Concise Biography of Guru Rinpoche

Concise Biography of Guru Padmashambhava

 

Before passing into Nirvana, Lord Buddha announced the coming of the second Buddha, the great Guru Padmasambhava.

 

In the Immaculate Goodness Sutra we read:

 

The activity of all the Victorious Ones of the ten directions

Will gather into a single form

A Buddha son who will attain marvellous accomplishments,

A Master who will embody Buddha’ activities

Will appear in the North West of Oddiyana.

 

The tantra of the Perfect Embodiment of the unexcelled nature tells:

 

Eight years after I pass into Nirvana

I will reappear in the Kingdom of Oddiyana

Bearing the name Padmasambhava

And will be the Lord of Secret Mantra.

 

In the Tantra of the Ocean of Ferocious Activity, it is said

 

A Holder of the Deeds of Indestructible Wrath

A miraculous One without Father or Mother

Will appear as a Vidyadhara

In the Lake of Kosha in Oddiyana.

 

As prophesised Guru Rinpoche appeared spontaneously from a lotus flower in the Lake of Danakosha as the manifestation of Buddha Amitabha who sent forth light rays from his heart into a thousand petalled lotus bud to tame the beings of this world. As the bud ripened, an amazing eight-year-old child appeared adorned with all major and minor marks of Buddhahood. The religious minister of Oddiyana Trig na Dzin , who was looking across his childless master’s  kingdom for a suitable heir to the throne came upon the apparition and promptly related his discovery to the King. The latter came to see for himself and enquired from the Child:

 

Little child, who is your father and who is your mother?

What is your cast and which country do you belong to?

What food do you live on and what is your purpose here?

 

The Child responded

 

My father is the Wisdom of Spontaneous Awareness

My Mother the excellent lady, the Array of vast expanse

I belong to the indivisible cast of space and awareness

The unborn Dharmatatu is my abode

I sustain myself by consuming the concepts of duality

 

My purpose is the act of destroying disturbing emotions

 

The king was amazed and requested him to come with him as a son and object of veneration. He gave him the name Lotus born or Lake Born Vajra

 

Later, he ascended the throne and ruled the kingdom in accordance with the Dharma, he was then known as King Thorchokchen. He soon realised however that he could not serve the purpose of beings by remaining on the throne. He beheld Dorje Sempa with a retinue of 72,000 Bodhisattvas in pure vision, urging him to renounce the Kingdom, but his father did not let him do so.

 

He freed himself by pretending to accidentally let a trident slip from his hand as he was performing some ritual dances on top of the Palace and killed the son of an evil minister. According to the Law of the country, he was then banished to the charnel ground of Sitavana for punishment.

 

There he opened the Vajra sphere Mandala and obtained attainment in seven days

 

Later dwelling in these fearful Charnel grounds, he received empowerments from the Dakinis who gave him the name  Shantarakshita. Bringing all Dakinis under his command, he revealed his Buddhahood, but due to some people developing misconceptions as well as to avoid free indulgence in Vajrayana by future practitioners, he approached many Panditas, siddhas and Dakinis. He studied astrology with Sakya Sith Drub and Medicine with Dr Zhonnu and took bikshu ordination from Prabha Hasti who gave him the name of Sakya Senge.

 

He received all the great Perfection Teachings from his Masters, Garab Dorje, Shri Singha and Vimalamitra, gaining immediate realisation without practicing and having visions of all the deities. He was then known as Loden Chogsey.

 

To tame the wild kingdom of Zahor, he took Princess Mandareva as his consort, but the king saw this as a non-dharmic deed and tried to burn the precious Guru in a sandal wood fire. Returning to see after many days why the fire still seemed to be burning, king and ministers were astounded to see that Guru Rinpoche had transformed the fire into a lake and was abiding there on a lotus flower. Frightened and ashamed, the King and his retinue bade him for forgiveness and became along with all the subjects in the kingdom his faithful followers. He remained in the Kingdom of Zahor and was known as Guru Padmasambhava.

 

He then returned to Oddiyana disguised as a mendicant but was recognised and again set to burn on a large fire. Transforming the fire into a vast lake, he was known as Pema Thod Trang Sel.

 

He remained at the court of his father for thirteen years as the supreme object of Veneration and bore the name Pema Gyalpo ( Lotus King), liberating with his magical powers many heretical kings who were threatening the Buddha Dharma. He manifested simultaneously as

 

 

 

 

Sahara, Dombi Heruka, Birupa, Nagpo Chodpa and many other siddhas at several charnel grounds. He gave Vajrayana Teachings to many Dakinis and subjugated evil spirits from

whom he took the life essence turning them into Dharma Protectors and thus was known as Nyima Ozer

 

As he was practising in the charnel grounds of Jalandara, four heretical Teachers and their students came to debate with Buddhist Masters at the Vajrasana Temple who could defeat them in debate but could not compete with their magical powers. A dakini advised them to invite Guru Rinpoche who came and, transforming himself into a wrathful manifestation, conquered them with dakinis-subjugating mantras. The Panditas of Vajrasana named him the Roaring Lion Sengye Dra Drog.

 

 Moving to the caves of Yanglesho in Nepal, he took Sakya Deva as his spiritual consort and practised the combined sadhana of Vishudha and Kilaya, attaining the level of Mahamudra and at the Maratika cave, they opened the mandala of Amitayus and gained mastery of long life.

 

King Dritsong Deutsen invited Guru Rinpoche to Tibet as he was twenty-one. On his way, the great Master tamed twelve Tenma Goddesses and numerous other vicious spirit from whom he took the heart essence and made them become dharma protectors.

 

The King and the great Abbott Shantarakshita were trying to construct Samye Monastery but were hampered by nagas and evil spirit who destroyed their work each night. Guru Rinpoche bound all these mischievous beings and they helped in the constructions of Samye, this time achieving more at night than human did during the day, allowing the glorious temple to be completed within a short period.

 

Then Master and Abbott selected intelligent youths to whom they taught the dharma and set about translating the wealth of the Buddhist canon.

 

The king offered Guru Rinpoche his queen as a spiritual consort and Lady Yeshe Tsogyal, along with the king, king sons and principal ministers became the twenty five inner circle of disciples, who received all the tantric teachings directly from Guru Rinpoche.

 

Once as Guru Rinpoche was in Yonla Molung, numerous malicious demons and spirits inflicted great harm upon the People of Tibet. As Guru Rinpoche was about to subdue them, he was attacked by the giant Mu who had taken on the form of a huge tigress. Transforming himself into an exalted Vajra body, Guru Rinpoche jumped on the beast taking it as a ride, he took the heart essence of all evil beings and brought them to serve the dharma as protectors. He was then known as guru Dorje Drolod.

 

Foreseeing the difficulties lying ahead for the people of Tibet, Guru Rinpoche then set about to commit all the teachings he had given to writing and with the help of Yeshe Tsogyal infallible memory and some of the disciples, all were coded into dakinis script and hidden

 

 

 

 

all over Tibet in all the elements. Some were hidden in the rocks and mountains under lakes in the sky and some were transferred into space were they became inscribed in the mind

stream of the disciples who had accomplished those teachings. These hidden teachings known as ters or Terma are the characteristic of Guru Rinpoche incomparable Wisdom and

compassion the hallmark of the Ancient Ones[4] and ensure to this day the authenticity, freshness and actuality of the Teachings. Guru Rinpoche also left detailed instructions on who would rediscover these treasure in times to come and how these would benefit the people living at that time.

 

It is said that Guru Rinpoche remained in Tibet for about fifty six years, both during the life of King Dritson Deutsen  and that of his son Mutig Tsenpo. He further entrusted profound teaching to the king other remaining son Gyalsey Lhaje, whom he prophesised would become a terton for 13 consecutive life times[5].

 

Guru Rinpoche left many imprints of his hands, feet and even head in holy sites of Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet. Innumerable students received transmissions directly from him and many male and female practitioners attained the rainbow body .

 

Although the king and ministers as well as all his disciples tried to dissuade him from doing so, he left for the realm of the cannibals to the South west where he liberated the king of the rakshas, raksha Throden and assumed his form. He still dwells there , taming the beings and preventing them to harm humans on the Jambudiva continent. It is said that he will reappear at the time of the future Buddha Maitreya under the name of Drowa Kundul and will spread the secret mantra vehicle there once again


[4] The Nyingma School

[5] The last of these incarnations was Chogyur Lingpa, the reknown terton co author of the Rinchen Terzoed  Precious Treasury

 
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