounts of his nature state Padmasambhava consciously incarnated as an eight-year-old child appearing in a lotus blossom floating in Lake Dhanakosha, in the kingdom of Oddiyana.
Padmasambhava became the adopted child of King Indrabhuti of Sambalak. Laxmikara, the sister of King Indrabhuti, was a master of Tantric Buddhism and spread Buddhist Tantra when she married in Subarnapur. It may be assumed that Padmasambhava learned Tantric Buddhism from his aunt Laxmikara and later, when he left Sambalak, he transferred the knowledge of Tantric Buddhism learned from his aunt Laxmikara within different Himalayan states such as Nepal, Bhutan, Himachal Pradesh, Tibet, and Sikkim.Trungpa (2001) 26. For debate on its geographical location, see also the article on Oddiyana.
Several scholars locate Oddiyana in the Swat Valley area of modern-day Pakistan. A minority theory developed on literary, archaeological, and iconographical grounds locates Oddiayna at Thankosh, near the modern-day city of Sambalpur in Odisha, India. Subarnapur may also be the modern-day Sonepur district of Odisha.
Padmasambhava's special nature was recognized by the childless King Indrabhuti of Oḍḍiyāna, and he was chosen to take over the kingdom. Instead, Padmasambhava left Oddiyana for northern parts of India.Morgan (2010) 208.Tsogyal (1973) volume I deals with Padmasambhava's life in India. Padmasambhava's choice in departing the kingdom is in parallel with the Shakyamuni Buddha's choice in departing his own father's kingdom.

Northern India

at Rewalsar Lake.
In Himachal Pradesh, India at Rewalsar Lake, known as Tso Pema in Tibetan, Padmasambhava secretly gave tantric teachings to princess Mandarava, the local king's daughter. The king found out and tried to burn both him and his daughter, but it is said that when the smoke cleared they were still alive and in meditation, centered in a lotus arising from a lake. Greatly astonished by this miracle, the king offered Padmasambhava both his kingdom and Mandarava.Lama Chonam and Sangye Khandro, translators. The Lives and Liberation of Princess Mandarava: The Indian Consort of Padmasambhava. (1998). Wisdom Publications.


Padmasambhava left India with Mandarava and travelled to the Maratika CaveMaratika, in Nepal to continue practicing secret tantra. They had a vision of buddha Amitāyus and achieved what is called the "phowa rainbow body,"
(Wylie transliteration: pho ba chen po, pronounced Phowa Chenpo) a very rare type of spiritual realization (Wylie: 'ja' lus, pronounced Jalü). Both Padmasambhava and his consort Mandarava are still believed to be alive and active in this rainbow body form by Buddhists.
There is a huge 64 feet tall golden statue of Padmasambhava, to the right of Shakyamuni, in the Amidev buddha Park located at the foot of the hill which houses Swayambhu Mahachaitya. The Park was built in 2003 which acts as the entrance for the pilgrims visiting the Stupa on top.

Vajrayana in Tibet

Padmasambhava's main consort Yeshe Tsogyal, also known as Karchen Za, became his student while living in the court of Tibet's King Trisong Deutsen.
Padmasambhava was given Yeshe Tsogyal, one of Trisong Deutsen's queens, as a spiritual consort.'Guru Rinpoche' and 'Yeshe Tsogyal' in: Forbes, Andrew ; Henley, David (2013).
The Illustrated Tibetan Book of the Dead. Chiang Mai: Cognoscenti Books. B00BCRLONM Together, they began the Nyingma school and Yeshe Tsogyal is called the "Mother of Buddhism". She was also among Padmasambhava's three special students (the King, Karchen Za, and Namkhai Nyingpo) and among Padmasambhava's "Twenty-five King and Subjects".
Yeshe Tsogyal became a great master with many disciples. Padmasambhava hid numerous Termas in Tibet for later discovery with her aid, while she compiled and elicited Padmasambhava's teachings through the posing of questions, and then reached Buddhahood in her lifetime. Many thangkas and paintings depict Padmasambhava with consorts at each side, Mandarava on his right and Yeshe Tsogyal on his left.

Eight Manifestations

alt=thumbGuru Senge Dradrog, a wrathful manifestation of Padmasambhava. (Painting in Tashichho Dzong)
The Eight Manifestations are also seen as Padmasambhava's biography that spans 1500 years. As Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche states,
In accord, Rigpa Shedra also states the eight principal forms were assumed by Guru Rinpoche at different points in his life. Padmasambhava's eight manifestations, or forms (Tib.
Guru Tsen Gye), represent different aspects of his being as needed, such as wrathful or peaceful for example.
The Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava belong to the tradition of Terma, the Revealed Treasures (Tib.: ter ma),Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche,
The Eight Manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava, (May 1992), Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche, Rigpawiki, the eight manifestations as terma, see: Eight Manifestations: Dorje Drolo, and are described and enumerated as follows:
  1. Guru Pema Gyalpo (Wylie: gu ru pad ma rgyal-po, Skrt: Guru Padmarāja) of Oddiyana, meaning "Lotus King", king of the Tripitaka (the Three Collections of Scripture), manifests as a child four years after the Mahaparinirvana of Buddha Shakyamuni, as predicted by the Buddha. He is shown with a redish pink complexion and semi-wrathful, seated on a lotus and wearing yellow-orange robes, a small damaru in his right hand and a mirror and hook in his left hand, with a top-knot wrapped in white and streaming with red silk.
  2. Guru Nyima Ozer (Wylie: gu ru nyi-ma 'od-zer, Skrt: Guru Suryabhasa or Sūryaraśmi ), meaning "Ray of Sun", the Sunray Yogi, semi-wrathful, manifests in India simultaneously with Guru Pema Gyalpo, often portrayed as a crazy wisdom wandering yogi, numerous simultaneous emanations, illuminates the darkness of the mind through the insight of Dzogchen. He is shown seated on a lotus with left leg bent and with a golden-red complexion, semi-wrathful with slightly bulging eyes, long hair with bone ornaments, moustache and beard, bare-chested with a tiger-skin skirt, right hand holds a khatvanga and left hand is in a mudra, interacting with the sun.
  3. Guru Loden Chokse (Wylie: gu ru blo ldan mchog sred; Skrt: Guru Mativat Vararuci, ) meaning roughly "Super Knowledge Holder", peaceful, manifests after Guru Pema Gyalpo departs Oddiyana for the great charnel grounds of India and for all knowledge, the Intelligent Youth, the one who gathers the knowledge of all worlds. He is shown seated on a lotus, white complexion, wearing a white scarf with ribbons wrapped around his head, and a blue-green lotus decorating his hair, holding a damaru in the right hand and a lotus bowl in the left hand.
  4. Guru Padmasambhava (Skrt: Guru Padmasambhava), meaning "Lotus Essence", a symbol of spiritual perfection, peaceful, manifests and teaches Mandarava, transforming negative energies into compassionate and peaceful forms. He is shown with a rich white complexion, very peaceful, and wears a red monk's hat, and sits on a lotus with his right hand in a mudra and left hand holding a skull-cup.
  5. Guru Shakya Senge (Wylie: shAkya seng-ge, Skrt: Guru Śākyasimha) of Bodh Gaya, meaning "Undefeatable Lion", peaceful, manifests as Ananda's student and brings King Ashoka to the Dharma, Lion of the Sakyas, embodies patience and detachment, learns all Buddhist canons and Tantric practices of the eight Vidyadharas. He is shown similar to Buddha Shakymuni but with golden skin in red monk's robes, a unishaka, a begging bowl in the left hand and a five-pointed vajra in the right hand.
  6. Guru Senge Dradrog (Wylie: gu ru seng-ge sgra-sgrogs, Skrt: Guru Simhanāda, ) meaning "The Lion's Roar", wrathful, subdues and pacifies negative influences, manifests in India and at Nalanda University, the Lion of Debate, promulgator of the Dharma throughout the six realms of sentient beings. He is shown as dark blue and surrounded by flames above a lotus, with fangs and three glaring eyes, crown of skulls and long hair, standing on a demon, holding a flaming vajra in the right hand, left hand in a subjugation mudra.
  7. Guru Pema Jungne (Wylie: pad ma 'byung-gnas, Skrt: Guru Padmakara), meaning "Born from a Lotus", manifests before his arrival in Tibet, the Vajrayana Buddha that teaches the Dharma to the people, embodies all manifestations and actions of pacifying, increasing, magnetizing and subjugating. As the most depicted manifestation, he is shown sitting on a lotus, dressed in three robes, under which he wears a blue shirt, pants and Tibetan shoes. He holds a vajra in his right hand, and a skull-bowl with a small vase in his left hand. A special trident called a khatvanga leans on the left shoulder representing Yeshe Tsogyal, and he wears a Nepalese cloth hat in the shape of a lotus flower. Thus he is represented as he must have appeared in Tibet.
  8. Guru Dorje Drolo' (Wylie: gu ru rDo-rje gro-lod, Skrt: Guru Vajra), meaning "Crazy Wisdom", very wrathful, manifests five years before Guru Pema Jungne departs Tibet, 13 emanations for 13 Tiger's Nests caves, the fierce manifestation of Vajrakilaya (wrathful Vajrasattva) known as "Diamond Guts", the comforter of all, imprinting the elements with Wisdom-Treasure, subduer for degenerate times. He is shown dark red, surrounded by flames, wearing robes and Tibetan shoes, conch earrings, a garland of heads, dancing on a tiger, symbolizing Tashi Kyeden, that is also dancing.
Padmasambhava's various Sanskrit names are preserved in mantras such as those found in the Yang gsang rig 'dzin youngs rdzogs kyi blama guru mtshan brgyad bye brag du sgrub pa ye shes bdud rtsi'i sbrang char zhe bya ba. See also image + description


Samye and subjection of local obstructions

The treasure Terma revealed by Nyangrel Nyima Ozer entitled "The Copper Palace", provides scholars with the basic narrative on Padmasambhava's time in Tibet, and is supported by The Testament of Ba. In Copper Palace and the Testament, King Trisong Detsen, the 38th king of the Yarlung dynasty and the first Emperor of Tibet (742–797), invited the Nalanda University abbot Śāntarakṣita (Tibetan Shiwatso) to Tibet. Śāntarakṣita started the building of Samye, but the work collapsed repeatedly. It was ascertained that local spirits, or demonical forces, were hindering the construction and introduction of the Buddhist dharma. Padmasambhava was invited to Tibet to subdue the demonic forces. The demons were not annihilated, but were obliged to submit to the dharma. The subjection of concurring deities and demons is a recurrent theme in Buddhist literature, as noted also in Vajrapani and Mahesvara and Steven Heine's "Opening a Mountain".
This was in accordance with the tantric principle of not eliminating negative forces but redirecting them to fuel the journey toward spiritual awakening. Padmasambhava successfully tamed the spirits, and the construction of Samye recommenced. The success increased the levels of respect for Padmasbhava, and supported the continued revelations of Vajrayana teachings in Tibet.


File:Padmasambhava, budha amithayuh statues, bailakkuppa.jpgthumbStatues of Padmasambhava, Buddha and Amitayus at Namdroling Monastery.
King Trisong Detsen ordered the translation of all Buddhist Dharma Texts from Sanskrit into Tibetan. Padmasambhava, Shantarakshita, 108 translators, and 25 of Padmasambhava's nearest disciples worked for many years in a gigantic translation-project. The translations from this period formed the base for the large scriptural transmission of Dharma teachings into Tibet. Padmasambhava supervised mainly the translation of Vajrayana Tantra teachings; Shantarakshita concentrated on the Mahayana Sutra teachings.

Nyingma school

Padmasambhava, with King Trisong Deutsen as a patron, spread Vajrayana Buddhism to the people of Tibet, and specifically introduced its practice of Tantra.
Padmasambhava is regarded as the founder of the Nyingma school. The word "Nyingma" literally means "ancient," and is often referred to as "Nga'gyur" " , "school of the ancient translations", or the "early translation school" since the first translations of Buddhist teachings and discourses from Sanskrit into Tibetan were prepared by early Nyingma school teachers and students. The Tibetan script and grammar were actually created for this endeavour.
The Nyingma school has a Kama lineage, based on an oral transmission lineage, and a Terma lineage, based on revealed hidden terma treasures, which are found and disseminated when conditions are ripe for the reception of the treasures.Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal. Lion's Gaze: A Commentary on Tsig Sum Nedek. Sky Dancer Press, 1998. The Kama lineage traces its origins to Padmasambhava together with other early translation school masters Shantarakshita, Vimalamitra, and Vairochana. Its Dzogchen lineage traces its origins to Garab Dorje through Padmasambhava.Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche, Beauty of Awakened Mind: The Dzogchen Lineage of Shigpo Dudtsi. Dharma Samudra, 2013. The origin of its Terma lineage is traced to Padmasambhava and Yeshe Ysogyal, while the Terma lineage is based on the Kama lineage.
All people in Tibet that became enlightened from the 8th century to the 11th century did so through practicing the Nyingma school's Kama lineage. The Nyingma is the oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the other three being the Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug.
Originally, Nyingma teachings were propagated orally among a loose network of lay practitioners. Yogis, lay practitioners and vow-holding Ngakmapa practitioners were generally the earlier practitioners, while ordained monks and nuns and monasteries developed later. Padmasambhava is regarded as the founder of Samye Monastery, the first Buddhist monastery and Nyingma monastery in Tibet. Later, the Nyingma school's Six Mother Monasteries were built. Many of the Nyingma monasteries were destroyed before and during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and most recently demolished as at Larung Gar and Yarchen Gar.
The Nyingma school's lineage in Tibet remains centered in Kham in eastern Tibet, and monasteries founded by exiled Tibetan lamas are located in Nepal and throughout India. The Tibetan diaspora has caused the Nyingma school to flourish in Europe and in the Americas, and to spread most recently into Russia.


Bhutan has many important pilgrimage places associated with Padmasambhava. The most famous is Paro Taktsang or "Tiger's Nest" monastery which is built on a sheer cliff wall about 900m above the floor of Paro valley. It was built around the Taktsang Senge Samdup (stag tshang seng ge bsam grub) cave where he is said to have meditated in the 8th Century. He flew there from Tibet on the back of Yeshe Tsogyal, whom he transformed into a flying tigress for the purpose of the trip. Later he travelled to Bumthang district to subdue a powerful deity offended by a local king. According to legend, Padmasambhava's body imprint can be found in the wall of a cave at nearby Kurje Lhakhang temple.

Iconography and attributes


thumbrightWall painting at Paro Bridge, Bhutan, of Padmasambhava.


  • He has one face and two hands.
  • He is wrathful and smiling.
  • He blazes magnificently with the splendour of the major and minor marks.


  • On his head he wears a five-petalled lotus hat, which has
    • Three points symbolizing the three kayas,
    • Five colours symbolizing the five kayas,
    • A sun and moon symbolizing skilful means and wisdom,
    • A vajra top to symbolize unshakable samadhi,
    • A vulture's feather to represent the realization of the highest view.
  • His two eyes are wide open in a piercing gaze.
  • He has the youthful appearance of an eight-year-old child.


  • His complexion is white with a tinge of red.
  • Dress

    • On his body he wears a white vajra undergarment. On top of this, in layers, a red robe, a dark blue mantrayana tunic, a red monastic shawl decorated with a golden flower pattern, and a maroon cloak of silk brocade.
    • On his body he wears a silk cloak, Dharma robes and gown.
    • He is wearing the dark blue gown of a mantra practitioner, the red and yellow shawl of a monk, the maroon cloak of a king, and the red robe and secret white garments of a bodhisattva.


    • In his right hand, he holds a five-pronged vajra at his heart.
    • His left hand rests in the gesture of equanimity,
    • In his left hand he holds a skull-cup brimming with nectar, containing the vase of longevity that is also filled with the nectar of deathless wisdom and ornamented on top by a wish-fulfilling tree.


    The khaṭvāńga is a particular divine attribute of Padmasambhava and intrinsic to his iconographic representation. It is a danda with three severed heads denoting the three kayas (the three bodies of a Buddha, the dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, and nirmanakaya), crowned by a trishula, and dressed with a sash of the Himalayan Rainbow or Five Pure Lights of the Mahabhuta. The iconography is utilized in various Tantric cycles by practitioners as symbols to hidden meanings in transmitted practices.
    • Cradled in his left arm he holds the three-pointed khatvanga (trident) symbolizing the Princess consort Mandarava, one of his two main consorts. who arouses the wisdom of bliss and emptiness, concealed as the three-pointed khatvanga trident. Other sources say that the khatvanga represents the Lady Yeshe Tsogyal, his primary consort and main disciple.John Huntington and Dina Bangdel. The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art. Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio, and Serindia Publications, Chicago. 2004. p. 358.
    • Its three points represent the essence, nature and compassionate energy (ngowo, rangshyin and tukjé).
    • Below these three prongs are three severed heads, dry, fresh and rotten, symbolizing the dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya.
    • Nine iron rings adorning the prongs represent the nine yanas.
    • Five-coloured strips of silk symbolize the five wisdoms
    • The khatvanga is also adorned with locks of hair from dead and living mamos and dakinis, as a sign that the Master subjugated them all when he practised austerities in the Eight Great Charnel Grounds.Chökyi Drakpa, A Torch for the Path to Omniscience: A Word by Word Commentary on the Text of the Longchen Nyingtik Preliminary Practices.


  • He is seated with his two feet in the royal posture.Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, Illuminating the Excellent Path to Omniscience
  • Surrounding

  • All around him, within a lattice of five-coloured light, appear the eight vidyadharas of India, the twenty-five disciples of Tibet, the deities of the three roots, and an ocean of oath-bound protectorsPatrul Rinpoche, Brief Guide to the Ngöndro Visualization
  • There are further iconographies and meanings in more advanced and secret stages.


    Pure-land Paradise

    His Pureland Paradise is Zangdok Palri (the Copper-Coloured Mountain).Schmidt and Binder 1993, pp. 252-53.

    Samantabhadra and Samantabhadri

    Padmasambhava said:
    Another translation of Guru Rinpoche's statement is:

    Teachings and practices of Padmasambhava

    The Vajra Guru mantra

    Image:Vajra Guru Mantra.svgthumbThe Vajra Guru Mantra in Lanydza and Tibetan script.
    The Vajra Guru (Padmasambhava) mantra Om Ah Hum Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum is favoured and held in esteem by sadhakas. Like most Sanskritic mantras in Tibet, the Tibetan pronunciation demonstrates dialectic variation and is generally Om Ah Hung Benza Guru Pema Siddhi Hung. In the Vajrayana traditions, particularly of the Nyingmapa, it is held to be a powerful mantra engendering communion with the Three Vajras of Padmasambhava's mindstream and by his grace, all enlightened beings.Sogyal Rinpoche (1992). The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, pp. 386-389 Harper, San Francisco. . In response to Yeshe Tsogyal's request, the Great Master himself explained the meaning of the mantra although there are larger secret meanings too.Khenpo Namdrol's Padmasambhava Global Project for World Peace The 14th century tertön Karma Lingpa has a famous commentary on the mantra. Benefits and Advantages of the Vajra Guru Mantra

    The Seven Line Prayer to Padmasambhava

    The Seven Line Prayer to Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) is a famous prayer that is recited by many Tibetans daily and is said to contain the most sacred and important teachings of Dzogchen. It is as follows:
    Hūṃ! In the north-west of the land of Oḍḍiyāna (hung orgyen yul gyi nubjang tsam)
    In the heart of a lotus flower, (pema gesar dongpo la)
    Endowed with the most marvellous attainments, (yatsen chok gi ngödrub nyé)
    You are renowned as the ‘Lotus-born’, (pema jungné shyé su drak)
    Surrounded by many hosts of ḍākinīs (khor du khandro mangpö kor)
    Following in your footsteps, (khyé kyi jesu dak drub kyi)
    I pray to you: Come, inspire me with your blessing! (jingyi lab chir shek su sol)
    guru padma siddhi hūṃ
    Jamgon Ju Mipham Gyatso composed a famous commentary to the Seven Line Prayer called White Lotus. It explains the meanings, which are embedded in many levels and intended to catalyze a process of realization. These hidden teachings are described as ripening and deepening, in time, with study and with contemplation.White Lotus: An Explanation of the Seven-line Prayer to Guru Padmasambhava by Mipham Rinpoche, Ju and translated by the Padmakara Translation Group Tulku Thondup says:
    Enshrining the most sacred prayer to Guru Padmasambhava, White Lotus elucidates its five layers of meaning as revealed by the eminent scholar Ju Mipham. This commentary now makes this treasure, which has been kept secret among the great masters of Tibet for generations, available as a source of blessings and learning for all.

    There is also a shorter commentary, freely available, by Tulku Thondup himself.Commentary on the Seven Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche There are many other teachings and Termas and widely practiced tantric cycles incorporating the text as well as brief ones such as Terma Revelation of Guru Chöwang. Lotsawa HouseSeven Line Prayer, Accomplishing the Lama through the Seven Line Prayer: A Special Teaching from the Lama Sangdü, The Terma Revelation of Guru Chöwang


    Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal also hid a number of spiritual treasures (termas) in lakes, caves, fields and forests of the Himalayan region to be found and interpreted by future tertöns or spiritual treasure-finders.Laird (2006) 90.
    According to Tibetan tradition, the Bardo Thodol (commonly referred to as the Tibetan Book of the Dead) was among these hidden treasures, subsequently discovered by a Tibetan terton, Karma Lingpa.

    Tantric cycles

    Tantric cycles related to Padmasambhava are not just practiced by the Nyingma, they even gave rise to a new offshoot of Bon which emerged in the 14th century called the New Bön. Prominent figures of the Sarma (new translation) schools such as the Karmapas and Sakya lineage heads have practiced these cycles and taught them. Some of the greatest tertons revealing teachings related to Padmasambhava have been from the Kagyu or Sakya lineages. The hidden lake temple of the Dalai Lamas behind the Potala called Lukhang is dedicated to Dzogchen teachings and has murals depicting the eight manifestations of Padmasambhava.Ian A. Baker: The Lukhang: A hidden temple in Tibet. Padmasambhava established Vajrayana Buddhism and the highest forms of Dzogchen (Mengagde) in Tibet and transformed the entire nation.


    Many of the students gathered around Padmasambhava became advanced Vajrayana tantric practitioners, and became enlightened. They also found and propagated the Nyingma school. The most prominent of these include Padmasambhava's five main female consorts, often referred to as wisdom dakinis, and his twenty five main students along with king Trisong Detsen.

    The five main consorts or five wisdom dakinis

    thumbrightPadmasambhava in yab-yum form with a spiritual consort
    Padmasambhava had five main female tantric consorts, beginning in India before his time in Tibet and then in Tibet as well. When seen from an outer, or perhaps even historical or mythological perspective, these five women from across South Asia were known as the Five Consorts. That the women come from very different geographic regions is understood as a mandala, a support for Padmasambhava in spreading the dharma throughout the region.
    Yet, when understood from a more inner tantric perspective, these same women are understood not as ordinary women but as wisdom dakinis. From this point of view, they are known as the "Five Wisdom Dakinis" (Wylie: Ye-shes mKha-'gro lnga). Each of these consorts is believed to be an emanation of the tantric yidam, Vajravārāhī.Dowman, Keith. (1984). Sky Dancer: The Secret Life and Songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyel. p. 265. As one author writes of these relationships:
    In summary, the five consorts/wisdom dakinis were:
    • Yeshe Tsogyal of Tibet, who was the emanation of Vajravarahi's Speech (Tibetan: gsung; Sanskrit: vāk);
    • Mandarava of Zahor, northeast India, who was the emanation of Vajravarahi's Body (Tibetan: sku; Sanskrit: kāya);
    • Belwong Kalasiddhi of northwest India, who was the emanation of Vajravarahi's Quality (Tibetan: yon-tan; Sanskrit: gūna);
    • Belmo Sakya Devi of Nepal, who was the emanation of Vajravarahi's Mind (Tibetan: thugs; Sanskrit: citta); and
    • Tashi Kyeden (or Kyedren or Chidren), sometimes called Mangala, of Bhutan and Tiger's Nest caves, is an emanation of Vajravarahi's Activity (Tibetan: phrin-las; Sanskrit: karma).Tibetan Wylie transliteration and Sanskrit transliteration are found in Dowman, Keith. (1984). Sky Dancer: The Secret Life and Songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyel. p. 193. Tashi Kyeden is often depicted with Guru Dorje Drolo.
    While there are very few sources on the lives of Kalasiddhi, Sakya Devi, and Tashi Kyedren, there are extant biographies of both Yeshe Tsogyal and Mandarava that have been translated into English and other western languages.

    Twenty-five King and Subjects

    Padmasambhava has twenty five main students ( ) in Tibet during the Nyingma's school's Early Translation period. These students are also called the "Twenty-five King and subjects" and "The King and 25" of Chimphu.Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche, Illuminating the Path, pg 179. Padmasambhava Buddhist Center, 2008.
    RigpaShedra In Dudjom Rinpoche's list,Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History, pg 534-537. Translated by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein. Boston: Wisdom Publications. 1991, 2002. and in other sources, these include:
  • King Trisong Detsen ( )
  • File:Denma Tsemang.jpgthumbDenma Tsemang
  • Denma Tsémang ( )
  • Nanam Dorje Dudjom, Dorje Dudjom of Nanam ( ) (image on Wikimedia commons)
    • Drokben Khyechung Lotsawa ( )
    • Lasum Gyelwa Changchup, Gyalwa Changchub of Lasum ( ) (image on Wikimedia commons)
    • Gyalwa Choyang ( )
    • Dre Gyelwei Lodro, Gyalwe Lodro of Dré ( )
    • Nyak Jnanakumara, Jnanakumara of Nyak ( )
    • Kawa Paltsek ( )
      • Karchen Za, Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal the princess of Karchen ( )
      • Langdro Konchok Jungue, Konchog Jungné of Langdro ( )
      • Sogdian Lhapel, Lhapal the Sokpo ( )
        • Namkhai Nyingpo ( )
        • Nanam Zhang Yeshe De ( )
        • Lhalung Pelgi Dorje, Lhalung Pelgyi Dorje ( )
          File:Palgyi Sengge.jpgthumbPalgyi Sengge
        • Shuphu Pelgi Senge, Palgyi Senge ( )
        • Karchen Palgyi Wangchuk ( )
        • Odren Pelgi Wangchuk, Palgyi Wangchuk of Odren ( )
          • Palgyi Yeshe ( )
          • Ma Rinchen-chok, Rinchen Chok of Ma ( )
          • Nubchen Sangye Yeshe ( ), reincarnated as Terton Tsasum Lingpa
            • Shubu Palgyi Senge ( )
            • Vairocana, Vairotsana, the great translator ( )
            • Yeshe Yang ( )
            • Gyelmo Yudra Nyingpo, Yudra Nyingpo of Gyalmo ( )
            • Also, but not listed in the 25:
              • Vimalamitra ( )
              • Tingdzin Zangpo ( ) (image on Wikimedia commons)
                In addition to Yeshe Tsogyal, 15 other women practitioners became accomplished Nyingma masters during this Early Translation period of the Nyingma school:
                • Tsenamza Sangyetso
                • Shekar Dorjetso
                • Tsombuza Pematso
                • Melongza Rinchensho
                • Ruza Tondrupma
                • Shubuza Sherampa
                • Yamdrokza Choki Dronma
                • Oceza Kargyelma
                • Dzemza Lhamo
                • Barza Lhayang
                • Chokroza Changchupman
                • Dronma Pamti Chenmo
                • Rongmenza Tsultrim-dron
                • Khuza Peltsunma
                • Trumza Shelmen


                File:Pema Jungne-One-of-manifestations-of-Padmasambhava.jpgGuru Pema Jungne from a mural.
                File:Hemis Padmasambhava.jpgPadmasambhava statue in Hemis Monastery, Ladakh, India.
                File:Guru Padmasambhava sideview.jpgThe Holy Statue of Guru Padmasambhava at Samdruptse, Namchi, Sikkim, India.
                File:Entrance to Dawa Puk, Padmasambhava's cave, Yerpa 1993.jpgEntrance to Dawa Puk, Guru Rinpoche's cave, Yerpa, 1993.
                Image:Guru Rinpoche, Yerpa 1993.JPGStatue of Guru Rinpoche in his meditation cave at Yerpa, Tibet
                File:Vajra_Guru_Mantra_-_Tibetan_Script.svgMantra of Padmasambhava in Tibetan script.

                Biographies in English

                • The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation. Translated by W. Evans-Wentz. OUP, 2000.
                • The Legend of the Great Stupa and the Life Story of the Lotus Born Guru. Orgyen Chokgyur Lingpa. Translated by Keith Dowman. Dharma Publishing, 1973.
                • Padmasambhava Comes to Tibet. Yeshe Tsogyal & Tarthang Tulku. Dharma Publishing, 2009.
                • The Lotus-Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava. Yeshe Tsogyal. Translated by Erik Pema Kunsang. Shambhala Publications, 1993
                • The Life & Liberation of Padmasambhava (Parts I & II). Yeshe Tsogyal. Translated into French by Gustave-Charles Toussaint. Translated into English by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays. Dharma Publishing, 1978.
                • Guru Rinpoché: His Life and Times. Ngawang Zangpo. Snow Lion Publications, 2002.
                • The Vajra Garland and the Lotus Garden: Treasure Biographies of Padmakara and Vairochana. Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye. Translated by Yeshe Gyamtso. KTD Publications, 2005.
                • The Life of Padmasambhava. Taranatha. Translated by Cristiana de Falco. Shang Shung Publications, 2005.
                • The Condensed Chronicle by Orgyen Padma. Translated by Tony Duff. Padma Karpo Translation Committee, 2004.
                • Biography of Orgyen Guru Pema Jungne. Revealed by Adzom Drukpa. Translated by Padma Samye Ling. Published by Dharma Samudra (restricted).
                • The Great Tertön. Chokgyur Lingpa & Phakchok Rinpoche. Akara, 2016.
                • Following in Your Footsteps: The Lotus-Born Guru in Nepal. Jamgön Kongtrul & Neten Chokling Rinpoche & Lhasey Lotsawa Translations. Rangjung Yeshe, 2019.
                • A Short Biography of Padmasambhava by Jamgon Kongtrul, in Dakini Teachings. Translated by Erik Pema Kunsang. Rangjung Yeshe, 1999.
                • A Great Treasure of Blessings, pp. 10–33. Rigpa, 2016.
                • Dzogchen and Padmasambhava. Sogyal Rinpoche. Rigpa, 1990.

                See also

                • Padmasambhava Mahavihara monastery
                • Khenchen Palden Sherab
                • Boudhanath
                • Dzogchen
                • Crazy wisdom
                • Dudjom Rinpoche
                • Thinley Norbu
                • Yeshe Tsogyal
                • Mandarava
                • Trisong Detsen
                • Vairotsana
                • Śāntarakṣita
                • Vimalamitra
                • Garab Dorje
                • Bardo Thodol
                • Terma (religion)
                • Terton
                • Oddiyana
                • Samye
                • Epic of King Gesar




                • Dudjom Rinpoche The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: Its Fundamentals and History. Translated by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein. Boston: Wisdom Publications. 1991, 2002. .
                • Jackson, D. (1979) 'The Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava (Padma bKaí thang)' in: The Journal of Asian Studies 39: 123-25.
                • Jestis, Phyllis G. (2004) Holy People of the World Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. .
                • Kinnard, Jacob N. (2010) The Emergence of Buddhism Minneapolis: Fortress Press. .
                • Laird, Thomas. (2006). The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama. Grove Press, New York. .
                • Morgan, D. (2010) Essential Buddhism: A Comprehensive Guide to Belief and Practice Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. .
                • Taranatha The Life of Padmasambhava. Shang Shung Publications, 2005. Translated from Tibetan by Cristiana de Falco.
                • Thondup, Tulku. Hidden Teachings of Tibet: An Explanation of the Terma Tradition of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. London: Wisdom Publications, 1986.
                • Trungpa, Chögyam (2001). Crazy Wisdom. Boston: Shambhala Publications. .
                • Tsogyal, Yeshe. The Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava. Padma bKa'i Thang. Two Volumes. 1978. Translated into English by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays. and .
                • Tsogyal, Yeshe. The Lotus-Born: The Lifestory of Padmasambhava Pema Kunsang, E. (trans.); Binder Schmidt, M. & Hein Schmidt, E. (eds.) 1st edition, Boston: Shambhala Books, 1993. Reprint: Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004. .
                • Wallace, B. Alan (1999), "The Buddhist Tradition of Samatha: Methods for Refining and Examining Consciousness", Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (2-3): 175-187 .
                • Zangpo, Ngawang. Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times. Snow Lion Publications, 2002.

                External links

              • New World Encyclopedia, Padmasambhava

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