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Guru Rinpoche and Lineage Founder Padmasambhava, the Lotus-Born One

Padmasambhava, whose name means "Lotus-Born," was said to have been found as an eight-year-old boy, floating on a large lotus in India during the 8th century. He was adopted by the king of Oddiyana, but as an adult, he was called to Tibet to teach the religion of Buddhism, and was instrumental in the construction of the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet at Samye, under the direction of Trisong Detsen, the 38th king of the Yarlung dynasty and the first Emperor of Tibet. While there, is is said to have secretly taught tantric teachings to princess Mandarava, the daughter of a local king. This angered the king, who tried to have Padmasambhava burned alive, but the monk survived the flames by sitting in calm meditation. As a result of this miracle, the king gave his daughter to Padasambhava, and the pair went to live in Maratika Cave in Nepal, where they are said to have practiced secret tantric consort rituals. At a later time, Padmasambhava had another sacred consort named Yeshe Tsogyal. In addition to India, Tibet, and Nepal, he is also said to have lived for a time in Bhutan.

By the 9th and 10th centuries, Padmasambhava's teachings had become revered and he was venerated as a being of great power who introduced the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. He is also said to be the reincarnation of the Buddha's first disciple, Ananda, and to himself be a Buddha. He is consulted for wisdom or insight about the Dharma (the means of gaining such insight) and about the particular teachings of the many schools of Tibetan Buddhism instructing on how to break free of attachments and fixed concepts, awakening to true freedom. Padmasambhava is a fierce defender of their lineages, which are known as "The Diamond Vehicle" or Vajrayana and also as Tibetan Buddhism.

He is generally depicted as seated on a lotus, in keeping with the meaning of his name, and he is shown wearing a traditional pointed cap. As a bodhisattva, he is said to have given rise to eight guru or teacher manifestations whom one may seek out for assistance and wisdom: Padma Jungne, Padmasambhava, Loden Chokse, Padma Gyalpo, Nyima Özer, Shakya Senge, Senge Dradok, and Dorje Drolo.


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