”Guru Rinpoche” The Second Buddha


He is also was known as Guru Rinpoche, was an 8th-century Indian Buddhist master. Although there was a historical Padmasambhava, nothing is known of him apart from helping the construction of the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet at Samye, at the behest of Trisong Detsen, and shortly thereafter leaving Tibet due to court intrigues.

A number of legends have grown around Padmasambhava’s life and deeds, and he is widely venerated as a ‘second Buddha’ across Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Himalayan states of India.

”You may have the bravery of a strong fighter, but unless you possess the intelligent strength of discriminating knowledge, you will not turn the tide in the battle with samsara. So possess the intelligent strength of discriminating knowledge!”

In Tibetan Buddhism, he is a character of a genre of literature called terma, an emanation of Amitābha that is said to appear to tertöns in visionary encounters and a focus of guru yoga practice, particularly in the Rimé schools. The Nyingma school considers Padmasambhava to be a founder of their tradition

From around 640 to 842 CE, Tibet was in a phase of expansion during which it absorbed the state of  Zhang-Zhuang, and then substantial Chinese, Nepalese and other territories surrounding it.  It was near the end of this period, that under royal patronage, the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery was founded at Sam’ye.

According to legend, local deities and demons opposed to the introduction of Buddhism destroyed every at night what was being built during the day.  Therefore, the king consulted Santarakshita, the Indian monastic who was going to be the first abbot of the new monastery.  His advice was that the tantric mahasiddha (great adept) Padmasambhava be summoned from India to tame local deities and bind them to the service of Buddha-dharma.

It is Padmasambhava’s journey through the Tibetan landscape during which he subdues and binds a succession of named deities at specific places that are at the core of accounts of his life.  These events, mythical, legendary or historical have consequences for practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism today since they determine the way in which these beings are perceived and treated, in visualization, the making of representations and in other practices.

”You may pursue worldly fame and gain, but unless you follow the teachings of the Buddha, such activity will only be the cause for throwing you back into further samsara. So adhere to the teachings of the Buddha! ”

That is the most important aspect of his work and the reason why he is referred to as Guru Rinpoche, being regarded as the “second Buddha.”  As a consequence, he is often considered the most important Siddha or accomplished yogi, and he is the central figure in the lineages that continue to preserve and transmit the Siddha tradition.


4 thoughts on “”Guru Rinpoche” The Second Buddha

  1. If I ever get to India and have the fortune of touring parts of Tibet, I would like to sleep in one of the caves that Padmasambhava rested and meditated. I may never want to leave, however, and so I’d store the memory of that holy yet ordinary place in my heart to return to every time I’d need to find peace.

    Michael J, member of the Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia

    Liked by 1 person

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