Padmasambhava means the one born from the lotus. Also known as Maha Guru Rinpoche or Lopon Chenpo in Tibetan. Maha means great. Guru and Rinpoche meaning spiritual master. Lopon Chenpo means the great spiritual master. 

Tibetans owe a lot to Maha Guru Padmasambhava. Even Maha Guru Rinpoche said; Bo La Drin Chen Chay Kang, Drin Me Ko meaning in simple words; Even though I was gracious to Tibetans but Tibetans will ingratitude. 

Maha Guru Padmasambhava is known to be born from the Lotus and this is already a great teaching since the teachings of Buddhism are beyond human's five senses. For normal people like me, it is very hard to digest that he was born from the Lotus since we can't go beyond the five senses. Maha Guru Padmasambhava was born during the 8th century in Oddiyana City, modern-day Swat in Pakistan. 

It is written that Maha Guru Rinpoche learned the Tantric Vajrayana Buddhism under many great masters including his main Guru Jetsun Shiri Singha. At that time, Nalanda University and Oddiyana City are the two places where spiritualism was very popular. Oddiyana is also known as Zahor, which is the home of Tantric Vajrayana Buddhism. They were a few kings named Indrabhuti. One of the Indrabhuti is the first king in India to practice the Tantric Vajrayana Buddhism from Buddha Shakyamuni or his disciple Vajrapani. 

When Maha Guru Padmasambhava was meditating in the retreat areas in Oddiyana, the Oddiyana Princess Mandarava after seeing the great master, a deep devotion has arisen in her mind and she followed Maha Guru Rinpoche as a disciple. The king of Oddiyana was miserable after finding out that the Princess was following a Buddhist Yogi since the King was a Hindu disciple. 

The king caught Maha Guru Padmasambhava and tried to burn him with massive fire for many days. After a few days, the king found that Maha Guru Padmasambhava was on the lotus flower without any effect from the fire. The king was amazed, and a deep devotion has arisen in his mind, and he asked Maha Guru Rinpoche for forgiveness for his evil deeds. The king offered his kingdom and the Princess to Maha Guru Padmasambhava, but Guru said I am a wandering Yogi and I won't need your kingdom. 

Maha Guru Padmasambhava left the kingdom to wander around the mountains, and Princess Manadarava followed him. 

Photo: Statue of Maha Guru Rinpoche in Kham

Almost all the places in Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet are blessed by Maha Guru Padmasambhava. The popular places in Nepal where Maha Guru Padmasambhava meditates are: 

  1. Chumig Jangchub ( Hetauda ) Nepal
  2. Yanglesho ( near Kathmandu ) 
  3. Halasho ( there is a monastery of Trulshik Rinpoche ) Nepal 
  4. Taktsang Tigers Nest at Bhutan

Later Maha Guru Rinpoche traveled to Bhutan and to Tibet. 

Maha Guru Rinpoche in Tibet

The 38th King Trisong Deutsen invited Indian master Shantarakshita for helping to build the first monastery in Tibet known as the Samye monastery.  During the day when people built the monastery, at night the evil spirit destroys the monastery so the king asked the Indian master Shantarakshita what to do. The great Shantarakshita urge the king to invite Maha Guru Padmasambhava for help.

Later Maha Guru Padmasambhava blessed the Samye monastery and from that day, local people built the monastery during the day, and the evil spirit built the monastery during the night. The first Tibetan group of Yogis of twenty-five great disciples was sent to meditate in the Chimpuk meditation cave near the mountain from Samye monastery. One of the greatest disciples was Tibetan Yogini Jetsun Kandro Yeshe Tsogyal. 

Maha Guru Padmasambhava has stayed 3000 years in India, and 111 years in Tibet. Jetsun Kandro Yeshe Tsogyal followed Maha Guru Padmasambhava from the age of sixteen ( after 3 years of arriving in Tibet ) until leaving Tibet near Kungtang pass at modern-day town Kyirong as listed in the biography of Jetsun Kandro Yeshe Tsogyal. 

A few Popular meditation areas of Maha Guru Padmasambhava in Tibet are:

  1. Chimpuk meditation cave
  2. Yemalung meditation cave 
  3. Dzong Kumbum meditation cave
  4. Drak Yangzom meditation cave
  5. Tidrum meditation cave
  6. Upper Rongbuk Meditation cave 
  7. Drak Yerba meditation cave
  8. Chiu Monastery in Ngari
  9. Tadapuri hot spring meditation cave 
  10. Kharta east face of Mount Everest meditation cave of Maha Guru Rinpoche

Above are only a few places that I know. From my experience, almost all the places in Tibet are blessed by Maha Guru Rinpoche. Even though Maha Guru Padmasambhava was born as an Indian, most of his time has been spent in Tibet teaching Mahayana Buddhism to the Tibetans. 

Without Maha Guru Padmasambhava, Tantric Vajrayana Buddhism won't flourish in our world like today and that is one of the main reasons we should never forget his kindness.

Video: Lookalike spoken statue of Maha Guru Padmasambhava

Before his arrival to Tibet, Tibetans were following a Native Bon religion and we should understand how difficult it is for him to change the deep-rooted faith of Tibetans. It will take so much wisdom and courage and that is the reason he is one of the wisest Buddhist masters. 

Some proverbs from Maha Guru Padmasambhava

  1. Those who have faith in me, I will be sleeping right at your door.
  2. Those who don't have faith in me, even though they haven't seen me, all these children of mine will always be protected by my compassion. 
  3. Arising Bodhichitta is the main essence of all the Buddha Dharma practices.
  4. Although my realization is higher than the sky, my observance of karma is finer than grains of flour.
  5. Chant Om Mani Padme Hum for Sentient Beings.
  6. Chant Om Ah Hung Benza Guru Padma Siddhi Hung for self. 
  7. Taking refuge and keeping vows are the root of Dharma practice. 
  8. Instead of staying at other places for 100 years, stay a night at the place where I have been blessed. 
  9. If you don't train your mind, suffering won't stop. 
  10. When a disciple calls upon me with yearning devotion, and with the melodious song of the Seven-Line Prayer, I shall come straightaway from Zangdokpalri. ( The pure land of Maha Guru Padmasambhava) 

Photo: Samye monastery is the first monastery in Tibet

Five great Emanations of Maha Guru Rinpoche are :

  1. Jetsun Atisha
  2. Jetsun Ra Lotsawa
  3. Jetsun Marpa
  4. Jetsun Sakya Pandita
  5. Jetsun Tsongkhapa


Maha Guru Rinpoche is one of the masters to whom I have deep devotion. Maybe I have past life karmic connection with him and I feel blessed by that. 

Maha Guru Rinpoche is the founder of the Nyingma Dzogchen school of Buddhism in Tibet and is also considered the second Buddha in all the schools of Buddhism in Tibet. He is also known as the emanation of Amitabha Buddha. ( The Buddha of pure realms and infinite light) 

The Mantra of Maha Guru Padmasambhava is: Om Ah Hung Benza Guru Padma Siddhi Hung

Every tenth day in the Tibetan Lunar calendar is known as the birthday celebration of Maha Guru Padmasambhava.  Maha Guru Padmasambhava is also known as the emanation of compassion Buddha Chenrezig. May Maha Guru Padmasambhava bless all Sentient Beings.

Written By :Tenzin

Feb 13, 2023


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