Padmasambhava The Guru Rinpoche

Padmasambhava, The Guru Rinpoche is the common Tibetan Name. He is one of an essential Guru’s in Tibetan History and all the sect in Tibetan Buddhism highly revered him as their soul guru. He is credit for Helping Tibetan king Trisong Detsen in establishing Buddhism as the official religion for his royal court and his kingdom of Tubo. He is the founder of the Nyingmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism

When you travel to Tibet, you will find it pictures and statue in all the temples and monasteries in Tibet. We will also see lots of cave and monasteries associated with him. from the meditation cave near the Rongbuk Monastery near Mount Everest Basecamp to Shongba Lhacho pond near Lhasa. So he becomes one of the famous historical figure in Tibet you will need to know before going to Tibet.

Buddha Shakyamuni predicts the Coming of Padmasambhava

The Buddha Shakyamuni predicts guru Rinpoches appearance in this world. His arrival and activities are explicitly mentioned in nineteen different sutras and tantras.
In the sutra of Mahaparinirvana, Buddha announced his own Mahaparinirvana to his students who were with him. Many students were upset upon hearing the departure of their beloved master. Buddha turned to his student Ananda and told not to worry.

He said “eight years after my Mahaparinirvana, a remarkable being with the name of Padmasambhava will appear in the center of a lotus. He will reveal the highest teaching concerning the ultimate state of the true nature and will bring great benefit to all the sentient beings”.
Buddha said Padmasambhava would be more enlightened than Buddha himself. Though Buddha himself is fully enlightened, this is to emphasize for us to begun to understand the importance of Padmasambhava
Some account holds Guru Rinpoche as the direct reincarnation of the Buddha Shakyamuni, especially in the Nyingmapa school of Tibetan Buddhism. He also referred to him as the embodiment of all the Buddhas of three times. These prophecies indicate that Guru Rimpoche is fully enlightened and appeared in this world to help sentient beings.

The birth of Padmasambhava

Indrabhuti, The king of Oddiyana had emptied his treasury as a result of his immense generosity to the poor and needy of his country. In addition to that, he had no heir to succeed him as ruler, and he lost his sight. So the king went to lake Dhanakosha to find a wish-fulfilling jewel. He encounters this amazing eight years old child on his return journey. The king asks for his family, parent, country, his sustenances and what he was doing there — the boy reply.

My father is the pure awareness of Rigpa, Samantabhadra,
My mother, the space of all things, Samantabhadri,
My line, the indivisibility of awareness and space,
My name, the glorious Lotus-born,
My homeland, the unborn Dharmadhatu,
My sustenance, consuming dualistic thoughts,
My destiny, to accomplish the actions of the Buddhas of past, present, and future.

The king took the boy back to his kingdom and installed him as the crown prince.

Guru Padmasambhava was born in lotus on an island in the lake of Dhanakosha in the north-western part of the land of Oddiyana. The blessing of all the buddhas took shape in the form of a multi-colored lotus flower. Buddha Amitabha sent out from his heart a golden vajra marked with the syllable Hrih, which descend onto the lotus blossom. This blessing transformed into an exquisitely beautiful eight-year-old child. The child endowed with all the major and minor marks of perfection and Holding vajra and a lotus.

At the moment of his birth all the buddhas of the ten directions, along with hundreds of thousands of Dakinis from different celestial realms, invoked the blessings and incarnation of all the buddhas for the benefit of beings and the flourishing of the secret mantra teaching. Their invocation is known as the seven verses of the Vajra or the seven line prayers.

Marriage and Exile of Padmasambhava

Padmasambhava ruled the kingdom according to Dharma, leading in a time of happiness and peace. He was then known as King Tortokchen, The Turbaned King. Realizing he was unable to serve others and bring spiritual benefit to the vast scale, he begged for the permission to abdicate the thorn, but his request was refused. So Padmasambhava used a skillful device to escape. Realizing that a harmful minister’s son was at the point of death and would reborn in the lower realms. He dropped his trident from the roof causing the death of the child. The child was liberated and reborn in the realm of Buddha. Padmasambhava was banished and forced in exile.

While in exile he received many empowerments and subdued lots of Dakinis and Nagas.

Guru Padmasambhava in Zahor

At Bodhgaya, he displayed miracles and acknowledging as a self-manifested Buddha. Then he went to the land of Zahor. Although Padmasambhava fully enlighten, Yet he manifested as the average person received teaching and empowerment from all the well known spiritual masters.

The King of Zahor and his ministers arrested Guru Rinpoche and Mandarava and burned him alive. He transformed the pyre in a lake and was found sitting on the lotus blossom. This lake is the Rewalsar lake or Tso Pema in the present day northern India. The king offered Padmasambhava his entire kingdom, beginning from his garments. Many Thangkha and statues of Guru Rinpoche have portrayed him wearing cloth of the king of Zahor. One return of such devotion from the King and subject of Zahor, He thought them on the path and many attained enlightenment.

He returned to Oddiyana with Mandarava. There he was recognized and burned on a pyre of sandalwood. After some time, he has founded wearing a garland of Skulls and seating on a lotus in a lake of sesame oil. The garland of skull symbolizes liberating of all beings from Samsara through compassion.

Guru Padmasambhava was now known as Pema Thotreng Tsal (The powerful lotus born with a Garland of Skulls. For the next thirteen years, Padmasambhava and Mandarava remained in Oddiyana to teach. The king, Queen and many other attained realization and the Rainbow body. He was then known as Padma Raja (Pema Gyalpo) meaning the lotus born king.

Padmasambhava manifested himself as a monk Indrasena to inspired the great King Ashoka to have faith in the Buddhadharma. He defeated many Anti-Buddhist rulers. Guru Rinpoche was personed and was thrown in the Ganges. He made the river flow upstream and danced in the air. He earns the name Khyeu Khandung Tsal, a Mighty youth Soaring in the sky like a Garuda.

Padmasambhava has challenged and five hundred upholders of the wrong view in the debate at Bodhgaya. With the aid of a wrathful mantra given by the lion-faced Dakini Marajita, he reverses their magic. Lion-faced Dakini also thought him about the Prayer wheel which he taught in Tibet, and it is still an essential ritual.

Guru Rinpoche in Yangleshö

At Yanglasho, Present-day Pharping in Nepal. With consort Shakyadevi, Daughter of the king of Nepal, He practiced the Sadhana of Yangdak Heruka. Here indomitable spirits caused drought with famine and diseases for three years. He asks his teachers in India for teaching to counter them. Two men arrive, laden with the tantras and commentaries of Vajrakilaya. The obstacles were pacified the moment they arrived. Both Padmasambhava and Shakyadevi attained the third Vidyadhara level (Vidyadhara of the great seal or Mahamudra). He recognized that Yangdak is like a merchant engaging in Trade and Vajrakilaya as an armed escort. Trade can be great but so can be obstacles. He needs a guard against obstacles and overcomes them. So he composed Sadhanas of Yangdak and Vajrakilaya combined and bound the guardian of Varjakilaya to protect the teachings.

For the Dzogchen teaching, Guru Rinpoche is said to have met Garab Dorje in a pure version. He also received the Nyingtik teaching from Manjushrimitra. He then traveled to the Parushakavana charnel ground, there Shri Singha granted him the teaching of the three classes of Mind, Spaces, and Pith instruction. After conferring him the Outer, Inner and Secret cycles, Shri Singha bestowed on Padmasambhava the teachings of the Innermost Unsurpassed Cycle of Pith Instructions, the Khandro Nyingtik, along with all the tantras and instructions.

He stayed for twenty-five years, receiving and contemplating on this teaching. After that, he went to the Sosadvipa charnel ground and practiced for three years, obtaining an enlightened body that was “like the reflection of the moon in water, not subject to birth or death.” He also attained ‘the rainbow body of great transference,’ in which form he later went to Tibet. As long as there is service to perform for sentients being, Great masters like Guru Rinpoche and Vimalamitra can remain in this subtle light body, without dissolving into the Dharmakaya.

Padmasambhava in Tibet

Thirty-seventh king of Tibet, Trisong Detsen invited the great Pandita Shantarakshita to establish Buddhism in Tibet as Shantarakshita began teaching in Tibet and laid the foundation for the Samye monastery. This prompted the local spirits to start the campaign of disasters – disease, floods, storms, hail, famine, and drought. At the Samye Monastery whatever is built by the human in the daytime was dismantled by them in the night.
Tried of all the effort, Shantarakshita advised the king to invite Guru Rinpoche to Tibet. The king dispatched the envoys to Mangyul (between Tibet and Nepal). When the troupe arrives at him, he already knew about the invitation and situation in Tibet. He arrives in Tibet the year 810. He was then a thousand years old. He came in the rainbow body form.

Along the way to Tsedang, he subjugated all the local spirits and made them take oaths to protect the Buddhadharma and its followers. King Trisong Detsen received him at the Tamarisk Forest at the RedRock. He then when up to the top of Mount Hepori and brought all the local gods and Demons of Tibet under his command.
On the way to central Tibet, he began to subjugate the local spirits and made them take oaths to protect the Dharma and its followers. He met the king at the Tamarisk Forest at Red Rock, and then went to the top of Mount Hépori and brought all the ‘gods and demons’ of Tibet under his command.

The Glorious Samye Monastery was then built without any disturbance and completed within five years. Legends say, human then builts the monastery in the daytime and the nighttime demons helped to build it. You can still see some part of the wall built by the demons.

He then began undertaking an extraordinary wave of spiritual activities in Tibet. He invites one hundred and eight great scholars and masters to help to spread Buddha Dharma in Tibet.

He also undertook the project to translate the sutras, tantras, and treatises into Tibetan with the help of Tibetan translators. It is said that Upon the completion all the translation. Guru and all the translator gather around and dance. This begun the Tibetan Buddhist ritual of Cham dance.

In the Samye monastery, the first seven Tibetan Buddhist monks were ordained into the Sarvativadin lineage.

Departure from Tibet

Padmasambhava stayed in Tibet after the death of Trisong Detsen. He knew the Demons Rakshasa Cannibal. Living in the southwestern continent of Chamara were set to invade and destroy India, Nepal, Tibet (China). If they are not subdued, they will destroy the entire human race. After living in Tibet for fifty-five years, he left Tibet in year 864 AD.

We believe now he dwells in Zangdokpalri, reigning as the regent of Vajradhara, and thus he will remain until the end of the Universe.

Read more about the eight emanations of Guru Rinpoche here.

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