The Venerable  Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche

translated by  

The Venerable  Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche


Padma Gochen Ling,  Monterey Tennessee


  • introduction













My father is wisdom

and my mother is voidness.

My country is the country of Dharma.

I am of no caste and no creed.

I am sustained by perplexity;

and I am here to destroy

lust, anger and sloth.

-Guru Padmasambhava-



The year of the monkey is known as the year of Guru

Padmasambhava. It is a very special time during which to discuss his

teachings. According to the lunar calendar, today is the twenty-ninth

day of the month, tomorrow is the new moon, and the day after

tomorrow is the first day of the third month of the Tibetan calendar.

All these aspects are very auspicious. I take this as a sign that you all

have a special connection with Guru Padmasambhava, so I feel very

happy to be here.

Those of you who are practicing on Guru Padmasambhava through

visualization, chanting the Seven Line Prayer and reciting the Vajra

Guru Mantra already know something about who Guru

Padmasambhava is. But for those who aren’t familiar with him or the

benefits of practicing on Guru Padmasambhava, I will give a brief

introduction so that you will be in a better position to receive

teachings about his various emanations.

In the Tibetan language, Guru Padmasambhava is generally referred

to as Guru Rinpoche, which means “precious master.” Guru

Rinpoche is a totally enlightened being, a fully awakened one, a

buddha. He did not become enlightened gradually or start practicing

the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni and eventually gain

enlightenment. Guru Rinpoche incarnated as a fully enlightened

being. Through his form, primordial wisdom manifested in the world

to benefit all sentient beings..Buddha Shakyamuni actually predicted  

Guru Padmasambhava’s  appearance.  

Nineteen different sutras and tantras contain clear  predictions of his  

coming and activities. In the Mahaparinirvana  Sutra, Buddha Shakyamuni  

announced his parinirvana to the  students who were with him at the time.  

Many of them, particularly  Ananda, the Buddha’s cousin and personal attendant,  

were quite  upset upon hearing this. So Buddha turned to Ananda and told him

not to worry. “Eight years after my parinirvana, a remarkable being

with the name Padmasambhava will appear in the center of a lotus

and reveal the highest teaching concerning the ultimate state of the

true nature, bringing great benefit to all sentient beings.”

Buddha Shakyamuni said that Padmasambhava would be even more

enlightened than himself. Of course, Buddha Shakyamuni was fully

enlightened and there  is  no higher realization, but by the Buddha’s

manner of expression, we can begin to understand the importance of

Guru Padmasambhava. Some accounts hold that Guru Rinpoche is a

direct reincarnation of Buddha Shakyamuni. Buddha Shakyamuni

also said Padmasambhava would be an emanation of Buddha

Amitabha and Avalokitésvara and referred to him as the

embodiment of all the buddhas of the three times. Many prophecies

indicate that Guru Rinpoche would be a fully enlightened buddha,

appearing in this world to help sentient beings.

For the most part, Buddha Shakyamuni presented Hinayana and

Sutra Mahayana teachings, while Guru Padmasambhava taught the

Vajrayana. Both revealed the complete and perfect path to awakening

so that individuals of all capacities would be able to benefit. The

absolute level of the Buddha’s teaching is beyond conception. If it did

not go beyond the conceptual level, there would be no need to

change our normal way of understanding things. To help us realize

the primordial nature, Buddha Shakyamuni taught again and again

that we must transcend clinging to ordinary dualistic conceptions,

narrow attitudes, close mindedness, traditional rules, beliefs and


The ultimate meaning of the highest teaching is not readily

understood by sentient beings. This is why Buddha Shakyamuni kept

silent for forty-nine days after his enlightenment. He thought, “I have

realized the most profound and subtle dharma, the clear light free of

all complexity. However, this is much too deep for normal people to

understand. Therefore, I will remain silent.” He knew how hard it

would be to communicate the truth of his insight. Although he

eventually taught tirelessly for forty-five years, his first thought

reflects the extraordinary nature of the state into which he had

awakened relative to mundane ideas and conceptions.

Sutra  is a Sanskrit word meaning “condensed or summarized.”

Scripture bearing this title indicates that these teachings were directly

communicated in the world in order to provide a clear understanding

of both the relative and absolute aspects of our existence. They

provide knowledge with which a practitioner can realize

buddhahood. Most of Buddha Shakyamuni’s teachings address

ordinary beings and offer a direct means of understanding the nature

of our experience. It is a non-esoteric view which appeals to common

logic, with tenets that can be verified by close observation of the

elements which constitute our everyday world. With this knowledge,

you can move toward enlightenment. This is the basic intention of

Sutra Mahayana.

The Vajrayana is also known as Tantra. Tantric teachings are based

upon the Sutra Mahayana, but offer additional means and methods.

Vajrayana practices encourage us to take a deeper look at our

perceptions, to understand the primordial nature and learn to

maintain mind in that state. The Sutras may be called general

teachings which clarify the nature of conditional mind and

perception, while the Vajrayana reveals the secret structure of

phenomena and is for more advanced practitioners. Although they

share the same foundation, the Vajrayana goes further toward

understanding transcendental reality. To practice both Sutra and

Tantra together can bring enlightenment within this life, even within

a very short period of time. Such acceleration distinguishes Vajrayana


The Buddha only gave Vajrayana teachings privately, to select

groups of disciples. Because the essence and even the form of these

higher teachings is beyond common conception, they are also known

as secret teachings. After the Buddha entered mahaparinirvana, these

secret doctrines were preserved by a host of wisdom dakinis. When

Guru Rinpoche appeared as the reincarnation of Buddha

Shakyamuni, he revealed the Vajrayana teachings in their entirety.

This is why Guru Rinpoche is known as the Buddha of the Vajrayana.

Our present knowledge is limited to the inputs of the six sense-consciousnesses.

There is a horizon to what you can see.  

You hear  sounds within the spectrum detectable by human ears.  

The flavors  and fragrances you are aware of are within the limits of your senses

of taste and smell. What you feel is conditioned by your sensitivity,

and what you think reveals the parameters of your mental concepts.

We do not really extend beyond that. These six define the frontiers of

our knowledge and comprise the individual point of view. We can

ignore what lies beyond our senses and imagine such things cannot

exist, but there really is much more to life than what we perceive.

We only notice one percent and habitually ignore the ninety nine

percent still to be discovered. Our knowledge is very limited. We

shouldn’t block our ability to learn by assuming that what we cannot

see does not exist and is not possible. This kind of thinking obstructs

further knowledge. It is as if we don’t really want any illumination.

We block all openings and sit there in the dark. You must open the

door. This is the initial form of ignorance to be recognized. It is

always necessary to stay open and be aware that there is an infinity

of knowledge still to be discovered.

For example, if somebody next to you were threading a needle, it

would be pretty obvious what they were doing, whereas from a

hundred yards away, you would see neither the needle nor the

thread. You might even imagine that there was no needle simply

because you couldn’t see it. This is the limitation on knowledge

gleaned through the power of the eye. It doesn’t mean there is

nothing there. You just don’t see it. There are a great many things to

be discovered beyond our present understanding.

Beings who realize great equanimity discover the infinite energy of

the true nature and can perform many beneficial activities using their

eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body. They will not always act

conventionally or in ways we normally understand. They may do

things which don’t fit in with our common perceptions. Phenomena

which seem to go beyond physical limitations are sometimes referred

to as miracles. At times, those who have the capacity will display

miraculous phenomena in the common world. People who don’t

believe in the possibility of miracles think these stories are myths,

metaphors or fairy-tales. In truth, there are people who can do

amazing things, just as the ancient masters did. Don’t ignore certain

aspects of the universe by thinking those are just stories. The universe

contains an infinite variety of wondrous qualities and activities.

These actions are incomprehensible from the ordinary, mundane

viewpoint. They manifest to help destroy all conventional

approaches to knowledge. Ego-based discriminations and habits

have separated the world into samsara and nirvana. These dualistic

notions are the only real cause of unhappiness. Guru

Padmasambhava breaks through that dualistic pattern to lead us into

perfect enlightenment, beyond conception.

In order to have a deep understanding of the meaning of Guru

Padmasambhava’s activities, it is important to keep an open mind.

We must go beyond our present conceptual limitations. See your

tendency to doubt and criticize, and how that fills your mind with

contradictions. Don’t restrict your mind to the tyranny of having to

affirm or deny. Most of our decisions are based in simplistic

conceptual polarities. We ignorantly believe in the adequacy of this

way of thinking and assume that what we don’t see does not exist. If

you create sharp divisions and cling to narrow definitions of subject

and object, whatever you see will always appears in the context of

those limitations. When you see something, you can say, “Yes, that

exists,” but what you do not see in the state of direct perception is

easily denied. In Buddhism such views are known as obscurations or

dualistic conceptions. They do not lead to true knowledge or

wisdom, but are based in ignorance. It is ignorance which defines the

world and puts limitations on our vision. We have to break through

this barrier in order to understand the perfect activities of Guru

Padmasambhava’s emanations and the infinite possibilities of the

true nature.

Dissolving fixed conceptions and not clinging to the limitations of

sentient perception reveals the vastness of the true nature, the sphere

of great equanimity. By breaking down the walls of rigid thinking,

we merge with this evenness, seeing everything as inseparable and

flowing in continuous transformation. This is also known as

interdependent origination. In the Dzogchen teachings, it is called the

unimpeded openness of the true nature.

Dzogchen is the highest teaching, but more precisely, Dzogchen is

the real situation, the reality of all phenomena. Practice helps us

break through the walls of ego-clinging and merge with the infinite

expanse where anything is possible and everything arises perfectly

without moving out of the sphere of equanimity. All of Buddha

Shakyamuni’s teachings, from the Hinayana on through to Atiyoga,

are designed to transcend dualistic conceptions and actualize the full

range of marvellous activities that arise within this profound

equanimity. This is the central point of the Dharma and the inspired

intention behind the actions of every great master. Guru

Padmasambhava’s teachings offer a direct path to actualize this

understanding. The siddhi of his activity is especially powerful and

effective in destroying the solidity of dualistic concepts and fixed

opinions, and in awakening us to true freedom.

Wisdom dakini Yeshe Ts'ogyal said that Guru Padmasambhava has

nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine biographies. That’s a lot

of biographies! These biographies are divided three ways: those

relating the one hundred and eight activities of Guru Rinpoche

according to his dharmakaya buddhahood, accounts told according

to his sambhogakaya nature, and works chronicling his activities as a

nirmanakaya buddha.

On the dharmakaya level, Guru Rinpoche is known as the primordial

buddha, Samantabhadra. Inseparable from Buddha Shakyamuni and

all fully enlightened beings, he lives as those who are never obscured

or deluded, always free in the ultimate sphere of dharmakaya. He is

our true nature, which is also known as all-pervading primordial

wisdom because it suffuses every external and internal object in the

ten directions unceasingly and is known as the dharmakaya Guru

Padmasambhava. Fully awakened, this great equanimity is

completely free of all conditional marks or complexities.

The dharmakaya continuously emanates five wisdoms in all

directions. These appear as the five dhyani buddhas or the families of

wrathful, semi-wrathful, and peaceful conquerors and their retinues.

All these buddhas are Guru Padmasambhava in sambhogakaya form,

emanating wisdom light to liberate all sentient beings in the six

realms. Different emanations of Guru Rinpoche appear in each of the

six realms as well as in every direction within those realms to teach

sentient beings according to their capabilities and gradually lead

them all to enlightenment. There are one hundred million Guru

Padmasambhavas’ helping sentient beings throughout the universe.

These represent his nirmanakaya aspect. Guru Rinpoche may take

any number of forms within any realm. He is not limited to.appearing  

in any particular guise. His character and way of teaching  will vary  

depending on the sentient beings to be instructed.

In the mundane sense, Guru Padmasambhava’s activities are called

“miraculous,” but from the viewpoint of absolute reality, these are

not unusual phenomena. They are the natural, spontaneous activity

of the true nature. From the perspective of realization, our normal,

everyday activities are somewhat odd and unnatural. In this sense,

we are great magicians, conjuring up something totally unreal.

When Guru Padmasambhava appeared on earth, he came as a

human being. In order to dissolve our attachment to dualistic

conceptions and destroy complex neurotic fixations, he also exhibited

some extraordinary manifestations. If we try to compare our situation

and capacities with that of Guru Padmasambhava and other realized

beings, we will run into some difficulty. Our actions are based in

dualistic ideas and habit patterns while Guru Padmasambhava’s

activities arise spontaneously out of the great equanimity of the true

nature. Non-dual activities are incomprehensible within the scope of

dualistic understanding.

A famous Tibetan master named Sakya Pandita told of a man who

journeyed to a country totally inhabited by monkeys. When he

arrived, all the monkeys gathered around to examine him. They were

amazed. “How strange!” they thought, “This is the most unusual

monkey we have ever seen. He has no tail!” Similarly, deluded

sentient beings hear of the activities of enlightened beings and think

that such stories must be mythical or magic because they do not meet

our preconceived ideas of how the world works.

There are many stories explaining how Guru Padmasambhava was

born. Some say that he instantly appeared on the peak of Meteorite

Mountain, in Sri Lanka. Others teach that he came through his

mother’s womb, but most accounts refer to a miraculous birth,

explaining that he spontaneously appeared in the center of a lotus.

These stories are not contradictory because highly realized beings

abide in the expanse of great equanimity with perfect understanding

and can do anything. Everything is flexible, anything is possible.

Enlightened beings can appear in any way they want or need to.

According to the regular or conventional way of thinking, if

something is black, it is not white. Usually, only one of these notions

can be applied at any given time. In trying to make reality fit the

limitations of our preconceptions, we grow very narrow. Working in

this way will not allow us to understand the mystical or profound

aspects of the universe. Our tiny peep-hole of knowledge reveals

very little of the actual world. We see only what fits through that

small hole. Chronological or linear thinking is characteristic of

dualistic conceptions; we cannot apply it to the true nature or the

state of great equanimity. Peering through such a small crack will not

allow us to see much. We have to open our minds if we are interested

in seeing any more.

Buddha Shakyamuni taught that there are infinite world systems

containing an infinite number of sentient beings. Therefore, there are

also countless emanations of enlightened beings to serve their

awakening. There are thirty-six other world systems which are near

our own. Each one hosts a different emanation of Guru

Padmasambhava. I will tell you about one of these worlds. To the

east of here is a world where the concept of poverty does not even

exist. Buddha Shakyamuni and Guru Padmasambhava have both

emanated there to give Sutra and Vajrayana teachings. Being so

strong and wealthy, it was only through the teachings that people in

this world learned about poverty and imbalances like we have on

earth. Upon hearing of this, they thought, “Oh, what a wonderful

place! If only it was like that here, we could practice generosity and

serve others. There is something very special in the acts of giving and

receiving. It would be nice if we had that kind of situation in our

world.” This is an example of the influence of Guru Padmasambhava

on beings in one of the thirty-six relatively nearby worlds.

Our own world is divided into six realms; gods, asuras, humans,

animals, hungry ghosts and hell realms. To help liberate all sentient

beings, there is a special buddha as well as eight emanations of Guru

Padmasambhava,  in each of those realms. That is, there are eight

emanations of Guru Padmasambhava in the god realm, eight in the

asura realm, and so on. Each emanation displays unique qualities in

relation to the beings to be served and might be unrecognizable by

any outer signs. In the human world he displayed one hundred and

eight activities. These are summarized within his twenty emanations

and are most easily comprehensible as the eight manifestations of

Guru Padmasambhava. I am going to focus on these eight in the

human realm as they embody his most beneficial activities on behalf

of all beings..Now you might wonder, “Why are there eight emanations  

instead of  seven or nine?” Eight is a very special number in Buddhist

philosophy. There are many meanings associated with the number

eight. In a geographic sense, the eight emanations symbolize that

Guru Padmasambhava offers assistance to all sentient beings in the

eight directions. According to the abhidharma, the elements which

make up both the external universe and the inner dimensions of

sentient beings are based on eight original, very subtle atoms. These

are the foundation our world is constructed on. Even the finest

particles consist of aggregations of these eight. Four are known as the

atoms of fire, water, earth and wind. These comprise the desire

realm. Because our world has qualities of the form realm as well,

there are another four atoms having to do with the aspects of shape,

smell, the past and the present. Although they are very small, all

eight of these hold together and give rise to coarse atoms and

molecules. Nobody created these things, no one ordered them to be

like this. They are just part of the natural formation of the world.

There is not much more that can be said about them. This

interpretation still relates to the external level.

On the inner level, there are the eight consciousnesses. Five are

related to the sense organs; eye, ear, nose, tongue and body. The sixth

is the mind consciousness, the seventh is emotional consciousness

and the eighth is known as the subconscious storehouse or ground

consciousness. These eight consciousnesses outline the science of the

inner world. Mind is vast and profound, the depth from which

everything arises. The outer world emerges from and reflects this

inner world. So subjectively, these eight emanations are related to the

eight consciousnesses.

Also, in learning to actualize knowledge of the true nature, we

practice the Eightfold Noble Path to full realization. The inner tantras

contain many other teachings relating to the number eight. Our

physical structure has eight big bones, there are eight major energy

pathways and eight general divisions which define ego’s territory.

Externally, this is symbolized by the eight great charnel grounds. In

elaborate mandalas, you will find eight cemeteries, eight trees and

eight stupas, eight bodies of water, eight nagas and eight gods. Eight

is the number of completion in Vajrayana mandala space.

The Eight Emanations of Guru Padmasambhava are quite popular in

Tibet. Many different meanings and symbols are associated with.them.  

Externally, Guru Rinpoche’s emanations may be seen as  reflections of  

his all-pervading nature. Internally, they are the eight  consciousnesses.  

The transformation of the eight consciousness into  the five wisdoms is  

the secret way to understand the theme of these  descriptions.  

Taken together, the eight manifestations communicate  all three levels  

of meaning.

I will now name the eight emanations of Guru Padmasambhava.

Guru means master, teacher or lama, and precedes the name of each


The first is known as Guru Padma Gyalpo which means “lotus king.”

The second is Guru Nyima Özer, meaning “ray of sun.”

The third emanation of Guru Rinpoche is Loden Chokse, which is

roughly translated as “the super-knowledge holder.”

The fourth is called Guru Padmasambhava. This name is Sanskrit but

even in Tibet, this is how we refer to this emanation. Padma means

lotus, which is a symbol of spiritual perfection. Sambhava has many

different usages, although in this case it means essence, so

Padmasambhava signifies “lotus essence.”

The fifth one is Guru Shakya Sengé. Shakya is a Sanskrit word and

part of the family name of Buddha Shakyamuni. It means

undefeatable or courageous. Sengé is a Tibetan word which means

lion, so this title means “undefeatable lion.”

The sixth emanation of Guru Padmasambhava is named Padma

Jungné. In Sanskrit, this is translated as Guru Padmakara. Padma is

lotus and kara is translated into Tibetan as  jungné, meaning “arisen

from.” So this name means “born from a lotus.”

The seventh is known as Guru Sengé Dradok. In Sanskrit it is  Singha

Nadi  which translates as “the lion’s roar.”

The eighth emanation of Guru Rinpoche is known as Guru Dorje

Drolo.  Dorje  is the Tibetan word for vajra.  Dro’lo  means ultimately or

insanely wrathful, sometimes translated as “crazy wisdom.” That is

the name of the eighth emanation..

All the activities of Guru Padmasambhava performed in this world

may be roughly summarized within these eight aspects.


Guru Padma Gyalpo

the Lotus King

The first emanation is called Guru Padma Gyalpo.  Gyalpo  means

king. Guru Padma Gyalpo is the form in which Guru

Padmasambhava originally appeared in our world. He is directly

related to Buddha Amitabha, the Buddha of the western direction, as

well as to Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of compassion. Buddha

Amitabha represents the dharmakaya, Avalokitesvara the

sambhogakaya, and Guru Padmasambhava the nirmanakaya.

Amitabha, Avalokitesvara and Guru Padmasambhava encompass all

possible emanations of the Trikaya. Maybe you are wondering how

such forms as dharmakaya Buddha Samantabhadra, Buddha

Vajradhara and Buddha Vajrasattva are included. These are all

contained within the three kayas of Amitabha, Avalokiteshvara, and

Guru Padmasambhava. Actually, the entire mandala of all the

buddhas and all the kayas are within Guru Padmasambhava. Not

only is he an important member of the Lotus family, he embodies the

whole mandala.

The three kayas are symbolized by the three buddhas of the Padma

family, one of five families of buddhas, each representing an aspect of

primordial wisdom. In the mundane sense, the Lotus family is

associated with common perception. Esoterically, it corresponds to

our karmic winds and the speech center. Ordinary views are

transformed through deepening resonance with the primordial

wisdom qualities of the Padma family, such as boundless loving-kindness

and compassion for all sentient beings. The radiation of love

and compassion coursing through the channels by the arising of

wisdom winds is the inner action of this family.

Among the many beneficial activities characterizing the life of

Buddha Shakyamuni, twelve are commonly noted. Of these, speech is

his most powerful action. In spite of his great love and compassion,

even the Buddha could not magically liberate anyone from the ocean

of samsara. Sentient beings are subject to their own karmas and even

Buddhas must respect this. The power of the Buddha’s speech grants

knowledge of antidotes which can help rescue sentient beings from

samsara and establish them in the enlightened condition. Bereft of

speech, the Buddha cannot offer much to sentient beings other than

those who already have higher capacities and can receive teachings

on the sambhogakaya level. The Lotus family symbolizes the power

of speech in the spirit of love and compassion. The Vajra family, the

Ratna family, the Karma family and the Buddha family are all

contained and emanated within the Padma family – the Lotus Lords

of all buddha families. And Guru Padmasambhava is the supreme

embodiment of them all.

Now I will tell you some details about the early life of Padma

Gyalpo. According to Tibetan history, Guru Rinpoche was born four

years after Buddha’s Mahaparinirvana. Although Buddha

Shakyamuni’s prediction about the coming of Padmasambhava is

rendered as eight years, the system used in India divides the month

into two, reflecting the waxing and waning of the moon. According

to the Tibetan calendar, Buddha Shakyamuni entered

Mahaparinirvana during the Iron Dragon year and Guru

Padmasambhava was born in the wood monkey year in the monkey

month. In Tibetan Buddhism, every monkey year is considered the

year of Guru Padmasambhava.

Bodhgaya is a village in northeastern India where Buddha

Shakyamuni became fully enlightened. All Buddhists consider

Bodhgaya the spiritual-geographic center, the supreme power spot of

the universe. In Tibetan we call it  Dorje-den  which means,

“indestructible vajra throne.” It is also taught that every one of the

thousand buddhas destined to appear in this aeon will attain

enlightenment there. Buddhist cosmology explains that after

hundreds of aeons, this world will be completely destroyed by fire,

water and wind. Everything will be reduced to atoms and scattered

throughout space, without even a trace remaining. However, under

the vajra throne at Bodhgaya there is a double-dorje which cannot be

destroyed by fire or water . It will endure beyond the end of the

present world cycle. What appears externally as the Vajrasana of

Bodhgaya exists internally as the path which leads to the realization

of our primordial nature.

Guru Padmasambhava was born to the northwest of Bodhgaya in a

kingdom known as Oddiyana. Oddiyana has always been considered

a very mystical place and is praised throughout Vajrayana literature.

This mysterious land expresses a natural power in earth forms and

subtler environmental structuring and became a major source of

esoteric Vajrayana teachings. In the center of Oddiyana is the City of

the Dakinis, and in that city, is the palace of the Herukas. Northwest

of that palace, there is a small lake known as Dhanakosha.

Buddha Amitabha emanated a golden light from his heart center that

took form as a five-pointed golden vajra inscribed with the syllable

HRI. It landed right in the center of an Udambara flower, a very rare

and precious species of lotus, growing in Lake Dhanakosha. A

youthful Padmasambhava miraculously appeared from the union of

the golden vajra inscribed with HRI and this beautiful, thousand-petalled

lotus growing in Lake Dhanakosha. Normally we take birth

by means of parents, but by spontaneously appearing Guru Padma

Gyalpo opens us up to the panoramic vision of the true nature. In

order to break our habitual pattern of gradually taking birth through

conception in a womb, he demonstrated the freedom of taking birth

instantly. He reveals a new door: the primordial condition of great


The king of Oddiyana was an extraordinary man named Indrabhuti.

He was very kind, compassionate and generous. During a time of

great famine, he gave away the contents of the royal treasury to feed

his subjects, yet still more was needed. In ancient times, it was

common to sail the ocean in search of jewels and treasure. So King

Indrabhuti took to sea with his ministers and found gems on a distant

island. On the way home, the king had many beautiful dreams. In

one, he saw a five-pointed golden vajra, radiating golden light in

every direction. It came so close that he was able to hold it in his

hand. At the same time, he dreamed that the sun and moon were

both rising in the eastern sky. The very next day after these

wonderful omens appeared, Indrabhuti encountered Padma Gyalpo.

As the boat approached the shore, the crew saw beautiful rainbows

arch across the heavens. A great host of birds hovered in the sky,

singing delightful songs. Celestial fragrances pervaded the air. The

moment they saw these signs, everyone felt blissful. The king was

moved to relate his dreams to the ministers. After getting into a

smaller boat, they immediately set sail toward the source of the

rainbow display. As they got closer, they beheld a magnificent lotus.

None of them had ever seen a blossom like this before. It was an

uncommonly large and brilliant flower, but more than that, there

seated upon the pollen bed was a beautiful, sublime eight year old.boy,  

glowing and radiating rainbow light while seated in the vajra

posture. The king was completely astonished.

Although Guru Rinpoche appeared as a human being, he

demonstrates something here which is totally beyond our dualistic

conceptions and regimented views by coming into this world in the

center of a lotus. He did not come through biological parents. This

signifies that Guru Padmasambhava is free from both attachment and

anger. He is not accompanied by any negative emotions. Instead, he

subdues and transforms all anger and attachment into their

corresponding wisdoms, as symbolized by this glorious lotus. This

means that practitioners who follow the path of Guru

Padmasambhava or Buddha Shakyamuni must cut through and

transform anger, aggression and neurotic desire.

Up until that moment, Indrabhuti had been blind in one eye. Now he

was healed. He was awed by this miraculous display and

immediately asked five questions of the young child. These were,

“Where do you come from? What is your father’s name? What is

your mother’s name? What do you do? And what do you eat?”

Guru Padmasambhava answered, “I come from the unborn

Dharmadhatu, my father’s name is Kuntuzangpo, and my mother’s

name is Kuntuzangmo.” Kuntuzangpo means, “always good” in

Tibetan. This is goodness that never changes. It is always good.

Yesterday it was good, today it is good and tomorrow it will still be

good. To the question, “What do you do?” the child replied, “I am

here to help all sentient beings of the six realms.” This is a permanent

job. Guru Padmasambhava will never be unemployed! As for food,

the child said, “I eat dualistic conceptions and my words benefit all


Being a Buddhist, King Indrabhuti was very much pleased with these

answers. Of course, he was already quite excited by such a brilliant

and extraordinary display, but hearing the child give these answers

really touched him. The radiance of his body and speech penetrated

the king’s heart at a deep level. Greatly moved by all of this and with

no son of his own, the King asked, “Will you come to my palace and

live with me?” The young Padma Gyalpo accepted this request, and

went with the entourage to the palace..King Indrabhuti was a very  

kind and compassionate man.  

He had an  extremely open mind and served all his subjects according  

to the  dharma. Guru Padma Gyalpo was raised as a prince. He helped

Indrabhuti rule the kingdom with bodhicitta and guide the people on

the right path toward enlightenment. He taught them how to stay

free of headaches and worries, so that harmony and peace reigned

throughout the country. Guru Padma Gyalpo eventually married a

beautiful lady known as Orchima, “She who radiates light.” Then one

day Buddha Vajrasattva appeared to Guru Padmasambhava telling

him to leave Oddiyana in order to benefit sentient beings in a more

active way. Heeding these instructions, Guru Padmasambhava

departed Oddiyana at about age thirty.

He left the palace on foot and wandered many places. But even the

most basic aspects of his journey were not ordinary. For instance, he

would arrive wherever he set out for instantly. Time had no effect on

Guru Rinpoche’s activities. He travelled throughout India

frequenting the most powerful and frightening cemeteries, known as

the eight charnel grounds. He subdued the eight classes of spirits and

directed them onto the path of bodhicitta, the unified state of loving-kindness,

compassion and wisdom.

In the conventional sense, Guru Padmasambhava brought all the

subjects of Oddiyana into harmony on the path of enlightenment so

that they excelled in the practice of peace, love, and compassion. On

the inner level, he subdued the eight classes of negative spirits and

bound them in service to the practice of bodhicitta. Surrounded by

both dakas and dakinis, Guru Rinpoche displayed the splendor of his

wisdom which spontaneously overcomes the most powerful of

visible and invisible beings so that they regard him as their supreme

monarch or king. This is the real victory of Padma Gyalpo, the Lotus

King, a very special emanation of Guru Padmasambhava who

magnetizes perception and conception beyond ego-clinging and

negative emotions while actively increasing our joy, peace and

spiritual realization.

We should understand what is meant by magnetizing. It doesn’t

mean bringing an external object, such as another sentient being,

under your control. To magnetize one’s perception is to overpower

the mind of mundane habits. If you don’t have that ability within

yourself, you cannot magnetize or help other sentient beings. Since

you are still a little wild and crazy, how can you tame others?  

To help.other beings, you can’t be crazy yourself. Once we are able to

overpower dualistic perceptions and mental habits, we magnetize

others naturally. Practice and meditation on Guru Rinpoche as

Padma Gyalpo outshines mundane views and deluding emotions

and enriches our accumulations of merit and wisdom.

Guru Padma Gyalpo openly exhibits the splendor and magnificence

of the Padma family wisdom. He is surrounded by a glorious retinue

of dakas and dakinis who receive his teachings. Through the lavish

display of this gathering, he is offering the same wealth to all beings.

That is the external way to understand this emanation.

On the inner level, Guru Padma Gyalpo is saying that those who

follow this path must control their senses, study perceptions, subdue

ego-clinging, and transcend their emotions. If you cut through ego-clinging,

you are a great sovereign; you have mastered your

relationship with everything you see and hear. In perfect command

of your feelings and responses, you have the power and dignity of a

splendrous king or queen. Having subdued ego-clinging and

attachment to negative emotions, you are truly victorious.

In Tibet, to have overcome all negativity is known as having attained

the heroic state. One has become a conqueror or universal monarch.

According to ancient Buddhist cosmography, a universal monarch or

Chakravarti, is one whose kingdom includes all four continents of a

world system. To relinquish ego-clinging and be free of neurosis is to

fully awaken to the enlightenment of all the victorious ones as your

very own. In brief, that is the meaning of Guru Padma Gyalpo, the

Lotus King or Padma Raja.

Padma Gyalpo’s skin is pink or reddish, while his robes are sort of

orange, and a little more red than yellow. He is visualized sitting on a

lotus, upon sun and moon discs, relaxing in the royal posture with

one face, two arms, and two legs. He is semi-wrathful, so some

teachings say to visualize him with four arms. His long hair is pulled

up into a knot and wrapped in a white cloth that has a small

gathering of red material emerging from the top. This same red silk is

flowing out, as if carried by a gentle breeze, behind his head. He also

wears a tiara of five jewels. In his right hand is a small damaru and in

his left, he is holding a mirror and a hook. The mirror symbolizes

wisdom. Through wisdom, everything appears as it is, although

nothing truly exists. Phenomena arise and pass like forms in a mirror,

a mirage that suddenly appears and just as quickly dissolves. The

mirror also suggests unceasing manifestation, free of clinging and

attachment to concrete objects. There are other sadhanas on Guru

Padma Gyalpo, some of which describe the left hand as holding a bell

and hook and others, a ritual arrow. The hook symbolizes great

compassion. This is to rescue all sentient beings who are trapped in

the experience of samsara. This is the form to visualize when

meditating on Guru Padmasambhava as Padma Gyalpo.

The notions which constitute samsara are no other than one’s own

thoughts and conceptions; what you experience is largely defined by

your own dream-like perceptions. It has no true basis and does not

refer to real entities or solid objects. This is a dream or perhaps a

nightmare. A nightmare is not recognized by the person who is

suffering within it. It is really not a substantial or determinate reality,

yet the dreamer’s understanding of his experience suggests that it is.

Generate great compassion for all sentient beings as they are

temporarily caught up in this illusion and gently lead them to

liberation. Never give up or lose compassion. Press on and guide all

beings to unsurpassed, great enlightenment.

As in any practice, begin by taking refuge and generating bodhicitta.

Feel love and compassion for all sentient beings and do a little

meditation. Then imagine a small circle of red light in the space

before you which instantly transforms into Guru Padma Gyalpo.

Recite the twelve syllable mantra as long as you can while holding

the visualization. Finally, dissolve Guru Padma Gyalpo back into a

red point of light which merges with your heart center, so that there

is no difference between you and him. Meditate in this way for as

long as you have time. When you are done, dedicate the merit and

make aspirational prayers. This is a very powerful and special

practice which will enrich your vision.

According to the commentary by Lama Mipham, the effects of

practicing on Guru Padma Gyalpo depend upon your level of

approach. If you are a leader, your leadership will become more

stable and benign. If you are just a regular being, you will become

more lovable. If you want to be loved and appreciated, practice on

Guru Padma Gyalpo. The peace of mind and calming of the body

soon experienced are a sure sign of effectively purifying negative

emotions..Q: I was interested in how thoughts arise in our mind. When Guru

Padma Gyalpo was wandering through the cemeteries, he ran across

negative spirits and transformed them through bodhicitta.

A: Yes, he brought them to the justice of bodhicitta.

Q: Are those spirits responsible for the thoughts that arise in us?

A: Generally, yes. This is why Guru Rinpoche went to all those

cemeteries after leaving the palace. These were fearful places, not at

all comparable to Western cemeteries. Western cemeteries are

relatively pleasant places, like parks. They have nice flowers and

water fountains with walkways and all. When you go there, you can

feel at ease. But in ancient India the cemeteries were often deep in the

jungle where many wild animals lived, such as tigers, leopards,

wolves, jackals and cobras. Vultures would hover overhead. The

bodies of the dead were strewn everywhere. It was a terrifying,

unpleasant place.

By going to the charnel grounds, Guru Padmasambhava is teaching

us that in order to practice and meditate, we really have to be

fearless. We must have courage beyond hope and fear and get

beyond their endless implications. Having smashed expectations and

doubts, you realize great equanimity and can act fearlessly. From the

viewpoint of realization, evil spirits are no other than the display of

one’s own mental tendencies. But to the ordinary mind which clings

to notions of subject and object, these energies may be viewed as the

actions of naughty or mischievous beings who like to chase us

around. As long as we hold to the notion of solid subjects and objects,

there will be conceptual and experiential effects. Guru

Padmasambhava actually brought these demons under control

within his mind.

Q: Could you say briefly why we use the symbol of the lotus instead

of another flower?

A: The lotus grows in muddy water. Because of this, it is always

compared to bodhicitta and the bodhisattvas; those noble ones who

take birth in samsara but are never affected by worldly conditioning.

Similarly, the mud never affects the beauty of the lotus. It is always

pure and beautiful. So “padma” means “lovely one.” According to

the Vajrayana this lovely one is no other than the truth of love and

compassion, which is symbolized by a lotus..

Q: My question is about the symbolism of the color red.

A: In the Vajrayana all colors, implements and gestures are symbolic,

with a wealth of meaning behind every attribute and gesture. In this

context, red represents loving-kindness. This is called “great love

beyond attachment.” To move from attachment to loving-kindness

beyond grasping is symbolized by the color red. Love is great


Q: Since we live in the dream state, how can we tell the difference

between truth and illusion in our perceptions?

A: In equanimity, all are seen as equal, there is no distinction of good

or bad; if it is true, it is all true, if it is untrue, it is all untrue. There is

no relative up and down, no judgement day in equanimity. Therefore

the ultimate dream, and the non-dream state, are understood to be

exactly the same. But when you are obscured, you only see a little bit

and judge aspects of dream experience as being more or less

important. This is how sentient beings perceive the world.

Q: As we sit and look at you, are we seeing what you have emanated,

or is it a reflection of our own perception?

A: It is both. When I look at you, you are giving me something and I

am also giving something to you. And when you look at me, I’m

giving something to you and you are giving something to me. It is a

mutual exchange. But regardless of what happens in the stock

market, once you see whatever you see, it becomes a mental construct

which is completely your own private understanding. All the input is

brought back to your individual mind where it becomes your own

personal business. Ordinary perception and communication suggest

that there are two different things, private and public, but in the

higher levels of equanimity, both are merged in a transcendent



Guru Loden Chokse

The Supreme Knowledge Holder

Traditionally, the second of the eight manifestations of Guru

Padmasambhava is Guru Nyima Özer whose name translates as

“Ray of the Sun,” however, I think it is more useful to skip ahead and

introduce the third manifestation because it will help you understand

the second. And in turn, the second will help explain the third. This

third emanation is called Guru Loden Chokse, which means

“supreme knowledge holder.”

Guru Padmasambhava appeared in this world as a perfect buddha in

order to benefit all beings. Even before he left the kingdom of

Oddiyana, he was already totally enlightened. Guru Loden Chokse is

the emanation of Guru Rinpoche who deals with the removal of

ignorance and the accumulation of wisdom through contemplation.

Although he was already an awakened buddha, he demonstrated the

way to approach profound knowledge through study and practice

for the sake of sentient beings.

After leaving the palace, he wandered throughout the eight great

charnel grounds of India. On the external level, he stayed in real

cemeteries, eating the offerings to the dead and wearing whatever

clothes were available there. In ancient times, the funerary tradition

was to leave a year’s supply of food and some colorful clothing along

with the bodies. So there was usually something available, although

it was not exactly gourmet fare. It was actually akin to garbage or

spoiled food. While externally utilizing such materials, living in

cemeteries, and practicing meditation, on the inner level he began to

give elaborate instructions on the nine yanas to all classes of invisible

beings. In particular, he gave extensive teachings on Dzogchen. This

period of Guru Loden Chokse’s wandering through all the great

cemeteries of India shouldn’t be taken to mean that he was over here

today and in that one next week. He could project a different

emanation in all eight cemeteries at once or appear with a multitude

of emanations in all of the cemeteries at the same time.

Geographically, these eight great charnel grounds do not exist side

by side. It could take a few weeks or even a month to walk from one

to the other. According to the Vajrayana, they are located in eight

special, secret spots which have natural power and geomantic

energy. On the most secret level, these are the locations where the

dakas and dakinis are always gathered, ceaselessly performing

enlightened activities. In the Vajrayana, these eight great sites work

together like a mystic or esoteric compass. They are very special

places where awareness is magnified and the energy is naturally

intensified. According to the inner tantras, these charnel grounds do

not merely exist as places in India. Although reference is made to

actual sites, some higher tantras indicate that these are not static

locations but are spread throughout the world. The eight great

cemeteries are the primary power spots available to help us awaken

to our enlightened nature.

As well as giving teachings to invisible beings, Guru Loden Chokse

instructed visible beings. In ancient India, certain people of very low

caste had the job of bringing the dead to the cemeteries and making

any other relevant arrangements. Loden Chokse started teaching

these laborers. He also travelled to many other places such as

Bodhgaya, where Buddha Shakyamuni was enlightened.

While demonstrating some of the extraordinary signs of his

realization near the Mahabodhi Stupa in Bodhgaya, an old lady asked

him, “Who is your teacher? To which lineage do you belong?”

Guru Rinpoche replied, “I have no teacher and have no need of one.

Neither do I belong to any particular lineage. I am a totally

enlightened being, primordially aware.”

The old woman immediately responded by saying, “Oh, that’s not

right. Without the blessings of a teacher, you cannot be enlightened.

You must have a connection with a master. Lacking that, no one will

accept your words.” He quickly understood the import of the old

woman’s statement in relation to making the teaching available to

others. To demonstrate the supreme means of approaching the

Dharma, “the Supreme Knowledge Holder” began to seek out

lineage masters and followed teachings according to their


This indicates that even if you are already a highly enlightened being,

it is still necessary to have lineage connections. In order to

communicate this truth, Guru Loden Chokse proceeded to contact

many great masters and receive their teachings. In ancient times,

there was a traditional curriculum known as the ten sciences. One

had to be knowledgeable about these to be considered an educated

person. The five major sciences are language, art, logic, medicine and

the science of mind and meditation.

Guru Loden Chokse went to Bengal in eastern India in order to begin

studying. There he met a very old man, who was renowned as a

scholar of language. With the exception of a little red in his mustache,

his hair was all white. When asked about the extent of his

knowledge, the old man said, “I know all the languages spoken

across India, but I am especially expert on the dialects spoken in the

areas of eastern India.” After requesting instruction, the old man

accepted Guru Loden Chokse as his student. At that time, there were

four major language groups in India; Sanskrit, Prakrit, Apabhramsa

and Paisacika, as well as 160 local dialects. Although generally

familiar with all of these, Guru Rinpoche became a language expert

to demonstrate how this knowledge which can be of immense benefit

in serving sentient beings. Those who are seeking enlightenment

should not ignore the importance of such learning.

After this, he went to the country of Padmavati in western India,

where he met a very famous physician who taught him all about

medicine. Subsequently, he studied logic and reasoning, which are

important subjects if we are trying to go beyond the state of direct

perception. Analysis and inference are the keys that open knowledge

beyond our immediate sense data. Through reasoning, we can

discover many things which are not evident to the five senses. Guru

Loden Chokse also studied esoteric astrology with Manjusri in China

and art with Master Visvakarma. In Buddhism, aesthetic expression

is divided into the arts of the body, the arts of speech and the arts of

the mind. All the arts are contained within these categories.

The fifth science is known as the inner science, which mainly deals

with the understanding, characteristics and identity of the mind. This

science is the province of the Buddha’s teachings. Guru Loden

Chokse received ordination and instruction in the vinaya, sutra and

abhidharma from Ananda, the cousin and attendant of Buddha

Shakyamuni. He received outer tantra teachings and quickly

actualized all the realizations as they are described in the texts. The

renowned Master Gomadevi, daughter of King Jah was one of the

human teachers who introduced Guru Loden Chokse to the.

Mahayoga teachings. He then received the entire Mahayoga

teachings from Buddha Vajrasattva in the Akanistha, the Pure Land

of Vajrasattva. Having manifested there in an instant, he heard

Vajrasattva reciting. The moment he requested the Mahayoga tantras,

also known as the eighteen great tantras, Vajrasattva transmitted

them in their entirety. Guru Loden Chokse received the thirteen

Anuyoga teachings in the All-pervading Blue pure land from Buddha

Vajradhara. These are also known as the five great sutras and the

eight great points.

The first human Dzogchen master, Garab Dorje, was Guru Loden

Chokse’s source for the Atiyoga teachings as well as the Buddha

Samantabhadra, who resides in the pure land of the dharmadhatu

realm, free from all complexity. Finally, to complete his studies, Guru

Loden Chokse went to the famous Master Manjusrimitra, the direct

disciple of Garab Dorje. After requesting instruction, Manjusrimitra

told Guru Loden Chokse that he could not teach him. Instead, he was

directed to a dark and frightening charnel ground in the west where

there lived a great dakini known as Laygyi Wangmo, the Dakini of

Deeds. Manjusrimitra explained that she could give Atiyoga


Guru Loden Chokse eventually arrived in the terrifying charnel

ground. Here he encountered a young lady carrying a crystal vase.

He thought this might be the dakini from whom he should request

teachings. So he asked, “What is your name?” But she did not


“Would you be kind enough to give me teachings?” Still, she would

not reply.

“Where is the great dakini, Laygyi Wangmo?” The girl did not say a

word, but continued to carry water.

Guru Loden Chokse realized that she must be in service to someone,

so when she came back down the hill with more water, he asked,

“Would you help me find the wisdom dakini?” But the girl remained

silent and kept carrying water.

She returned a third time, when he asked, “Would you please help

me?” Still she refused to answer. So Guru Loden Chokse became

annoyed at her unresponsiveness and through the power of his

meditation, caused the crystal vase to adhere to the ground. When

the girl attempted to lift it, she was unable to.

Realizing who had caused this, she addressed Guru Rinpoche; “I see

you exhibit some power, but tell me what you think of this.” At that

moment, she pulled a small crystal knife from her belt and after

cutting open her chest, she pulled back the skin and there, vividly

displayed, was the entire mandala of the deities of the inner tantra.

All one hundred deities, forty-two peaceful and fifty-eight wrathful,

emanated clearly from within her heart center.

Guru Loden Chokse bowed down and said, “Please excuse me and

kindly guide me to the great dakini.”

This time the maiden said, “I will show you the way. Follow me,”

and she led him to a palace made of skulls.

When Guru Loden Chokse entered he could see that Laygyi Wangmo

was not a peaceful dakini. Her expression was semi-wrathful. She

stood majestically on the sun and moon in a fierce posture,

surrounded by a blaze of glory, while another sun and moon above

her served as a luminous canopy. Holding a  katvanga  in her left hand,

sparks of fire issued from her eyes and body. Guru Loden Chokse

prostrated himself, circumambulated her throne three times and

made mandala offerings before respectfully requesting the inner

Vajrayana teachings including, initiations, transmissions and pith

instructions. At that moment, she made the subjugation mudra with

her right hand and in the space beyond her fingers, the entire

mandala of the one hundred peaceful and wrathful deities appeared


“Now,” she said, “You must take initiation from this mandala.”

Guru Loden Chokse immediately replied, “Oh no. This mandala is

just your display. I want to take initiation from you, Master. You are

the source, embodiment and Lord of this mandala. Let me have your

initiation, transmission and pith instructions.” The great dakini

smiled gently and said. “So you know how to receive

empowerment...” At that point, she intoned the syllable HUM and

the entire mandala dissolved and merged back into her. Upon

chanting another HUM, she transformed Guru Loden Chokse’s body

into a small HUM syllable and swallowed it, as we might swallow a


In one of the biographies of Guru Padmasambhava it is said that she

kept him for one week in each of her five chakras. So he spent a week

in her crown chakra, and a week each in her speech, heart, navel and

secret chakras. The four upper chakras are related to the four

empowerments. Externally he received the empowerment of Buddha

Amitayus, inwardly he received the empowerment of Avalokitesvara

and on the most secret level, he gained the realization of Hayagriva.

After he had completely received all the empowerments,

transmissions, and pith instructions associated with the inner tantras,

he emerged from Laygi Wangmo’s secret center as her equal in

realization. This is like saying he became something of a super-guru;

a supreme knowledge holder of the lineage freely demonstrating his

mastery of the teachings through actualizing the supreme realization.

Subsequently, he travelled to many different places throughout the

world to serve sentient beings.

Guru Loden Chokse also received the combined eight Heruka

teachings from Laygi Wangmo which he transmitted to the eight

great vidydharas who were in India at that time: Vimalamitra,

Humkara, Manjusrimitra, Nagarjuna, Dhanasamskrta, Rambuguhya-Devacandra

and Santigarbha. Guru Padmasambhava himself is

considered the eighth. On the human level, he actually received the

eight Heruka teachings from these masters as well as from the

wisdom dakini Laygi Wangmo. In turn, he transmitted what are

known as the combined Eight Heruka teachings which he had

received directly from Laygi Wangmo, back to these same


Guru Loden Chokse also received the Dzogchen teaching known as

the Empowerment of Awareness from Master Sri Singh. This is a

brief history of how Guru Rinpoche acquired teachings.

On the external level, he received many different instructions and

mastered each one of them. This period of his life demonstrates how

to follow a course of study and learn to develop our wisdom step by

step. Even though Guru Rinpoche was already a direct emanation of

Buddha Amitabha, and a reincarnation of Buddha Shakyamuni, this

completely enlightened being lived his realization in a way that

would help lead others toward wisdom.

The gradual aspects of the  path are very important. We can’t just

ignore our karmic conditioning and jump to a higher level. We must

be able to follow the entire message step by step and address our

conditioning through appropriate practices in a progressive manner.

This manifestation of the teacher emphasizes that we should all

continue to develop and grow. Such an approach strengthens our

understanding and deepens our realization. As Guru Loden Chokse,

the Lotus-born one demonstrated his capacity to learn and became

adept in many fields of knowledge.

Guru Loden Chokse is depicted with one face, two arms and two

legs, seated upon a lotus with sun and moon discs. His skin is a very

peaceful, rich, white color. He wears a white scarf and has ribbons

wrapped around his head. His hair is decorated with a blue-green

lotus which is known as an utpala flower. In his right hand is a

damaru and in the left, a bowl which is patterned after a lotus.

Begin the practice on Guru Loden Chokse with the generation of

love, compassion and bodhicitta for all sentient beings. Then ease

into meditation. Start the visualization with a small sphere of white

light in the space before you. Concentrate on that for a moment and

then transform the sphere into the transcendental rainbow body of

Guru Loden Chokse, omnidirectionally radiating white light.

Imagine the sound of the damaru echoing wisdom vibrations,

awakening sentient beings from the darkness of ignorance and

establishing them in the wisdom of enlightenment. Recite the twelve

syllable mantra as long as you can, then dissolve the visualization

into white light which mingles with your heart center and remain in

meditation, abiding in the true nature for as long as you can.

Although he already had a perfect realization, the emanation of Guru

Loden Chokse demonstrates the patient gathering of knowledge and

wisdom teachings. He is a wisdom emanation of Guru

Padmasambhava, and like the wisdom deity Buddha Manjusri,

practice on the form of Guru Loden Chokse is particularly effective in

dispelling the darkness of ignorance, mastering the arts and sciences

and ultimately awakening to the reality of primordial wisdom.


Guru Nyima Özer

Ray of Sun

As I explained earlier, Guru Nyima Özer is usually considered the

second emanation. Because Guru Nyima Özer is associated with

crazy wisdom activities, I wanted to tell you about Guru Loden

Chokse first so that you would be able to understand the guru’s

accomplishments as a student and tantric initiate. In this context, you

should be able to appreciate the miraculous deeds of Guru Nyima

Özer. Although incomprehensible to linear or chronological

interpretations, all eight emanations can simultaneously appear

together or in many different places unlimited by any dualistic

system of understanding. On the level of common perception, Nyima

Özer happened either right after or during the time of Loden Chokse.

Guru Nyima Özer is a special buddha whose emanation serves to

increase awareness of the great emptiness-bliss. He is the master of

great joy and ecstatic states of awareness. Nyima Özer wandered

across India, serving sentient beings in many different guises.

There were actually many emanations of Guru Nyima Özer, not just

the one commonly portrayed in thankas. Sometimes he appeared as a

powerful master of meditation, but he also appeared as a weak-looking

beggar as well as in various animal forms for the benefit of

sentient beings. His activities are beyond conditional limitations. I

want to tell you how he got his name which means “Ray of Sun.”

Guru Nyima Özer travelled widely, performing crazy wisdom

activities while visiting the eight great charnel grounds, the thirty-two

major power spots, wilderness areas and even cities. The extent

of his wandering cannot be comprehended by ordinary conceptions.

As it is historically recounted, when he left the kingdom of

Oddiyana, he went to a famous cemetery known as Chilly Grove and

practiced meditation there for five years. During this time, Guru

Nyima Özer was inwardly subduing some of the wilder sentient


At one point, he came to Varanasi. Today, this is a big city on the

Ganges River, and it was already a busy place back in those days.

There was a lady who served alcohol in Varanasi and Guru Rinpoche.

saw that through contact with her, he could draw hundreds of people

toward enlightenment. The lady was named Vanessca. Nyima Özer

appeared at her shop in the style of a wild yogi, holding a katvanga

in his right hand and asked this woman, “Do you have

any beer?”

“Of course,” she answered.

“Good. How much do you have?”

“Five hundred gallons,” she replied.

“Great. I want it all.”

She poured him a large serving and when he had finished it, he asked

for another. “Pay me for what you have already drunk,” she said.

In ancient times, they used a certain sea shell, the cowrie, for

currency. Nyima Özer did not actually have even one, but he

reassured the woman that she would be paid, and she poured him

another beer. They didn’t have bottles back then, but rather large

bowls or jars. When it was empty, he asked for a refill. And after that,

another. He continued in this way until the woman said, “Look, I’m

not going to give you any more beer until you pay for what you have

already drunk.”

Guru Nyima Özer stuck his katvanga into the ground so that it threw

a shadow across the table and said, “I’ll pay you when this shadow

moves.” Vanessca agreed to this and gave him another bowl. He

finished it and immediately asked for more. But the shadow did not

move at all. It stayed right where it was. The sun continued to hover

high above the horizon while Guru Rinpoche finished all five

hundred gallons of beer and was still asking for more. He was not

even near drunk yet, but people in the vicinity were becoming

concerned because the sun had not moved for hours and the day was

getting unusually long. Cocks were beginning to crow.

Upon learning of the situation at the tavern, everybody realized that

this must be a very powerful yogi. The sun did not move across the

sky, which meant that the earth was no longer turning. The matter

was brought to the king’s attention and his ministers were sent out to

investigate. When they understood that this was all happening.because  

some wild yogi didn’t have any money to pay for the beer,

they offered to foot his bill. Guru Nyima Özer thanked them and

picked up his katvanga. Immediately the sun turned a deep red and

sunk below the horizon. A great shadow fell over the land and

suddenly it was night.

This demonstration helped hundreds of sentient beings in that area to

become enlightened. The name Nyima Özer or “Ray of Sun” was a

result of this incident as people remembered the yogi who could stop

the sun.

Vanesseca, the woman who owned the tavern, was among those who

were deeply moved by this. After Guru Nyima Özer left Varanasi,

she tried to get in touch with him. Upon learning where he was

meditating, she approachedto request more teachings. Guru Nyima

Özer gave her direct transmission of the Dzogchen teachings and

Vanesseca immediately became a great yogini. When she began to

share these special teachings, she attracted so many students that

there came to be a Vanesseca lineage.

On the inner level, Guru Nyima Özer signifies a clear understanding

of the structure of one’s psycho-physical constitution. He is the

Buddha associated with mystical experience and spiritual realization.

That is the primary message communicated by the emanation Guru

Nyima Özer. To know the secrets of the inner structure of one’s

physiology means that the discovery of primordial wisdom is very,

very close. Therefore, it is important to become familiar with the

subtle structures of the body. In the inner tantras, these are known as

the residing channels  (rtsa), the display of the winds (the movements

in these channels or  rlung), and the ornamentation of the essence

elements of the body  (thig-le). Our entire experience, the patterning of

our conceptions, the displays of our visual and auditory systems, are

all reflections of these three structures. To understand this well is to

be in direct and deep communication with the energies of both the

internal and external world.

All we see of earth, water, sun, clouds, wind, and fire is no other than

a reflection of our own inner structures. More specifically, forms such

as trees, grass, water and mountains are no other than reflections of

the channels. Sound and echoes are a reflection of the movement of

winds. Your external world mirrors your inner constitution.

Inwardly, the primordial nature manifests as  thig-le, the essential.

elements of the body. There are white and red forms of  thig-le. Both

are completely free from any formation or visibility, abiding in a

cycle of complete equanimity.  Thig-le  are reflected externally in the

planets, the sun, moon, and stars. Their brightness and clarity reveal

a radiant openness. These are no other than reflections of the essence

elements of the body. We think of the sun and moon as two unique

things, but according to Buddha’s teachings, there are billions of suns

and innumerable moons and planets. All are reflections of the infinite

reality of primordial wisdom, displayed in this form and appearing

according to the needs of individuals.

To clearly comprehend the interrelated dynamics of all three aspects

of the vajra body allows primordial wisdom to awaken very easily.

The bright, clear light of primordial wisdom is the essential source of

all these inner structures. This must be understood. Revelations of

these hidden dimensions of the body are often accompanied by great

joy and happiness. This is also known as  bde-chen  or great

blissfulness. Blissfulness is an inherent quality of primordial truth. By

tuning in to one’s own vajra structuring, insights and joyful

experiences will arise, transcending all sense of hardship and

difficulty. Full comprehension of the galaxy within corresponds to

control of the external elements. This is why Nyima Özer had no

difficulty controlling the sun or his lifespan. Through internal

knowledge and discipline, he gained mastery over such things. He

had realized a certain flexibility, a skillful means of exercising his will

that is incomprehensible to our modern views. This is the external

way to understand Guru Nyima Özer.

The inner way is to know your own internal structures to the point of

great blissfulness, great equanimity and the full realization of

primordial wisdom. When you become intimately familiar with the

channel and wind systems, when you understand the cycles of the

essence elements of the body, you will enjoy a clarity that will

eventually lead to primordial wisdom. This is how to understand the

inner meaning of Nyima Özer.

To practice on Guru Nyima Özer, meditate on love and compassion

and feel into the deeper nature of the mind. Visualize him as he is

usually depicted in thangkas. This form is known as Sambhoga

Nyima Özer. He has one face, two arms, and two legs. His skin color

is golden-red and his facial expression is semi-wrathful, with both

eyes opened wide and bulging a little. He has long hair, some of.

which is tied up above a tiara of five skulls, while most is hanging

loose over his shoulders. He has a moustache, beard and a few bone

ornaments. He is bare-chested and wears a tiger-skin skirt. His left

hand is making the subjugation mudra and he seems to be bringing

sunlight down on to the tip of his finger. His right hand is holding a

katvanga and he sits on a lotus with sun and moon discs, his left leg

partially extended and his right drawn in.

When meditating on Guru Nyima Özer, see him as a wisdom form, a

manifestation of love and compassion in a rainbow body, not as a

solid entity. In this condition, recite the Vajra Guru Mantra while the

radiance of Guru Nyima Özer shines on all sentient beings and even

illuminates the pure land. The blessing power of the Buddha rains

down on Guru Nyima Özer as he emanates a golden-red light. This

light envelops you and in resonance with the wind and channel

exercises, intensifies realization. Dissolve Guru Nyima Özer into the

golden-red light and absorb the light into your heart center where it

mingles with the primordial nature of the mind. Relax in that state

for as long as you can.

This is a very powerful practice for the actualization of beneficial

activities. If you are beginning to practice love and compassion and

value wisdom but are limited in your ability to embody your

understanding, Guru Nyima Özer will help you actualize these

qualities and bring them into relationship with sentient beings.

Remember that our visual and tactile perceptions of phenomena, the

vibrations registered by our auditory system, and our experience of

space or luminosity are all external displays of transformations

happening in our channel and wind systems. When this is

recognized, the essence elements are immediately transformed into

great emptiness-bliss. To abide in this way frees one from all

discomfort, hardship and difficulty. Everything is transformed into

great blissfulness. This is how to practice Guru Nyima Özer.


Guru Padmasambhava

The Lotus-born

The fourth emanation is Guru Padmasambhava. He is part of the

continuity of enlightened activities which happened after Nyima

Özer and Loden Chokse. This emanation is about transforming

negative energy into more peaceful and compassionate forms,

developing the power, and expressing the inner urge of Guru

Padmasambhava which is the heart of loving-kindness and

compassion. There is no hint of suppression or repression in Guru

Padmasambhava. His negativity transforming disposition helps us to

grow ever stronger in compassion simply by coming into contact

with the emotional reactivity of others. This is the particular purpose

and power associated with this emanation of Guru Rinpoche.

The following story is a good example of the power of Guru

Padmasambhava in transforming negative energy into more peaceful

and loving forms. According to the biographies, there were at least

four different occasions on which people tried to burn Guru

Padmasambhava at the stake. The particular incident I am about to

relate also introduces the wisdom dakini, Princess Mandarava.

Guru Padmasambhava was meditating on Vulture Peak, the place

where Buddha Shakyamuni had delivered the Prajnaparamita

teachings. Upon internally inquiring where he might be able to offer

the most help to all beings, he had a vision of Zahor, a country

northwest of Bodhgaya. He also saw a wisdom dakini in his vision.

This was Mandarava, a perfectly enlightened being who happened to

be the daughter of the king. Guru Padmasambhava realized that with

her assistance, they could both achieve immortality or realize the

state of deathlessness. For these two reasons he immediately

manifested in the country of Zahor.

Geographically, the ancient border of Zahor would not be located far

from present-day Dharamsala where his Holiness the Dalai Lama is

living. There is a lake with lotuses there, called  Tso-pema  where Guru

Rinpoche performed many miraculous activities..

King Arsadhara of Zahor was quite wealthy and powerful at that

time. Although he had many queens, he had no sons and Mandarava

was his only daughter. Mandarava is a Sanskrit word, and the name

of a type of flower which translates roughly into English as “to catch

the mind” of others. During both her conception and birth there were

many auspicious signs and omens indicating that this would be a

remarkable child. After the little princess was born, she displayed all

the major and minor marks of a realized being. Mandarava grew

much faster than other children. It is said that she accomplished a

year’s growth in a week, quickly maturing into one of the most kind-hearted

and beautiful girls in that whole region. Everybody loved

and protected her. The young princess was popular throughout the


In those days, marriages were usually pre-arranged by the families.

Even today it is like this in many parts of India and Asia. Because she

was so beautiful and well-known, there were many kings, ministers

and rich people asking to marry Princess Mandarava. This worried

the king because he thought, “If I had hundreds of Mandaravas, I

could make friends and relations of them all, but unfortunately I only

have one Mandarava. If I give her to one, all the others will be angry.

Her husband might be happy, but everybody else will be upset.” He

fell into a dilemma and felt very confused as to a solution.

Finally, he decided to leave it up to Mandarava so that he could say it

was her choice. When asked, the Princess said she didn’t want any of

her suitors; she just wanted to practice and meditate. She had made a

decision and King Arsadhara was respectful of her choice. He had a

beautiful convent built and arranged for five hundred girls to

accompany Princess Mandarava in her quest for a spiritual life. They

all lived like nuns in hermitage.

One day during an outdoor practice, a magnificent rainbow appeared

high in the sky above the nunnery. In the center of this brilliant

rainbow light, Guru Padmasambhava appeared. As soon as he began

to speak, all the nuns felt a strong, intimate connection with him.

They asked him to come down and give more extensive teachings. So

he descended into the courtyard and was invited into the meditation

hall where he began to instruct them in the practices of the inner

tantras..Now a cowherd was in search of a cow by the hermitage. He couldn’t

find the cow, but while he was looking around, he thought he saw a

man being invited into the convent. Thinking that perhaps his eyes

had deceived him, he quietly approached the wall and heard what

was unmistakably a man’s voice coming from inside the convent. So

he went down to the village to tell everybody. Well, people were

quite upset. They didn’t like the idea of the nuns having a man in

their midst. If they wanted to study the Dharma and give up

household life, why did they invite this man in? And what was his

intention in being there? A few people decided to investigate for

themselves and concluded that there was definitely a man in the

royal convent. This was very shocking news and folks were not

prepared to accept such a state of affairs. Rumors multiplied

throughout the villages and by the time word got to the palace, it had

become an incredible scandal. King Arsadhara was extremely angry.

Even the queen mother was insulted. Emotionally, it was as if a

volcano had erupted in the royal chambers. A group of ministers and

soldiers were dispatched to check out the truth of the allegations, and

if they were true, to kill the offender and to punish everyone else


When the king’s delegation arrived at the convent’s meditation hall,

Guru Padmasambhava was expounding the Dharma while sitting on

a throne surrounded by all 500 nuns. Everybody was very calm and

peaceful. It looked like they were having a good time. When the

king’s men began to get aggressive, the nuns drew closer around

Guru Rinpoche and Mandarava. The Princess pleaded with them.

“Please don’t do this. This is our beloved teacher. He is helping guide

us to enlightenment. Tell that to my father. There is nothing else

going on here besides Dharma teachings.”

The men ignored her and Guru Padmasambhava was captured. His

hands were bound and they led him off surrounded by hordes of

people. They wanted to make sure that he did not try to run away. By

royal decree, his punishment was to be burned at the stake.

Mandarava was sentenced to prison for 25 years, while all 500 of her

attendants were sentenced to ten years. All of this was the king’s

decision. A great quantity of wood was collected from the local

households and soaked with sesame oil. Guru Rinpoche was tied in

the center and the pyre was lit. The king ordered that no one be

allowed into the area for a week except those who were tending the

fire..Now while Guru Rinpoche was in the midst of the flames, the fire

transformed into water, which soon became a lake encircled on its

outer perimeter by a ditch sporting a halo of upside-down flames. In

the center of this beautiful lake there was a wondrous lotus flower

and above that, Guru Padmasambhava was sitting in the posture of

royal ease, even more glorious than before. The guards who were

watching couldn’t believe what was happening but they attempted to

describe it in a message to the king. The king didn’t believe it either

and wanted it reconfirmed. The guards stuck by their story, so he

decided to come see for himself.

King Arsadhara cautiously approached the miraculous lake. At first,

he thought it was just a magical illusion, so he walked around the

outer ditch, trying to detect whether it was real or not. He blinked

and gazed hard, he rubbed his eyes and opened them wide as if there

was something wrong with his vision, but every time he turned to

look, he beheld the same incredible scene with Guru

Padmasambhava gloriously sitting in the center of a beautiful lotus

flower, looking more confident than ever. While the king was busy

making his investigation, Guru Padmasambhava called out,

“Welcome, oh ignorant king. You have such a narrow mind! Your

judgements are insane! You cannot do anything to me. Having

realized the great equanimity, my nature is like that of the sky which

cannot be burned or destroyed. Oh deceitful and obscured one, how

did you ever come to be king?”

Upon hearing this the King immediately felt very sorry about what

he had done. He fell on the ground and began doing prostrations

saying, “Master, please forgive me, I am sorry for all my ignorant

actions. I offer you my kingdom. Please come to the palace.”

Guru Padmasambhava answered “I don’t need a kingdom or a

palace.” So the king requested teachings and Guru Padmasambhava

accepted his invitation.

The king wanted to escort Guru Rinpoche in royal style, as he would

welcome another great monarch. He sent ministers back to the palace

to retrieve the royal vestments and presented Guru Padmasambhava

with ceremonial robes. In place of horses, King Arsadhara himself

pulled the Guru’s chariot into Zahor.

Historically, Guru Padmasambhava’s famous five-sided hat was a

gift from the King of Zahor. It was the King’s own coronation hat and

was offered to Guru Rinpoche as a symbol of respect. I don’t know if

he was wearing it when he came to Tibet or whether it was just one

of his favorites, but this five sided hat has become an auspicious


Mandarava and her 500 attendants were released from prison and

Guru Padmasambhava stayed in Zahor for a long time giving

Vajrayana teachings, specifically focusing on the combined

instruction of all the inner tantras. As a result, it is said that about

100.000 people, both men and women, reached the vidyadhara state.

This is considered a very high realization on the Vajrayana path and

Arsadhara, the king of Zahor, was among the fortunate ones.

The lake where they tried to burn Guru Padmasambhava is not far

from Dharamsala. It is still a popular place of pilgrimage. Maybe

some of you have gone there already or perhaps you will go in the

future. It is one of the major Buddhist pilgrimage spots in India.

In the nearby Himalayan region is an area called Kashmir which was

part of Tibet in ancient times. It is now part of India, but Kashmiri

culture is very much like that of Tibet. They wear clothing very

similar to the styles adopted by Tibetans and they practice Dharma.

They say that when Guru Padmasambhava emerged from the lake

surrounded by fire, the Kashmiri people were the first to offer him

tea. Therefore, they have a special connection with Guru Rinpoche.

Many young girls and groups of old ladies come to the lake holding

hands, and, while sitting on the shore of the lake, they chant and sing

for hours at a time. There is a small island which floats on the lake

called “The Lotus Stalk.” It consists of a tangle of roots, some soil and

a bit of bush. They say that whenever the women come and sing, that

island moves, confirming their unique connection with Guru

Rinpoche. We saw this ourselves. They start singing and the island

begins moving. It is really kind of nice. It is not a very big island, but

when the women chanted, the wind picked up and blew it toward

them. Sometimes these women even throw gold rings and jeweled

ornaments on to the island and when they leave, the island drifts

back out toward the center. This actually happens in  Tso-pema. We’ve

seen it with our own eyes quite a few times..

After this, Guru Padmasambhava went to the Martika Cavern, which

is renowned as the Cave of Immortality. There he practiced with

Mandarava for three months on the Buddha Amitayus. At the end of

this period, Buddha Amitayus appeared and initiated them into

deathlessness. Guru Rinpoche and Mandarava realized immortality.

They had defeated Mara, the demon of death. As we have already

said, Guru Padmasambhava is a totally enlightened being, prior to

appearing in this or any world. He is a direct emanation of Buddha

Amitabha and a reincarnation of Buddha Shakyamuni. This means he

is free from both emotional and mental obscurations and is always

transcendent to death and mortality. But on the relative level, he

came to this realization in Martika Cave.

Guru Padmasambhava is the always present Buddha. His influence is

still with us. His inspiration, his blessings, and his presence pervade

Tibetan history. He did not merely appear in the eighth century and

then disappear. In every century, the great masters of all four schools

of Tibetan Buddhism have been guided by Guru Rinpoche directly or

indirectly. His presence is always with us, which is why he has

become known as the always living or present Buddha. This is

another way of understanding the truth of Guru Rinpoche’s


In historical terms, Guru Padmasambhava was born eight years after

Buddha Shakyamuni’s mahaparinirvana. Yet when he came to Tibet

in the eighth century, he was still young. As I said earlier, we cannot

comprehend enlightened activities within the limits of our ordinary

conceptions. We cannot fathom these stories because our knowledge

is very restricted and will not accept what the mind perceives as

contradictory. For example, there are teachings which say that Guru

Padmasambhava came to Tibet when he was 3000 years old. In

ancient India they employed a system which counted the waxing

moon as one month and the waning moon as another month. That

way, one year becomes two. But this still means he was at least 1500

years old when he came to Tibet. It is very difficult to fit this

statement in with the rest of our knowledge. Occasionally you will

see people over one hundred on television and invariably, they

appear very old. It is often difficult for them to move. Most of us

would be surprised if a 100 year old man could walk through the

doorway of his house, never mind a 1500 year old man crossing the

Himalayas!.When Guru Padmasambhava became immortal, he completely

transformed all the gross elements into their subtle wisdom forms.

These wisdom elements are free from decay, decline and change.

Liberation from these notions gave him the flexibility and openness

to perform many incomprehensible activities. This also applies to

wisdom dakini Mandarava.  She too, is a totally enlightened,

immortal being who has appeared again and again in many different

forms. Mandarava was only the first of these incarnations. The

second is known among the Gelugpas, the Sakyas and Kagyus as the

Queen of Accomplishment. In another incarnation, she is a famous

long-life Buddha emanating from the Padma family. Around the

tenth century there lived a great yogini named Machig Lapdron who

was yet another emanation of the wisdom dakini Mandarava.

It is important to understand that all the activities of Guru Rinpoche

are designed to break through the rigidity of dualistic concepts and

conventions. He is beyond the limits of worldly views and traditions.

In one sense, these conditional forms are very important and special,

but in another way, they are just conceptual systems developed to

solve certain problems, none of which apply to the realization of the

true nature. Our view of things is a creation or product of our

conceptualizing. Guru Padmasambhava’s activities transcend these

definitions and indicate that in order to become enlightened we have

to go beyond mundane approaches.

Guru Rinpoche has appeared in the world in the guise of kings and

queens, royal ministers, peasants, children, and even as animals. He

continues to appear in many different ways in order to help beings

break down the walls of dualistic conceptions which restrict

understanding, liberating them into the vastness of equanimity. That

is the focus of Guru Rinpoche’s activity. As the embodiment of

ultimate bodhicitta, he uses many different forms to communicate.

Bodhicitta is available to every sentient being all the time, throughout

the day, from year to year throughout all our lifetimes and on into

the future forever. It is something that is very special for every one of

us. In developing bodhicitta, we don’t have to make any particular

effort to remove negative qualities, such as anger and jealousy. The

generation of bodhicitta naturally removes these obstacles, just as

darkness naturally disappears the moment the sun rises in the

eastern sky. Compassion is one of the primary roots of spiritual

practice. Every spiritual discipline must be based upon compassion.

and for that reason Guru Padmasambhava taught that if you don’t

have compassion, then the root of your spirituality will be rotten. It

might even start to smell.

Everybody needs love and compassion all the time. There is nobody

who will refuse the gift and benefits of love and compassion. These

qualities are well symbolized by the lotus flower or padma which is

always fresh and lovely. Everyone can appreciate its beauty.

Sambhava  means essence or identity. This means that the essence of

all blessing and benefit for beings in samsara is bodhicitta. It is the

essence of real spiritual practice and we should continually develop it

in ourselves.

Practicing on Guru Padmasambhava will help us cultivate bodhicitta

and transform negativity. So begin meditating with the bodhicitta

attitude and then visualize a small sphere of white light which has a

reddish glow. This transforms into the transcendental wisdom body

of Guru Padmasambhava with one face, two arms and two legs. His

complexion is a rich white and his demeanour is very peaceful. He is

wearing a red monk’s hat. Sometimes I wear the same kind of hat

when I give empowerments. It is tall and pointed. He sits on a lotus

surmounted by sun and moon discs. His right hand is making the

protection mudra, while his left hand holds a skull-cup filled with

amrita or long-life nectar. During the practice, imagine that the

wisdom blessing of this nectar flows out to you and all sentient

beings, purifying negative emotions, mental obscurations, diseases,

external obstacles and so forth. Do this until you feel that everything

has been completely transformed into the purity of the original

sphere of primordial wisdom.

You can do this meditation anytime, but it is particularly effective

when your mind feels disturbed, tired, and crowded with too many

conceptions, over-busy with stressful thoughts and heavy attitudes.

Of course, you can also do other practices at such times, but when

you need to transform or regenerate your energy, it is especially good

to meditate on Guru Padmasambhava. It will revitalize your life force

and help balance the essence elements of the body. Feel deeply into

his presence with love and compassion, and arouse bodhicitta. When

you excel in the practice on bodhicitta, you are filling your whole

body, your heart, all your channels and wind systems, with the

energy of love, compassion and wisdom. This brings a calm and

peaceful state of relaxation and helps create a nice atmosphere for.

other sentient beings, harmonizing both internal and external


While clearly visualizing Guru Padmasambhava, begin reciting the

Vajra Guru Mantra. Open your heart and mind until you are full of

love, compassion and wisdom and chant in that mood for as long as

you have time. When you are finished, dissolve the visualization into

a sphere of white light with a reddish tinge around the edges and

draw it into your heart center. Meditate for awhile in that non-dual

disposition and then dedicate the merit to all sentient beings.

This completes four emanations, so we have four more to go.


Guru Shakya Sengé

Lion of the Shakyas

The fifth emanation is Guru Shakya Sengé, the form of Guru

Rinpoche demonstrating the means of awakening within this lifetime

through discipline and detachment. This is a very simple and gentle

approach, the gradual way of enlightenment. Shakya Sengé wears

monk’s robes and embodies the principle of realization through the

monastic path.

After Buddha Shakyamuni’s mahaparinirvana, there were seven

generations of regents, the first being Mahakashyapa and the second,

Ananda. The third and fourth lineage holders, Sanavasika (T.

Nimakungwa) and Upagupta, were originally Ananda’s students.

Guru Shakya Sengé was ordained along with both of them by the

Venerable Ananda on a small island in the Ganges River. There is a

tradition of performing ordinations on such islands, which continues

even today in Sri Lanka. Some schools don’t ever give the full

ordination on land. They’ll go out on a river, a lake or the ocean and

do it in a boat. It is said that when Guru Shakya Sengé was ordained,

the earth goddess offered him monk’s robes and a begging bowl in

the presence of the buddhas of the ten directions.

After his ordination, Shakya Sengé practiced according to the

traditional system which involves study, contemplation, and

meditation. For more than twenty years he studied with Ananda,

primarily focusing on the Tripitaka, or the Three Baskets of teachings;

the vinaya, sutra and abhidharma. Guru Shakya Sengé mastered the

Tripitaka as well as the outer and inner tantras and realized


After studying with Ananda, Guru Shakya Sengé spent many years

in Bodhgaya. He practiced and taught the vinaya, sutra and

abhidharma, serving many who were particularly suited to these

teachings. Then he went to Rajagrha or Vulture Peak, one of the most

famous places in the world of Buddhism. Here he meditated on the

Prajnaparamita Sutras. The Buddha said that Vulture Peak has a

special power to pacify the mind so as to reveal its true nature.

Shakya Sengé went to meditate and contemplate the Prajnaparamita

in all the places Buddha had originally given these teachings.

In Nepal, Guru Shakya Sengé took up the Vajrayana. In particular, he

practiced on Vajrakilaya, which is one of the eight  heruka  teachings.

These are very secret transmissions, the innermost of the tantric

sadhanas. He practiced and meditated on Yangdag Heruka and

Vajrakilaya for about three years. With this combination, he reached

the highest Heruka level which is known as Mahamudra.

Mahamudra is the understanding of great emptiness in which the

entire universe is seen as great emptiness-bliss, within which

everything manifests. According to historical accounts, Guru

Rinpoche came to this realization in Nepal during the emanation

time of Guru Shakya Sengé.

Vajrakilaya is a very important deity of the inner tantras. He

represents the power and activities of all the Buddhas of the three

times and ten directions. So by achieving the same realization as

Vajrakilaya, Guru Rinpoche gained the ability to subdue negative

forces all over the world. He used his ability to heal an eruption of

the dark forces of the earth and sky that was taking place in Nepal at

the time. These were among the activities of Guru Shakya Sengé,

although he is mainly associated with discipline and gentleness.

In spite of his high realization, Guru Shakya Sengé follows the

simplest ways and skillfully makes use of ordinary forms. He

represents authentic spiritual development which proceeds from the

ground level. He is not passively absorbed in a high state but is

working from the grassroots. Even though Guru Shakya Sengé is

fully realized, he makes appropriate use of worldly conventions. To

be well aware of the law of karmic causation and to apply this

knowledge in practice is the essential teaching of Guru Shakya Sengé.

Guru Shakya Sengé’s activities had a profound influence on King

Ashoka, the most famous and powerful monarch in all of Indian

history. Ashoka was predicted by Buddha Shakyamuni in the

following way; one day the Buddha was going to the city to beg for

lunch. On the way, he passed a beach where a group of children were

playing. They were building sand castles complete with structures for

the king’s court and treasure house. The children had even taken on

positions such as king, queen, and ministers..As the Buddha and his  

students approached, the little boy who was  acting as the king saw  

them coming and was very happy. He picked  up a handful of the sand  

and gravel which symbolized the royal  treasure and ran toward the Buddha.  

When Ananda saw that the  child was going to put sand in the Buddha’s  

begging bowl, he was  ready to turn the boy away, but the Buddha said,  

“Let me accept his  offering.  

This is special.” The Buddha lowered his bowl, but the child  could not reach it.  

So the boy called for one of his little ministers.  

The  boy king asked his friend to get down on all fours and then stood on

his back to put the offering in Buddha’s begging bowl.

Ananda and the other students saw all this and were very amazed.

They asked, “Who is this child?” And Buddha replied, “This boy is

uncommon. Through his aspirations and this connection with me

here today, he will become a very great king about two hundred and

fifty years after my mahaparinirvana. He will help spread my

Dharma and support the sangha. He will create as many monuments

to the Buddha throughout the world as the grains of sand which he

carries on his palms. This is a very special child and his companions

who helped him today will continue to support this boy’s activities in

the future.” Then the Buddha did a special dedication prayer and

continued on into the city. That was his prophesy about King


As predicted, Ashoka appeared about two hundred years after

Buddha’s mahaparinirvana. He was the son of a very famous

monarch, but he was not considered a prince because he wasn’t born

in the palace. The King had been with another woman outside the

palace and Ashoka was her son. Everybody knew of this. Most of

Ashoka’s half-brothers lived within the palace walls. When the king

died, the brothers all started fighting for the throne. It seems the only

thing that they all agreed on was that Ashoka should not be king. But

Ashoka wanted to be king, and in any case, he had to defend himself

against the anger and jealousy of his half-brothers. The situation

culminated in a terrible fight one day which involved many of the

sons but finally, Ashoka emerged victorious. He had killed all the

others to become king. Soon he moved the palace from the original

site to Pataliputra. Today this place is known as Patna. Having re-established

his capital at Pataliputra, Ashoka, a very powerful and

vigorous fighter, started conquering other kingdoms and became

ruler of nearly all of central India..Ashoka pursued military conquest for  

years and killed many people.

He was a very violent and cruel king. In some accounts, it is said that

he wouldn’t even eat lunch before he killed someone. In those times

there was a school centering on a wrathful female goddess. Ashoka

was a follower of this sect and his master told him that if he executed

10,100 human beings and offered them to the goddess, his power

would increase, but since this was a ritual, he was not to do it in the

ordinary, military way. So Ashoka had a ceremonial house built right

at the central junction of Pataliputra. It had four doors, one in each of

the four directions and whoever was unfortunate enough to step

inside would be executed, according to the king’s orders.

As Buddha Shakyamuni stated, Ashoka had a good, strong

foundation for the Dharma but for the moment, his great motivations

were obscured. In order to help dispel those obscurations, Guru

Rinpoche came in the form of a simple monk and stepped inside the

house of sacrifice. The executioner asked him to come forward and

drew his sword.

The monk asked, “Why are you going to kill me?”

The executioner replied, “Because these are the king’s orders. It is

part of a special ceremony.”

So the monk said, “Let me stay here for one week and after that you

can kill me.” The butcher agreed to this and the monk immediately

started telling him about the six realms of existence, describing each

one in detail. At the end, he pointed out that if he had already been

killed, the butcher would never have heard this profound teaching.

The monk meditated awhile and then gave more extensive teachings

on the hell realms. He told the butcher about the karma of killing and

hurting sentient beings, saying that this would lead to birth in

various hell realms. He explained how certain negative thoughts and

actions relate to specific forms of suffering.

Well, as it happened, the butcher thought, “Until now I only knew

one way of killing, but this monk has taught me many more. When

the week is over, I am going to boil him in a big pot and then roast


By the end of the week, the executioner had prepared everything just

the way he wanted it. He had the monk thrown alive into a huge.

cauldron of boiling soup. Then he pulled out and roasted him for

awhile, But then, in the midst of the fire, he saw Guru Shakya Sengé

sitting cross legged on a lotus. Thinking this rather extraordinary, he

informed the king. Ashoka had to come see this for himself.

When Ashoka was entering the room, the executioner suddenly

recalled his mandate to kill whoever came through the door.  

So he  drew his sword, and the King, who never travelled without a

weapon, drew his own and asked, “Why are you trying to kill me?”

“Those were your orders,” the executioner answered.

And the king said, “I don’t remember giving you any orders to kill


The butcher reminded him, “You ordered me to kill the first ten

thousand people who come into this room. I still have a ways to go.

Therefore I am under orders to kill you.”

So Ashoka said, “Well, if that is the case, you were in here first, so

maybe I should kill you!”

At that point, the monk effortlessly levitated up into the sky. After

performing the four activities of sitting, standing, laying down and

walking in space, he began giving teachings. They were still having

quite an argument while the monk was performing these miraculous

activities in the sky above them.

Soon, Guru Shakya Sengé began to talk to them about how bad the

karma is for taking the lives of other sentient beings. “These are

terrible actions,” he said. “This is not the Dharma, which is a positive

path. Stop all this violence. Since the king is unwilling to give his

own life in this ceremony, how can he take the lives of others? You

have been told about the evils of killing, so you should not take the

lives of others anymore.”

The monk warned, “By taking advantage of your power and using it

for selfish ends, you will end up suffering far more than your


Upon hearing this, both King andexecutioner dropped their swords

and became blissfully aware of the Guru who continued giving.teachings.  

Ashoka himself destroyed the sacrificial house and then  took refuge in  

the Three Jewels.

Historical records relate that after this episode, Ashoka vowed that

he would never again touch a sword with violent or negative

thoughts. It is said that he became the most gentle and peaceful king

of all time. Even without making war, Ashoka’s loving-kindness and

compassionate attitude insured that his domain grew even bigger

and more prosperous until his kingdom covered a large part of

southern Asia. It spread from Afghanistan on the west to Burma and

Cambodia in the east and south to Sri Lanka. Ashoka visited the

pilgrimage places of the Buddha and erected many stone pillars,

inscription stelae, pyramid-shaped monuments and one million

stupas containing Buddha relics throughout these lands. In Nepal,

there are four or five stupas near Kathmandu that were built by

Ashoka and there are many others all over India.

Previously, he had been known as Ashoka the Cruel, but since he’d

become a follower of Dharma his name was changed to

Dharmashoka. He is one of the greatest examples of a religious

monarch in the history of the world. In the guise of a simple monk,

Guru Padmasambhava helped bring Ashoka to the Dharma.

That was the external version of the story concerning Guru Shakya

Sengé’s activities in Pataliputra. The inner meaning is that bodhicitta

is the absolute state of Guru Shakya Sengé. This supremely beneficial

thought arising from the expanse of infinite love and immeasurable

compassion is always coemergent with wisdom. Wisdom matures the

expression of love and compassion so that they become pure and

true. These qualities are not externally existing, as if you would have

to acquire them from anywhere outside yourself. They are all

naturally inherent within you. Love and compassion are already

yours to share. Look into your mind and discover that it has a

wondrous array of original attributes. Loving-kindness and

compassion are supreme among these primordial qualities.

The precious bodhicitta is radiating all the time, guiding us through

all our difficulties even though we are hardly aware of it. Love and

compassion inspire us to communicate and make friends with each

other. They are completely based in primordial wisdom and

inseparable from the nature of ordinary awareness. Therefore, when

we start to actively develop bodhicitta, negative emotions, such as.

anger, hatred, jealousy, and violent thoughts, naturally dissolve and

vanish. When you begin to cultivate genuine loving-kindness and

compassion, ego-clinging and obstructions naturally disappear. At

the same time, you feel great joy, peace and happiness which can be

shared and appreciated by your friends and others. We should grow

strong in the practice of friendliness and compassion toward all


The absolute way to understand Guru Shakya Sengé is as detachment

and simplicity; to find satisfaction, joy and happiness in following the

middle path between asceticism and luxury. This principle is well

represented in the serene mood and transcendent discipline

expressed in artistic representations of Guru Shakya Sengé.

The Sambhoga Guru Shakya Sengé portrayed on thangkas looks a lot

like Buddha Shakyamuni in a monk’s robe with one face, two arms,

two legs and a top knot or  unishaka  on his crown chakra. In Tibetan,

this feature is called  tsupa  which is nothing other than a dark blue

concentration of wisdom light. His skin is golden and his robes are

red. He holds a begging bowl in the palm of his left hand while

sitting on a lotus with sun and moon discs. Whereas Buddha

Shakyamuni stretches his right hand down in the earth touching

mudra, Guru Shakya Sengé holds a five-pointed vajra. Like all the

other emanations, his body is luminous and transparent, being

completely of the nature of a wisdom-rainbow body.

As in all the previous meditations, begin with the supreme thought to

benefit others. Visualize a small sphere of golden light which

transforms into Guru Shakya Sengé. Recite the Vajra Guru mantra for

as long as you’d like before absorbing the golden wisdom-essence

into your heart. Remain in non-dual meditation for a while and then

dedicate the merit to all sentient beings.

Among the six paramitas, Guru Shakya Sengé is associated with  sila.

By making us more calm and peaceful, practice on Guru Shakya

Sengé will naturally develop moral strength, discipline and perfect

conduct, which leads to deeper concentration and contemplation. The

middle path beyond asceticism and indulgence leads to great

equanimity and a profound realization of the true nature. This is the

main principle embodied in the emanation of Guru Shakya Sengé.


Guru Sengé Dradok

The Lion’s Roar

The sixth manifestation of Padmasambhava is Guru Sengé Dradok.

Sengé Dradok is the first of the two wrathful emanations of Guru

Rinpoche, the other being Dorje Drollo. Wrathful deities are

particularly useful in counteracting negative influences from black

magic, curses and other disturbances, such as people who malign you

for no good reason. Guru Sengé Dradok is very efficient in subduing

or pacifying such obstacles.

Sengé Dradok emanated in India. Orissa, which is not far from

Calcutta, was the site of a very famous stone lingam and yoni which

symbolizes Shiva in union with his consort. Every day people would

slaughter and burn many animals there in ceremonial sacrifices.

Sengé Dradok went there and pointed his finger at this lingam until it

cracked and burst. People took that as a sign and stopped making

animal sacrifices in that area.

Another story related to Guru Sengé Dradok took place north of

Bodhgaya at Nalanda, the largest monastery in the history of

Buddhism as well as the first great university on earth. As part of the

contemplation practices at Nalanda, practitioners engaged in debates

so as to refine their understanding of the Dharma. Everyday, there

were lively exchanges expressing the viewpoints of the various

schools within Buddhism as well as arguments in support of the

tenets of some non-buddhist traditions. These contests still go on at

some of the bigger monasteries.

In ancient times, it was expected that the loser of the debate would

convert to the winner’s viewpoint. It happened that a group of 500

powerful, non-Buddhist scholars came to Nalanda. For the most part,

they were black magicians, so they requested a two-part competition,

the normal scholarly debate, followed by a contest of magic. Nalanda

was full of scholars and it was easy to find five hundred qualified

debaters, but no one at Nalanda was skilled in magic. They knew that

this could cost them the debate and force them to convert, so they

had a meeting to figure out what to do..Suddenly a black lady appeared  

in the sky before them and said:

“Don’t worry. My brother can help you.”

“Who is your brother?” they asked.

“His name is Padmavajra,” she replied.

“Where is he?” they asked.

“He is now living in the darkness of the Frightful Charnel Ground.

You must call on him to come.”

And they said, “We don’t have his number. How should we invite


So the black lady taught them the secret hot-line code:  

The Seven Line  Prayer.  

She told them Padmavajra would appear if they petitioned

him in this way. As they chanted the prayer from the rooftops of

Nalanda, Guru Rinpoche immediately appeared and agreed to help


Come the day of the debate, the Buddhists easily won the first half of

the contest. The non-buddhist school then threatened them with by

saying that after a week there would be plenty of signs. So Guru

Rinpoche practiced on Singhamukha, the Lion-faced dakini, and she

immediately gave him the appropriate teachings to actualize the

completion stage. When a week had passed, a host of frightful omens

like violent winds and thunder came. Guru Rinpoche transformed

into the wrathful Sengé Dradok and with the freedom and power of

the lion’s roar, he made the subjugation mudra and threw the

thunderback at them. They also conjured other minor forms of

disturbing magic, like threatening entities hovering in the sky and

other terrible things. Guru Sengé Dradok pointed the subjugation

mudra and the dark shadows immediately fell to the ground. This

was how he protected Nalanda University and helped meditative

and contemplative activity continue flourishing there. All these

extraordinary actions are associated with the energy of Guru Sengé


The form of Guru Sengé Dradok is especially helpful in subduing the

irrational energies of black magic as well as at dispelling bad omens.

and nightmares. If, unexpected obstacles suddenly arise, he has the

power to neutralize both visible and invisible beings and to avert

natural disasters. Guru Sengé Dradok can pacify all such threats. He

is also a strong buddha for overcoming jealousy. When you stop

being jealous, your attitude becomes one of love and compassion.

There is nothing obstructing the free radiation of beautiful qualities.

Sengé Dradok is a wrathful emanation but his wrath is basically

directed toward the destruction of jealously and greed. It is not

accompanied by attachment and clinging; there is nothing to win or

lose. Rather, this wrath actively dispels lust and envy. There are

many wrathful deities in the Vajrayana, but none of them are angry

or emotionally negative. These forms express the intensity of true

love and the fierceness of genuine compassion involved in dispelling

attachment, ignorance and anger. There is a line from a Vajrakilaya

tantra which says, “The vajra wrath of bodhicitta cuts through and

destroys anger.” This is very important to understand. The wrathful

nature of Guru Sengé Dradok is totally based upon love and

compassion for all sentient beings.

The absolute way to meditate on Guru Sengé Dradok is to transcend

jealousy and greed. This will instantly overcome black magic, curses,

hexes, nightmares, and unexpected obstacles.

To practice on Guru Sengé Dradok, begin by cultivating a feeling of

loving kindness and bodhicitta. Then visualize a dark blue sphere of

light within a churning black cloud which transforms into the

wisdom rainbow form of Guru Sengé Dradok. His skin color is dark

blue and he has one face, two arms and two legs. Wearing a tiger-skin

and surrounded by wisdom fire, he stands upon a demon who

embodies negative habit energy and black magic. All of this is

happening above a lotus surmounted by sun and moon disks. A

crown of five skulls sits on his head and his long reddish-yellow hair

blows up into the sky. He has three glaring eyes looking upward and

four fangs. His right hand holds a flaming, five-pointed vajra high in

the air and his left hand makes the subjugation mudra toward the

earth. Lightning bolts fly from the tips of his fingers and sometimes

you will see eight-spoked iron wheels spinning amidst the flames.

Imagine he is chanting with great power, the syllables HUM and

PHAT! Like a lion’s roar, the deep vibration of his voice shakes the

entire world..Visualize Sengé Dradrog and recite the Vajra Guru  

Mantra as much  as you can while he radiates wisdom lights which  

dissolve all  negativity, black magic, bad omens, nightmares,  

or anything in the  environment that might seem a little strange or unusual.  

Feel that  these obstacles are completely removed by his blessing.  

Finally,  dissolve Sengé Dradok into a dark blue light which merges  

with your  heart center. Remain in meditation as long as you can and then

dedicate the merit to all beings.


Guru Padma Jungné.

The seventh emanation of Guru Rinpoche is called Guru Padma

Jungné. According to Guru Rinpoche’s biography, six emanations

occurred outside of Tibet. Again, it is difficult to organize these

stories into a linear time-frame because Guru Rinpoche’s wisdom

activities are not limited by time and space; but traditionally, this

emanation and the last one I described, appeared within the borders

of Tibet.

First, I would like to give you some background on the introduction

of the Buddhadharma to Tibet. Buddhism originally came to Tibet

around the end of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth century.

Tibetan histories recount that around that time, some Mahayana

scriptures, a golden stupa and a  tsa-tsa  mold were found on the roof

of the royal palace of Yum-bu bla-sgang in Yarlung. Tsa-tsa molds

are used to make small dough stupas, eight of which can be stacked

together to make a bigger stupa. Some accounts say that the twenty-eighth

ancestral king of Tibet, lHa-tho-tho-ri was sixty years old and

walking on the palace roof when these things descended from the

sky. This was early in the fifth century and the palace is considered

the first actual building in Tibet. Before that, most people lived in

tents and caves. There is still a monument there, although the

remaining ruins were completely destroyed during the Chinese

cultural revolution. Recently, I heard it has been restored in the

ancient style.

Another history states that an Indian monk brought these teachings

to the twenty-eighth ancestral king and told him that in five

generations they would be understood and that meanwhile, they

should be kept safe. In the fourth century, Tibetans still didn’t have a

written language so neither the king nor anyone else could

comprehend their meaning, but lHa-tho-tho-ri just knew they were

something special and auspicious. So he guarded and venerated

these precious treasures and as a result of his faith, his body was

rejuvenated and his life was extended for sixty more years. After a

long and prosperous reign, he died at one hundred and twenty

without knowing anything more about these objects. This was the

dawn of Dharma in Tibet.

Five generations later, in the sixth century, the thirty-third dynastic

king was the renowned  Srong-btsam sgan-gam-po, who is considered

an emanation of Avalokitesvara. Srong-btsam sgan-gam-po built the.

city of Lhasa which has been the capital ever since. He also sent his

minister Thon-mi Sambhota and a group of young Tibetans to study

Sanskrit in India. After returning, they created a systematic grammar

and alphabet for the Tibetan language and began the translation and

study of about twenty-one dharma texts from India, as well as other


Besides his Tibetan queens, Srong-btsam sgan-gam-po was married

to Wen-ch’eng, a princess from Chinese T’ang dynasty as well as

Bhrkuti, daughter of King Amsuvarman from Nepal. In those days,

Tibet was expanding and intermarrying with these families helped

consolidate his empire. The Buddhadharma was already well

established in China and Nepal, so both of his foreign wives were

devout Buddhists and brought a lot of Buddha’s teachings and two

famous statues to Tibet, but outside of the royal court and a few

select Tibetans, there were hardly any practitioners.

The thirty-eighth king in the dynasty was Trisrong Deutsen, who was

born around 740. At this time, Tibetan kings had grown powerful

and extended their domain through military conquest, so Tibet was

much larger than the area we now call Tibet. It stretched from the

Bay of Bengal to Nepal, east to China, including Sikkim and Bhutan

and then northwest up to Khotan. Trisrong Deutsen’s father, Mes-ag-tshom,

had died when the prince was only twelve. So young Trisrong

Deutsen came to the throne at age thirteen and served as a military

general, leading the Tibetan armies on various campaigns. For eight

years he remained dedicated to waging war, although at seventeen

his mind began to change and he was moved to look a little deeper.

He already knew that his father and grandfathers had valued the

Dharma but now it began to be meaningful to him. Although he

continued to lead his troops into battle for four more years, he began

reading a lot of Buddhist texts, and the happiness he felt in doing this

made it clear to him that the Dharma was something very special. He

was very inspired and moved by the Buddha’s teachings.

Among his ministers there were some Buddhist practitioners who

were more than happy to provide the king with Dharma texts.

Historically, three are named; the Diamond Sutra, a text on moral

conduct and the Grain of Rice Sutra. Buddha had originally given

this last teaching to a farmer in a rice field. As a King, Trisrong

Deutsen could appreciate the wisdom of the teaching on good

conduct. Upon reading The Grain of Rice Sutra, he understood that.

good conduct was not simply an end in itself, but that it was even

more valuable because it resulted in good contemplation. By the time

he’d finished reading the Diamond Sutra, he understood that the

Buddha’s teachings were not merely concerned with morality or

contemplation, but that their wisdom went very, very deep, to the

heart of things. Having comprehended some of the profundity and

implications of these teachings, he resolved to take significant action

to firmly establish Dharma in Tibet.

A group of younger, spiritually oriented ministers were instructed by

the King to find out who was the most highly qualified Buddhist

teacher in the world. Three groups were sent to three different places:

to China, India and to an area which is now in Afghanistan. One

minister travelled with three attendants to each destination, so

altogether, twelve people embarked. Upon returning, they all agreed

that the abbot of Nalanda University, an Indian monk named

Shantarakshita, was widely considered to be the supreme teacher of

his day. So the King decided to invite this great Khenpo to Tibet.

King Trisrong Deutsen sent a team of twelve messengers employing

redundancy and other safeguards to insure that his invitation to

Shantarakshita would get through. When Shantarakshita received it,

he was truly overjoyed and said, “I have waited for this opportunity

for a long time. There is nothing preventing me from going so I will

not delay. The time has arrived. I must depart immediately.”

Travel between Tibet and India was even more difficult and

dangerous in those days than it is now. It is always nice and warm in

the Indian lowlands, while Tibet is at a high altitude and gets very,

very cold. While aware of these hardships, Shantarakshita did not

hesitate. He made the journey to Tibet and stayed in the royal palace

for four months. During that time, the King and Queen took refuge

vows along with a small group of ministers. He gave teachings on the

ten virtues, the twelve links of interdependent origination, and the

eighteen dhatus. He taught in a very basic way during those four


Meanwhile, a number of natural disasters occurred. Tibetans were

suffering from earthquakes, floods and the outbreak of an epidemic.

Many people blamed these troubles on Shantarakshita’s presence.

They complained that his teachings were alien and blamed the King

and Queen for inviting this strange person into the royal palace.  

They.said the old monk’s teachings were at the root of all the current

misfortune and that he should be sent back over the mountain where

he came from.

In ancient Tibet, as in every country, the natives considered

themselves to be the best of all people and to occupy the central land

while the rest of the world was referred to as wild frontier or border

regions. So they wanted to send the stranger who had brought these

terrible disasters back across the border. They made a strong

statement to the King that he would have to get rid of his foreign


Trisrong Deutsen heard this but would not change his mind. He

courageously held to his commitment to bring the Buddhadharma to

Tibet. He was very sad to see all this happening, but his resolve was

never shaken. One day he came to Shantarakshita and began crying.

After explaining the nature of his problems, the King said, “I

sincerely wish that I could bring the Buddhadharma to my country.

How can we pacify this situation?”

Shantarakshita said, “Don’t worry about it. There are some natural

imbalances and negative spirits in Tibet. They will not accept the

Dharma easily and that is why these things have occurred. In order to

subdue these negative forces you should invite the renowned

teacher, Guru Padmasambhava. He is the greatest master on earth at

this time and can easily pacify all of these obstacles.”

And then the King asked, “If I invite him, will he come?”

Shantarakshita replied that Guru Padmasambhava would definitely

come. “You see,” he explained, “You and I and Guru

Padmasambhava, the three of us together, have a special connection,

a commitment from previous lives to bring the Buddhadharma to

this land where there is no Buddhadharma. The time is right. If you

invite him, you can be sure he will come. In the meantime, I will go to

Nepal. When Guru Padmasambhava comes, I will return and we can

all work together. We will make some good changes.”

And so the king sent Shantarakshita back across the border. When he

was ready to leave, the King offered the abbot a big bowl of gold dust

and Shantarakshita said, “I don’t need all of this, but I will take a

handful as a gift to the king of Nepal,” and he gave the rest back.

King Trisrong Deutsen sent three attendants to accompany.

Shantarakshita to Nepal, and at the same time he dispatched another

twelve messengers to invite Guru Padmasambhava to Tibet.

Now Guru Rinpoche, being totally omniscient, already knew the

whole situation, so instead of staying in India to wait for them, he

went to the Nepali-Tibetan frontier. He was sitting right by the

border when the Tibetans came walking along. They didn’t know

who he was, but the moment they saw him, they felt very calm and

peaceful. Guru Padmasambhava asked them, “Where are you fellows


“To India,” they answered. It was still a long way to India. His

presence was overwhelming and glorious. They began to feel very

happy and blissful. Their bodies began shaking.

“Why are you all going to India?” he asked.

“We have been sent by the King of Tibet to invite a very famous

master known as Guru Padmasambhava to come and give teachings

in our country.”

So Guru Padmasambhava asked, “I see. So what do you have to offer


In spite of the good feelings that they were having, this question

made them nervous; who was this man and what were his


One of them ventured to ask, “Well, are you Guru


He then began telling them the contents of their minds and thoughts

in such detail that they all knew without a doubt that this was the

very person they sought, Guru Padmasambhava. They did many full

prostrations and offered him the king’s gold along with a long letter.

Guru Padmasambhava looked at the gold and said, “This is a gift?

But it is so tiny! What is this, a gift from the king of the hungry ghost

realm? Don’t you have anything else?”.They went through the rest of  

their things and offered him all of their  personal belongings.  

Guru Padmasambhava asked again, “Do you  have anything else to  

offer me?

“We have nothing more to give than this gold from the King,” they

said, “but we sincerely offer you our bodies, speech and minds.”

Upon hearing this, Guru Padmasambhava was very pleased and

said, “That is wonderful.” By the devotion of these messengers he

could see that Tibetans were ready to practice the Dharma, and in

particular, the Vajrayana teachings. This heart-felt response

communicated the basic attitude necessary for Vajrayana practice.

Then Guru Padmasambhava made a closer inspection of the primary

offering. It was actually quite a big sack of gold. He looked at it for a

moment and then said, “I don’t need this!” and he began throwing

gold dust into the air, scattering most of it in the direction of Tibet.

The messengers thought, “He shouldn’t be doing this. This is

precious gold.” Guru Rinpoche immediately read their worried

minds and told the messengers to hold out their  chubas, the sash

which is part their robes. When they did this, he started picking up

handfuls of dirt from the ground and threw it in their laps where it

was instantly transformed into gold.

“Don’t worry about gold,” he said. “Keep what you have now and

take it back with you. I will come to Tibet, but I will be travelling

slowly and subduing negative forces on the way. We cannot travel

together. You must go ahead of me. I will arrive in central Tibet in

about three weeks. Tell your King I am coming.”

So the messengers returned to Tibet and told King Trisrong Deutsen

what had happened on their journey. For the most part, the King was

overjoyed, but a doubtful thought crossed his mind. He did not know

whether to believe that Guru Padmasambhava would actually come.

Two days walk from Lhasa is a place called Todlung pleasure park.

At the head of that valley is the place where the Karmapa’s

Monastery was eventually built. At this site they prepared a big

reception to welcome the great teacher. The King sent five hundred

cavalrymen along with his ambassadors Lha-sang and Lupe Gyalpo

to welcome Guru Padmasambhava. Lha-sang was the prime minister.

and the King’s right hand man. Guru Padma Jungné arrived on foot,

holding a walking stick.

I am sure you are all aware that Tibetans love to drink tea. It being

customary to make tea for guests, the reception party was preparing

to do just that when they discovered that there was no water

available nearby. Guru Rinpoche walked up on this and saw what

was happening. He poked his walking stick into the ground and

instantly, water began to flow from that spot. This spring still exists

and has become a popular place of pilgrimage. People still go there to

drink the water or bathe.

As Guru Padma Jungné approached the castle which Trisrong

Deutsen had built near the future site of Samyé monastery, he

walked a path between the King, who was surrounded by a great

gathering of Tibetan males, and the queens on the opposite side of

the road, surrounded by a great host of Tibetan ladies. There were

musicians and acrobats performing. It was quite an elaborate

reception. As Padma Jungné approached the king, he could see that

the young monarch was somewhat arrogant and proud.

Trisrong Deutsen was thinking, “The Guru should honor me with

greetings before I acknowledge him. After all, I am a powerful king,

ruler of three fourths of the world,” referring to Tibet’s dominance

over most of Asia at the time. The King had been spoiled by

Shantarakshita when the Khenpo had originally arrived. The great

abbot had humbly introduced himself and praised the King, who

now expected Guru Padmasambhava to follow suit.

As the King stood there and hesitated, Guru Rinpoche read his mind

and started singing. This is considered the first religious song in Tibet

and it has around nineteen verses with lines like, “I am the great

Guru Padmasambhava, I am King Padmasambhava, I am the Prince,

Padmasambhava, I am the strong young man, I am the Princess

Padmasambhava, I am the beautiful young girl, I am the great

astrologer, I am the skilled physician,” and so on. After each title, he

gives a few lines saying something more about that aspect of himself.

He begins his song saying, “Oh great King of Tibet listen to me now.

In all six realms beings are subject to death. But I am one who has

reached the immortal state free from both death and birth. I possess

the secret instructions on immortality. I see this entire universe as a

display of mind. Negative spirits and obstacles are my sport and.faithful  

assistants. Everything is mine. I am king of the universe and  have the  

ability to control all phenomena.”

When Padma Jungné moved to join his palms, wisdom flames shot

out from his fingertips, scorching the royal robes. Trisrong Deutsen

and his whole entourage immediately fell to the ground and began

doing prostrations. The inner interpretation of this event has to do

with establishing the appropriate relationship between student and

teacher. Guru Pama Jugne’s actions clearly defined the nature of this

connection, so vital to the spread of Buddhism in Tibet.

Soon Master Shantarakshita returned. A few days later, Guru Padma

Jungné climbed a small mountain above Samyé, sang a song to

subdue negative energies associated with both visible and invisible

beings, and performed consecration ceremonies for the land and

monastery, at the end of which he levitated and danced across the

sky. This celestial Dharma dance contained the design or ground

plan of Samyé Monastery and was the first religious dance in Tibet.

Of course, Guru Padma Jungné was quite an unusual person, so

unlike the typical lama dance, this one was performed in the sky, not

on the ground. This song was also the first song Guru Rinpoche sang

to subdue disruptive forces.

Guru Rinpoche and many other realized beings love dancing in

space. The vast openness of space is a wondrous place because all the

elements are present and everything fits together perfectly, yet there

is always room for a lot more. The four elements will never crowd

space. And in more spacious states of mind, all sorts of conceptions

can be accommodated; gods, demons and everything else can be

directly experienced and understood. There is room to infinitely

expand and deepen your exploration and appreciation of these

special, open states.

The song to subdue negative spirits says, “Listen mighty demons of

the world. I am Padma Jungné. And I came to this world

miraculously. I am free from sickness, old-age and death. I have

accomplished immortality. My body, speech and mind are

completely enlightened. I have the power to subdue all demons and

negativity. Knowing all conceptions and thoughts to be nothing other

than one’s own mind, I am beyond hope and fear. Nothing can injure

me, nobody can harm me. Clearly knowing that in the true nature of

primordial openness there are no gods and no demons, what  

might try to do can never affect my realization and  understanding.  

You cannot change one atom. In trying to harm me,  you only reveal  

that your mind is deluded.”

At this point, Guru Padma Jungné offered torma. Again, this was the

first time such a ceremony was performed in Tibet. He held up the

tormas and said, “I am offering these tormas to the host of demons

and malicious spirits. Though this is a small offering, I am

multiplying it through the power of my meditation so that everyone

of you will have a huge feast and can feel satisfied. In giving you this,

I am offering you everything you desire, so you must all be very

happy, and enjoy this supreme meal. By the power of my meditation

and mantra, I offer you this gift. Please come, accept it and be

content. Help promote peace and harmony throughout the land and

help me bring the Dharma here. Bless this effort to use the land to

build a monastery and accomplish the wishes of the King. Come

together and join with us in this work. Don’t ever ignore the speech

of any tantric practitioner, such as my self. Hurry now, please bless

this land!”

From then on, there were not too many obstacles to establishing the

Dharma in Tibet. It is said that during the construction of Samyé,

human beings labored in the daytime and the local deities would

work at night. Within five years, they completed all the buildings in

the monastery.

In constructing Samyé there was a lot of discussion about how large

to make it. King Trisrong Deutsen was a very strong man and a good

archer. They say an arrow shot from his bow in Tibet could reach

Nalanda University on the plains of India. The final decision was to

delineate the boundaries by having the King shoot arrows from east

to west and from north to south, and then build the wall for Samyé

around these cardinal points.

Now some of the ministers who weren’t too enthusiastic about this

whole project and knew the King’s strength, thought that rather than

trying to argue against such a big plan, it would be easier to trick the

King by weighting his arrows with mercury. That is how Samyé

Monastery ended up being fairly large, but not quite as big as it

would have been. Of course, King Trisrong Deutsen often had to

deceive these same ministers because they did not welcome or value

the Dharma and did want any monastery at all!.

Like the mandalas of the inner tantras, the buildings at Samyé are

laid out according to the configuration of four continents and eight

sub-continents clustered around the central Mount Sumeru. The

mandala was geomantically executed in architecture, reflecting the

Buddhist cosmology symbolizing the inner structure of the universe.

After the creation of glorious Samyé, Trisrong Deutsen said, “We

have finished building the monastery but this is not enough to fulfill

my aspirations. The main purpose of all this work is to actually bring

the Dharma here.”

King Trisrong Deutsen then asked Guru Padma Jungné and Khenpo

Shantarakshita for their assistance. Both agreed to help and after

discussing plans, the King personally selected a group of 108 young

Tibetans from ages eight to seventeen to learn Sanskrit and other

languages. Many of these youths became adept translators, rendering

texts from India, China, Turkestan, Kashmir and many other places,

into Tibetan. Working closely with other great Buddhist masters to

insure a high standard for the quality of the translations, all of the

Buddha’s teachings, from the Hinayana to the Vajrayana, became

available in Tibetan editions.

The Tibetan canon currently consists of 105 large volumes of the

Buddha’s teachings as well as another 253 volumes of commentaries

written by the great Indian masters. Most of these were translated

during the reign of Trisrong Deutsen. This is why he is remembered

as the king who brought the Buddhadharma to Tibet. He established

thirteen Buddhist monastic colleges throughout the country and

twelve major retreat centers, supporting these activities with his royal


Guru Padma Jungné journeyed all over Tibet, and it is said that there

is not one square inch of Tibetan soil that he did not bless with his

presence. With the help of wisdom dakini Yeshe Ts'ogyal and other

students, Guru Rinpoche hid teachings throughout the land to be

revealed to future generations at the appropriate moment. He

remained in Tibet for a long time, giving inner tantra teachings to

nine heart students and afterward to the 25 disciples, the 35 ngakpas,

the 37 yoginis and others. Many of these people attained

enlightenment within that life, some within a very short period of

time. The whole Buddhadharma, from the Hinayana to Dzogchen,

quickly became well established, illuminating the entire land of Tibet.

like bright sunshine. Thanks to the power and aspirational prayers of

Guru Padma Jungné, Shantarakshita and the Dharma King Trisrong

Deutsen, Tibet became the blessed home of thousands of highly

realized beings.

The subduing of demons and negative forces obstructing the Dharma

and the establishment of Samyé Monastery brought great blessings to

all of Tibet. This was the external work of the emanation known as

Guru Padma Jungné.

On the inner level, Padma Jungné is associated with the practice of

meditation. The inner tantras describe two aspects of the path; the

creation stage and the completion stage, also know as the

visualization and perfection practices. Guru Padma Jungné confers

special abilities to help us integrate these two stages and accomplish

both the ordinary and extraordinary siddhis. The tantric refuge

invokes the three roots of guru, deva and dakini. The root of

blessings is Guru Padma Jungné. He fulfills all wishes and helps his

devotees actualize and transcend all the stages of practice. The

Buddha Padma Jungné removes ignorance and lets us discover

primordial wisdom. This is very profound because there is no

separation between wisdom and the skillful means of its realization.

Guru Padma Jungné is a powerful symbol of the union of wisdom

and skillful means. Through this technique we can approach

enlightenment very quickly.

Guru Padma Jungné is visualized with one face, two arms, and two

legs, sitting in the posture of royal ease with a katvanga leaning on

his left shoulder. He holds a vajra in his right hand and in his left, a

skull bowl with a small vase in it. In another form, as Tso kyi Dorje,

his skin is dark blue, he has three eyes and instead of a katvanga, he

is embracing the wisdom dakini Yeshe Ts'ogyal.

Guru Padma Jungné is considered the simultaneous embodiment of

all eight emanations and is therefore associated with the four actions

of pacifying, increasing, magnetizing and subjugating. He is also a

long-life Buddha and can help balance the elements of our

physiology. The physical body consists of five elements; earth, water,

fire, air, and space. When our vitality decreases it can bring

imbalances causing us to get sick. Practicing on Guru Padma Jungné

is a very effective technique to help you remove obstacles, recharge.

the life force and restore balance. In a more general sense, he is

associated with accomplishing the four enlightened actions.

Begin by generating bodhicitta and visualizing a small sphere

radiating light of five colors, white, blue, yellow, red and green.

Concentrate on that for a moment and transform it into the

transcendent wisdom body of Guru Padma Jungné. Recite the Vajra

Guru Mantra with devotion while the rainbow rays continue to

stream out from his heart center in all directions. Then recollect the

light as the luminous essence of all the elements, returning it back to

the flask in Guru Jungné’s skull cup, until it overflows and floats

toward you. The light enters your crown chakra or heart center and

dissolves, correcting any imbalances and returning us to the peace,

clarity and freshness of perfect equanimity. Meditate like this for a

short time and then dedicate the merit to all beings. That is the way

to practice on Guru Padma Jungné, the seventh emanation.


Guru Dorje Drolo

The eighth emanation is another wrathful form, Guru Dorje Drolo.

Guru Dorje Drolo is the crazy wrathful Buddha of the degenerate era.

He has no regular pattern to his wrath. He is completely out of order!

Guru Dorje Drolo emanated right before Guru Rinpoche’s departure

from Tibet as a way of confirming his legacy of words and actions.

Some historians say that Guru Rinpoche stayed in Tibet for fifty-five

years. This emanation happened about five years before he left.

During this time, he gave many teachings which wisdom dakini

Yeshe Ts'ogyal transcribed. Following her guru’s instructions, she hid

many of these texts throughout the land. As he was preparing to

leave to convert the  rakshasas  in the southwest, Guru Rinpoche again

blessed the entire land of Tibet and multiplied the hidden Dharma

treasures through his meditative powers.

In order to preserve the practice of Dharma in Tibet, and secure the

commitment of the local spirits to extend their protection across

generations, Guru Padmasambhava emanated as Guru Dorje Drolo.

In this form, he reconfirmed the power of his realization and insured

the support and submission of the invisible beings. Dorje Drolo is the

Buddha dedicated to the awakening of all those who have appeared

since Guru Rinpoche left Tibet. Also at this time, he made many

prophecies and predictions for future generations of Tibetans and the

world in general. These prophecies are very accurate and clear. Many

of them are quite detailed and concern events at the level of counties

or states. Their truth has been observed by the Tibetans from

generation to generation across the centuries.

There are thirteen different caves in Tibet which are named “Tiger’s

Nest.” Just before Guru Rinpoche’s departure, he emanated thirteen

Dorje Drolos, one in each of these thirteen caves, all at the same time.

In Tibetan Buddhism, the number thirteen is associated with a list of

thirteen habitual obstacles. It was in order to subdue and pacify

these, that he did this. The original transformations happened in

central Tibet and as they occurred, each emanation of Dorje Drolo

would fly off to a different cave on the back of a tigress.

The most renowned Tiger’s Nest of all was in southern Tibet in a

place which is now in Bhutan. The cave is called Taktsang which.

means Tigers Nest. It is very beautiful. Maybe you have seen photos

of it. There is a big mountain with a steep rocky face that has a cave

in it. I don’t know how they did it, but they built a small monastery

on the ledge out in front of that cave. Although it is very difficult to

get to, many tourists go there. They have to be carried in one at a

time by a local person because it is so steep and high that you can

easily get dizzy. They say that nobody has ever fallen from there, but

it looks frightening.

According to both Buddha and the Guru Padmasambhava, this

degenerative era is characterized by strong forms of desire and anger.

These are the major obstacles confronting practitioners nowadays.

Dorje Drolo is the emanation related to the transformation of these

situations. Of course anger and attachment existed in ancient times as

well, but they pervade the modern world in a deeper way. People’s

minds are continually disturbed and upset due to their influence,

which give rise to even more emotional problems. Dorje Drolo is the

best practice for removing mental and emotional obstacles. Guru

Rinpoche appeared in this form to liberate sentient beings from anger

and attachment.

Anger and attachment are qualities of mind which make it difficult to

relax. People can become so disturbed by clinging to these emotions

that their own perceptions turn against them and they begin seeing

enemies everywhere. Guru Padmasambhava taught that when there

is doubt and hesitation, the mind can’t relax and is plagued by worry

and restlessness. The long-term result of this is that you become more

and more afraid. This disturbs your sense of well being, which

affects the channels and the winds. Of course when the subtle physics

of life is disturbed, there will be imbalances experienced in the

external situation as well. This pattern is typical of the neuroses and

troubles which arise continually in this degenerative era.

Along these lines, Guru Rinpoche said that in the future, all Tibetan

men would be influenced by a demonic force called Gyal-po, the

Tibetan women would be possessed by a demon called Sen-mo, and

all the young Tibetans would be affected by an evil spirit called Ti-mug.

Gyal-po symbolizes anger and jealousy and Sen-mo represents

attachment. Ti-mug is an unclear, confused mind, without the ability

to focus, center or direct attention. It mixes up everything. These

three demons are metaphors. He didn’t mean that only men or only

Tibetans would be influenced by Gyal-po or women by Sen-mo,  

but.that anger, jealousy and attachment usually arise together, and

depend on each other, like a family. Dorje Drolo is a very special and

powerful influence to help clear away and dispel complex loops of

mental and emotional obstacles.

People who are aware of feeling mentally unstable or unhappy for no

apparent reason would do well to practice on Dorje Drolo. Even

though everything is together, sometimes the mind doesn’t feel

comfortable, relaxed or at peace. This is when such practice is really

relevant. When there are unsettled feelings, it is particularly useful to

meditate on Dorje Drolo. This will help calm and balance the mind.

As with all the other emanations of Guru Rinpoche, Dorje Drolo is a

wisdom form, a rainbow body, not a solid or concrete object.

Transforming from a sphere of bright red light, he is visualized with

one face, two arms and two legs. His body color is dark red. His right

hand holds a nine-pointed vajra and his left a phurba, a mystic

dagger made of meteoric iron or sky metal. Dorje Drolo is very

wrathful, displaying fangs, an overbite and three eyes. He is wearing

Tibetan boots, a chuba and monk’s robes, two white conch shell

earrings and a garland of severed heads. His hair is bright red and

curly, giving off sparks. To show how truly crazy he is, he dances on

the back of a tigress, surrounded by wisdom flames. The tigress is

also dancing, so that everything is in motion.

The tigress is actually Tashi Kyedin, a student of Guru

Padmasambhava and Yeshe Ts’ogyal, and one of the five wisdom

dakinis. The five wisdom dakinis are no other than incarnations of

the five female Buddhas representing the Vajra, Ratna, Padma,

Karma and Buddha families. And these are no other than the pure

form of the five elements. Along with Mandarava, Yeshe Ts’ogyal,

Kalasiddhi and Shakyadevi, Tashi Kyedin helped Guru Rinpoche

carry out his wisdom activities. When Guru Padmasambhava

emanated as Dorje Drolo, she was immediately transformed into a

tigress. Visualize male and female demons representing anger and

attachment, being crushed under her paws as she stands on a lotus,

moon and sun discs.

Visualize this scene either above your head or out in front of you.

Recite the Vajra Guru Mantra and imagine Dorje Drolo’s wisdom

flames radiating through you, removing restlessness, confusion,

stress and any emotional imbalances. When such troubles arise,

practice on Guru Dorje Drolo. Feel the flames as powerful blessings.

which destroy all psychological problems. Relax as they consume

you and all sentient beings as well. Finally, let Guru Dorje Drolo

dissolve as a red light into your heart center and continue to meditate

in the openness of the true nature without any discrimination or

particular focus. Remain that way for as long as you have time. Then

dedicate the merit to all sentient beings. That is how to practice on

Guru Dorje Drolo.



These are the eight emanations of Guru Padmasambhava. Believe it

or not. Look into the special meaning associated with each

emanation. Understand them and follow in their footsteps. Of course,

Guru Padmasambhava is totally enlightened and can dance in the

sky, and you might not have the ability to do that just yet, but have

courage as you walk on the ground. Remain firmly committed to this


Meditate on the blessings and teachings of Guru Padmasambhava, on

his active demonstrations for all sentient beings, and on his endless

commitment to the performance of bodhicitta activities. All eight

emanations can be summarized in one simple word: bodhicitta. All

this activity we have been discussing is directed toward the

realization of benefits for all sentient beings and awakening them to

their true nature.

If you don’t know any other way, simply express bodhicitta through

acts of loving-kindness and compassion and practice meditation. This

unites the activities of all eight emanations in one simple state.

Loving-kindness and compassion are naturally arising qualities of the

mind which become unceasing activities. Allow all ego-clinging, even

holdingto limited ideas of loving-kindness and compassion, to

dissolve back into the expanse of the primordial nature, and the

energy will reappear in wiser, more flexible and skillful forms. To

meditate like this is a very simple and powerful practice.

From a conventional viewpoint, the eight emanations of Guru

Padmasambhava are strange and incredible. You might think these

are all just stories. But if we realize equanimity and understand the

truth of Madhyamika, Mahamudra or Dzogchen, the activities of

Guru Padmasambhava are perfectly and completely natural. There is

nothing odd or unusual about them. To understand the eight

emanations, we should realize that they are given to us to break

down our fixed conceptions and help rid us of habitual clinging to

narrow categories of thought and feeling. That is the essential point

of this whole teaching..Everything we see is a display of wisdom, the luminosity aspect of

the true nature. There is no need to cling or hold onto any particular

thing or form. Everything reflects the true nature, so do not become

fixed in your mind and attitude. Stay open. You will never realize the

infinite nature if you attach to one way of seeing things.

In the Diamond Sutra, Buddha Shakyamuni said, “Whoever seeks the

Buddha in form or sound is going in the wrong direction. They will

never see the real Buddha.” We must open our minds and realize

equanimity. The ultimate Buddha is beyond mundane ideas and

conceptions. This is known as the Dharmakaya Buddha.

In a Mahayana Sutra, the Buddha said, “From the day I was

enlightened until I entered parinirvana, I never taught a single word

of Dharma.” If we hold tight to our position within the bounds of

common perception, we would have to conclude that the Buddha

was a big liar. But Buddha is speaking here on the absolute level,

leading us beyond duality, drawing us into practice from the

enlightened point of view. If the absolute truth of the teaching is

beyond conception, there are no words existing in the infinite domain

of the primordial nature.

In another Sutra, Buddha Shakyamuni explains how our universe,

even though we think it is very big, occupies a space no bigger than

an atom without the atom becoming bigger or the universe becoming

smaller. The whole universe is contained in one particle. All

discriminatory notions and contradictions are abstractions and only

exist on the conceptual level. In reality, everything is free of such

limitations. It is unbounded openness and in this sense, is known as

the state of great equanimity.

The eight emanations demonstrate the marvellous flexibility of the

true nature. There is room for everything to appear and ceaselessly

transform, and no point in clinging to exclusive forms or dogmas.

All these emanations arise within the true nature which is known on

the higher levels of the teaching as Dzogchen. The entire universe is

within the Great Perfection of the Dzogchen state. Everything

appears vividly here and is clearly illuminated within this awareness.

Nothing exists apart from the transcendent qualities of the primordial

nature. Therefore, everything is already in the clear light state.  

All.movement is unimpeded and translucent. There are no obstacles or

blockages to this freedom.

That is my teaching on the eight emanations of Guru




In seeking to become better acquainted with the Ways and Means of the Lotus

Born, I requested these teachings on the Eight Manifestations of Guru

Padmasambhava from the compassionate brother Lamas, Khenchen Palden

Sherab Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche, who responded

energetically with nearly eight hours of inspired talk. The tapes were transcribed

by members of the Turtle Hill Sangha and edited by myself, Padma Shugchang.

The teaching itself took place at Padma Gochen Ling in Monterey, Tennessee in

the spring of 1992. May these efforts serve to awaken the absolute reality of Guru

Padmasambhava in the hearts of all beings. Blessings.