Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) Biography

Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) Biography

Who is Padmasambhava?

Padmasambhava also known as Guru Rinpoche is considered as the Second Buddha in Tibet. He was incarnated as an eight year old in the kingdom of Oddiyāna in a lotus. That’s why he is also called as ‘Lotus Born’. It is said that he played an elemental role for the transmission of Vajrayana Buddhism to the Bhutan and Tibet in the eighth century. He was a tantric master and was famous for his miracles.

Painting of Guru Rinpoche on a rock in Bhutan

Life story of Guru Rinpoche

The legend says that, he secretly taught the tantric teachings to the Mandarava, the princess of Rewalsar kingdom. When found out by the king, he tried to burn Padmasambhava alive. But the Padmasambhava could not be burnt. Instead, he was seen intact and in meditation. Impressed by the miracles of him, the king offered his kingdom and his daughter (Mandarava) to Padmasambhava.

With Mandarava he came to Maratika cave in Nepal to practice secret tantric consort rituals. During their practice time, Amitayus Buddha appeared and both achieved the immortal bodies in the form of rainbow body. It is also beleived that, both Padmasambhava and Mandarava, are still alive in the form of rainbow body form.

Both Padmasambhava and Mandarava’s other partner Yeshe Tsogyal reached Buddhahood, in fact Guru Rinpoche is often portrayed between Mandarava, on his right, and Yeshe Tsogyal on his left. In Tibetan Buddhism, Padmasambhava and his main consorts has hidden numerous spiritual teachings in the form of terma. Terma literally means ‘hidden treasure’. According to the tradition, it may be the physical object such as text which may be hidden inside the rocks, secreted in the herbs or deeply buried in the ground and lake. These are believed to be discovered in future by other masters in the favourable times.

Basically, Guru Rinpoche is seated in his royal posture holding the vajra in his right hand and the skull-cup containing the drink of longetivity and wisdom, in his left hand.

Padmasmbhava had five major female consorts, known as ‘Five Wisdom Dakinis‘ during his times. It has also been said that Padmasambhava has eight different manifestations of himself. They represent the different aspect of him in different times of his life.

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