Courtesy of Himalayan Art Resources
Texts by and about Guru Padmasambhava or Padmākara (padma 'byung gnas), the "Lotus-Born", who is credited with establishing Buddhism in Tibet:
- A Garland of Vajra Gems: The Life and Liberation of the Guru by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye | Biography
This epic of Guru Padmasambhava, as recorded by Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal, was revealed by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye as a “siddhi”. The text consists of ten short chapters, each related to a different aspect of the master’s life and activities.
- The Biography of the Great Orgyen that Naturally Liberates On Sight revealed by Dudjom Lingpa | Biography
This seven-chapter biography is a late example of the Kathang (bka' thang) genre, a versified chronicle of Padmasambhava's life as recounted to Emperor Trisong Detsen and his subjects. The text is unusually detailed in its description of Padmasambhava's personal practice, listing dozens of places where he meditated, how long he stayed, which practices he performed, which results he gained, and so on. It concludes with a chapter that includes prophecies and practical advice for the people of Tibet.
- The Life and Liberation of Padmākara, the Second Buddha from A Precious Garland of Lapis Lazuli by Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye
Extracted from the famous collection of the life stories of 108 treasure revealers called A Precious Garland of Lapis Lazuli, this account of Guru Padmasambhava's life and liberation synthesises and even comments upon earlier sources.
- Three Reasons for Confidence: A Work Telling the Life and Liberation Story of the Great Master Padmākara by Tāranātha | Biography
Tāranātha composed this biography of Padmasambhava in 1610. It is unique insofar as it does not follow the version of the life-story recounted in numerous terma texts. Instead, it follows the historical perspective of the Testimony of Ba, as well as several Nyingma tantras and their commentaries.
This four-line praise may be the earliest prayer to Padmasambhava preserved in writing. It forms the colophon of the Noose of Methods (IOL Tib J 321, Thabs zhags, or Upāyapāśa), a Mahāyoga commentary attributed to Padmasambhava. A 10th century manuscript of the Noose of Methods including this praise was found at the Dunhuang caves. The prayer shows some similarity to the famous Seven-Line Prayer (tshig bdun gsol ‘debs).
This very short work in praise of Guru Padmasambhava—the Great Guru of Uḍḍiyāna—appears at the beginning of the first volume of the Drikung Yangre Gar (ʾbri gung yang re sgar) edition of Jikten Sumgön's collected works.
This praise to the Master Padmasambhava is part of a set of three praises commemorating the lives of the so-called Abbot, Master and Dharma-King (Khen Lob Chö Sum), i.e., Śāntarakṣita, Guru Padmasambhava and Trisong Detsen.
- Prayer to the Indian Mahāpaṇḍita Padmasambhava attributed to Menlungpa Mikyö Dorje | Guru Rinpoche Prayers
One of the most famous four-line prayers to Guru Padmasambhava. It is attributed to Menlungpa Mikyö Dorje, who is also credited with a detailed commentary on the prayer. The final line is often adapted to turn the text into a tea-offering (ja mchod).
- Divine Blue Water: A Contamination Purifying Smoke Offering by the Great Master Padmasambhava | Sang Offering
Divine Blue Water (lha chab sngon mo) is a smoke offering (bsang) ritual that functions as a remedy against ritual pollution (grib), specifically the form known as ‘contamination’ (mnol). The text is attributed to Padmasambhava, but was not hidden as a treasure (gter ma); it was painted on the wall at Samye Monastery and it is from there that the textual lineage derives. Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche (1904–1987) edited the version published here, which appears in modern editions of the Nyingma Kama.
Guru Rinpoche Prayers
- The Wish-Fulfilling Tree: The Life Story of the Master of Uḍḍiyāna as found in Padmasambhava’s Sevenfold Cycle of Profundity by Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa | Guru Rinpoche Prayers
This concise biography of the eighth-century master from Uḍḍīyana, Guru Padmasambhava, who established Buddhism in Tibet in the 8th century, was revealed in 1856 by the great treasure-revealer Chokgyur Lingpa as part of the Sevenfold Cycle of Profundity (zab pa skor bdun). The text consists of ten short chapters, each relating to a different aspect of the master’s life and activities.