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Who is Padmasambhava? The Life of Guru Rinpoche

Guru Rinpoche

The Lotus-Born Lord

Guru Rinpoche is a fully enlightened Buddha, but he is also so much more than that. His manifestation is that of one of the greatest sages of Vajrayana Buddhism. Needless to say, he had a miraculous birth, and one with immense purpose. He was born to serve infinite sentient beings through the power of his wisdom and compassion. He remains in Zangdok Palri Pure Land as the body of light where he manifested.

Twelve years after the Mahaparinirvana of the Buddha, a phenomenon took place. The rays of blessing light of the Buddha of Infinite Light touched a lotus in the Milk Ocean. It was in the Southwest direction from Bodhgaya. This was the birth of the great Mahaguru Rinpoche. He was born miraculously through lotus without human parents. This is why he is also called the “lotus-born.”

Royalty or Higher Purpose?

Indrabodhi was the King of Oddiyana. He and his ministers found the child while sailing across the ocean. After bringing him inside the palace, they enthroned him as the Crown Prince. All the arts of knowledge were bestowed on the young Padmasambhava with training and skills. However, he left the royal palace for his higher calling. He left to serve sentient beings through the path of esoteric teachings and sacred power.

Attaining Enlightenment and Immortality

Guru Rinpoche was a fully enlightened Buddha. But he needed the emphasizing the importance of following the Dharma. So he received various transmissions from both humans and non-humans, as well as Dakinis. He spread his teachings to infinite visible and invisible beings. And, through his invincible power, he pacified many negative forces obstructing his enlightening activities.

There was also a miraculous event in his life. He transformed a huge fire, which was intended to burn him, into the Rewalsar lake. This is how he flourished Dharma into the Kingdom of Zahor. Padmasambhava then meditated in Maratika Cave of Nepal with his consort PrincessMandarava. Then they attained immortality.

The Three Goals

The maha guru managed to transform his mortal body into “the rainbow-light-body of great transference." It was through the meditations on Dzogpa Chenpo. Guru Rinpoche visited Tibet at the beginning of the 9th century. The visit was upon the invitation of King Trisong Deutsen Monastery introducing Buddhism to Tibet for the very first time. He visited Tibet along with other Himalayan regions and accomplished three major goals.

Firstly, Guru Rinpoche tamed both human and non-human beings. They were those who obstructed the building of the Samye Monastery and the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet., He defeated the spirit forces on the top of Hepo Mountain near Samye Monastery. He made them take vows as the protector of Dharma and the Dharma followers. He also manifested himself in the form of Dorje Drolö, a wrathful form of Guru Rinpoche. It was in the cave of Taktsang in Bhutan. He then subdued the negative spiritual forces.

Next, his accomplished disciples were taught hundreds of different teachings and the wisdom of Vajrayana. The lineages of those transmissions are unbroken. They have been maintained by highly enlightened adepts for centuries. And, they are flourishing to this day. These lineages are widely spread to many corners of the world to this day.

He traveled to every valley of Tibet as well as Nepal, Bhutan, and Sikkim. He promptly blessed them as the Sacred lands. He did not just transmit that esoteric wisdom and teachings to his disciples. But he miraculously concealed them in the pure nature of their minds. He also concealed numerous symbolic scripts or texts and religious objects in different places. Such as rocks, statues, lakes, and space. Those concealed teachings are known as his famous "Hidden Treasure Teachings"

The Ter Teachings

Thousands of tertons, upon whom he has concealed the teachings, have miraculously been discovering thousands of volumes of ter teachings and ter objects. They discover it in the rocks, earth, lakes, sky, etc. These discovered teachings and objects are called "the earth ter." It has started from the eleventh century till today. Then, many of those tertons discovered the concealed teachings and wisdom from the nature of their minds. It was through the power of the rebirths of Guru Rinpoche's direct disciples in their memory. These discovered teachings are called "the mind Ter."

The Hidden Lands

His teachings are practiced in many places around the World, and not just Tibet. Guru Rinpoche also blessed many valleys such as Sikkim, Khenpa Lung, and Pemakö as "Hidden Lands."

“In the dark ages, people blame the decadence of the time as the culprit of their sufferings, but the sufferings are actually caused by their misdeeds. Nevertheless, when the devotees are facing danger, the safe places for them to escape to are the hidden lands."

One of the most famous body imprints of Guru Rinpoche is inKurjey in Bumthang, Bhutan.

He stayed in Tibet for about fifty-five years. Then, Guru Rinpoche announced that he was leaving for the lands of the rakshas. He bade farewell to King Mutig Tsenpo and the assembled devotees of Tibet on the Gongthang pass in Western Tibet.

The Departure

As Guru Padmasambhava looked up at the sky, suddenly appeared the dakinis and celestial beings with flowers, banners, and music. They were amid colorful beams of light with a beautiful blue horse adorned with ornaments. Riding the horse, Guru Rinpoche flew away through the sky before the eyes of all. He landed in Zangdok Palri, where he instantly emanated the Lotus Light Palace as a Manifested Pure Land. He still resides in Zangdok Palri, in the form of a “rainbow-light-body of great transference.” It is with an ocean of Enlightened Ones and the rebirths of many of his numerous devotees. Hence, he remains like the Ultimate-body and the qualities of Enjoyment-body and the display of Manifested-bodies of Buddhahood.

“Every morning and every evening, I will come to serve you

By riding the rays of the rising and setting sun.

On the tenths of the waxing moons, I will come in person.

O, my devout followers!

Arrange feast offerings in blazing vessels of precious gems

And sing the Seven Line Prayer in devotional melodies

With the sounds of music and skull damarus.

I, Orgyen (Guru Rinpoche) - from the Chamara subcontinent,

who, like a mother, cannot bear the cry of her beloved child,

Will come to grant my blessings.

This is a promise!”

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