"When Lord Buddha was about to pass into final nirvana, he said to his followers, 'This worldly life is transitory and separation is inevitable. But eight years from now, in the midst of an immaculately pure lake in the northwest land of Oddiyana, one will appear who is wiser and more powerful than myself. Born from the center of a lotus blossom, he will be known as Padmasambhava, and will reveal the teachings of the Secret Mantras to deliver all beings from misery.' "

Life of Padmasambhava

Amitabha, Buddha of Boundless Light, manifesting as the emperor of the four continents, turned the Wheel of the Dharma and considered the six directions. Knowing a miraculous birth was needed to inspire faith in the Dharma and subdue the fierce deities of Tibet, he saw first Indrabhuti, who had lost his only son. His glance then fell upon the immaculate waters of Lake Dhanakosa, and next upon the kingdom of Tibet, where he saw the King Khri-srong Ide-btsan, who would cause the light of the Dharma to shine through the darkness. Then he caused a lotus to arise; within its petals an emanation of Amitabha took form of itself. This emanation would become known to human beings as Padma 'byung-gnas, the 'Lotus-born Guru'.

Although some regard Padma 'byung-gnas as a human being who performed specific actions at a certain time and place, the gter-ma tradition and other historical sources describe the Great Guru as the son of Amitabha, the embodiment of enlightened activity of the Buddhas of the past, present, and future. In this manifestation, Padma 'byung-gnas is the central Vidyadhara of a radiant mandala, transmitting enlightened knowledge directly to the hearts of those who open their beings through meditation. Padma 'bvung-gnas is often visualized as depicted here, seated on the brilliant disk of the sun on a throne formed of the lotus of compassion. Through his blessing, the Great Guru uniquely imparts the unity of all Buddhadharmas. Principally known through eight manifestations, Padma 'byung-gnas appears in count-less forms and under innumerable names to bring beings of all realms to complete and perfect enlightenment.

As Guru Padmasambhava, the master received the Mahasamdhi teachings from Surarivajra, a Nirmanakaya emanation of Vajrasattva, and the first human Vidyadhara of the lineage.

"Innate knowledge dominating the three regions altogether, mind which nothing stops, Buddha whom nothing changes, Surativajra, excellent fountain of the Dharma, knew everything, and Padma assimilated it. He concentrated on Absortion in the Pure Void, on the Plane of Essence which proceeds from it, And on the meditation which is self-created and unfeigned. He practiced abstention from accepting or rejecting pain or Awakening; As result, he obtained salvation through oneself, free from renouncing or acquiring."

Life of Padmasambhava

Padmasambhava, embodiment of Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya of the Tathagatas, and Vidyadhara of all forms of enlightened knowledge, transmitted the Inner Teachings of the Mantrayana to Tibet. Although he probably lived at bSam-yas for only a short time, most gter-ma texts agree that he manifested in Tibet for about 111 years, guiding his disciples' practices at retreat centers in remote sacred places. While at bSam-yas, he subjugated all human and non-human obstacles to Dharma transmission, and blessed the land of Tibet; he also transmitted the Inner Teachings to Khri-srong Ide-brsan and other major disciples, establishing the basis of the bka'-ma and gter-ma transmissions continued by succeeding generations of rNying-ma masters to the present day.

In Tibet the Great Guru concealed thousands of Dharma treasures in eighteen forms, to be recovered at an appropriate time by reincarnations of himself or his disciples. Records of his activities were kept during the reign of Khri-srong Ide-brsan; in all, over one hundred biographies of his life have been preserved in both bka'-ma and gter-ma traditions, including the Padma Thane-vie bv his consort Ye-shes mtsho-rgyal.


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