Garland of Vajra Gems

Literary Genres › Biography | Collections & Cycles › Rinchen Terdzö | Tibetan MastersJamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye | Indian MastersPadmasambhava

English | བོད་ཡིག

Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thaye

Guru Padmasambhava

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A Garland of Vajra Gems

The Life and Liberation of the Guru

by Jamgön Kongtrul

1. The Birth and Reign of the Guru in the Land of Uḍḍiyāna

From the vast and boundless field of simplicity,
in the palace of the Lotus Array of Great Bliss,[1]
Amitābha, Buddha of Boundless Light, Sovereign of the Three Kāyas,
resolves to tame the barbaric beings of saṃsāra,
to eliminate the wrong views of the tīrthikas,
and to light the torch of the genuine Dharma —
by sending a buddha emanation supreme.
Not someone of mere womb-birth but only one born miraculously
Would be able to tame gods, demons, and humans.
Thus, by magnetizing and wrathful means,
from the wisdom maṇḍala of the vajra-mind
the Lotus Lord emanates as the syllable hrīḥ.

On an isle in the pristine Kośa Sea,[2] with its eightfold qualities,[3]
on the anthers of an untouched budding lotus he was born.
The flower itself, the size of a chariot’s wheel,
gleamed with light and brilliance
as the morning sun shone down.
So beautiful, its adornment of the waters! Perfect grace!
At night, rainbows swirled across the boundless surface.
Every other flower must yearly change from new to old,
yet the uḍumbara stalk that rose at the water’s centre
never met growth or decline, neither summer nor winter.
Instead, with its petals always closed, it brought amazement to all.
At this sight, the king’s messengers reported what they’d found.
Ministers were consulted, a sentry was dispatched,
and there, never resting, he watched the flower, day and night.
Then, on the tenth day of the monkey month, in the monkey year,
the lotus petals opened.
There, upon the anthers at the centre,
sat a beautiful child, enchanting to behold.
Rainbows shone, flowers rained from the skies,
lightning roared and crackled, the earth shook and rumbled — good omens all.
From the south came the great king, bringing his retinue,
disbelieving still, right up to the water’s edge —
where he saw the beautiful infant child sparkling with dew.
In awe he prostrated before him and his voice rose in praise:
“This blessed child”, he sang, “our prince shall he be!”

He set sail across the water, to try to reach him,
but without success was forced to retreat.[4]

Uḍḍiyāna’s King Dhanapāla[5] had no royal son,
And had made donations over the years, giving away many fine things,
until, over time, the royal vaults ran dry.
In hopes of finding treasure, he had set out to sea
and, returning, he saw the boy, exactly as described.
“This, my destined son!” he said,
and boarded the ship, fetching child and lotus both.
At the palace they enthroned the boy and offered him the crown.
The king made supplication to this wish-bestowing jewel,
and the wealth of the kingdom was once again restored.
The prince reigned for five years, in harmony with the Dharma,
guarding the welfare of his kingdom.

From A Garland of Vajra Gems: the Life and Liberation of the Guru, this was the first chapter: The Birth and Reign of the Guru in the Land of Uḍḍiyāna.

2. The Guru Abandons the Empire and Dwells in the Śītavana Charnel Ground

One day, the Guru was resting in realization
when he saw the face of Vajrasattva and received his prophecy:
“How, governing a kingdom, will you benefit beings?
Rather, through power, reason, and action you will tame them!”
The Guru decided to act in accordance with this
and considered just how he might abandon the throne.
“If I publicly practice the yoga of uncontrived conduct,
it will displease the king and ministers and could be my chance for escape.”
Thus, he started deliberately some unconventional yogic practices,
and indeed most of the evil-minded ministers became upset.
Confiding, they sought counsel before their king:
“The young prince is doing all kinds of odd things.
He should be exiled from the state for such behaviour.
This very day he must be driven out, far away from here.”
Despite the king’s protesting, they would not be swayed,
so they banished him to India, the Śītavana charnel ground.
There, he subjugated the mātṛkās and ḍākinīs,
enjoining them in the four unions, and liberating the vicious.
He spent five years with the ḍākinīs, turning the wheel of Dharma,
and at last, while practicing the deities of Amṛta’s Qualities,[6]
he attained accomplishment, had visions of the deities,
and received their prophecy.
He became known as Padmasambhava the Master of Qualities.

From the A Garland of Vajra Gems: the Life and Liberation of the Guru, this was the second chapter: the Guru Abandons the Empire and Dwells in the Śītavana Charnel Ground.

3. The Guru’s Visions of the Deities and Attainment of Accomplishments

Next, he took to the Great Hūṃ Cave,[7]
with the intention to attain the great Vidyādhara’s wisdom mind.
There he trained in the deities of Śrī Heruka,
slaying the male demons and joining with the females.
Perfecting yogic conduct, he spent five years there,
turning the wheel of Dharma amongst the ḍākinīs.
He had visions of the deities of Śrī Heruka
and in a single instant attained both the supreme and common siddhis.
He became known as Padmasambhava the Mighty Master.

Then, he took to the charnel ground Terrifying Grove,[8]
where he practiced the deities of Yamāntaka.
Donning the eight ornaments of the charnel ground,
and magnetizing the ḍākinīs, he presided as the great gaṇacakra chief.
Perfecting union and liberation, he attained the supreme siddhi.
Gazing upon the face of Mañjuśrī-Yamāntaka,
he attained accomplishment in the twelve fierce activities.[9]
Five years he spent there, his back against the stūpa,
becoming known as Padmasambhava the Wise Master.

Then, he took to the charnel ground Lotus Mound,[10]
where he practiced the magnetizing deities of Mighty Padma-Hayagrīva,
engaging in the awakened activities of union and liberation
and turning for the ḍākinīs the Dharma wheel of secret mantra.
He had visions of the deities of Mighty Padma
and attained the supreme power of the great Vidyādhara’s wisdom speech.
He became known as Padma Hayagrīva Sambhava, the Lotus-Born, the Horse-Headed Master.
and stayed for five years, accomplishing the immeasurable benefit of beings beyond number.

Then, he took to the charnel ground Zombie Grove,[11]
where he practiced the deities of Kīla’s Activity.
He magnetized every mātṛkā and ḍākinī there,
performing union, liberation, and empowerment,
and turning the Dharma wheel of secret mantra.
He had visions of the deities of Vajrakumāra
and attained the power to smash the obstructing hordes of māras.
There he stayed for five years, seven months, and ten days,
And was known as Padmasambhava the Master of Activity.

From the A Garland of Vajra Gems: the Life and Liberation of the Guru, this was the third chapter: the Guru’s Visions of the Deities and Attainment of Accomplishments.

4. The Guru Practices in the Eight Charnel Grounds, Perfecting the Unconfined Yogic Conduct of Liberation and Union

Then the Guru left for the charnel ground Spontaneous Mound,
to practice the maṇḍala of Mātryāvahanavisarjana, Calling and Dispatching Mātṛkās.
There he ate human flesh and wore human hides.
He liberated the male demons and united with the females,
turning the wheel of Dharma amongst the ḍākinīs.
He had visions of the Mātryāvahanavisarjana deities
and received the infinite empowerments of supreme and common activity.
He spent five years there, perfecting yogic discipline,
And was known as Padmasambhava the Master Sorcerer.

Then he took to the charnel ground All-Pervading Utter Joy,
to practice Lokapūjāstrota, Offering and Praising Worldly Deities.
He magnetized the arrogant spirits of father, mother, and neuter lineages;
he magnetized ḍākinīs and the eight classes of gods and demons,
and he appointed them as attendants to accomplish the four activities.
At the Guru’s command they pledged allegiance,
and he poured on their tongues the secret samaya substances.
He became sovereign chieftain over all worldly spirits,
liberating the five poisons and uniting with the expanse of the five kāyas.
He had visions of the Lokapūjāstrota maṇḍala and attained accomplishment.
For five years, five months, and five days he remained,
famed as Padmasambhava the Master of Offering and Praise.

Then he took to the charnel ground Loka Mound,
to tame without exception
the many malicious demons there who harbored evil wishes.
He practiced the vanquishing Sādhana of Fierce Mantras,
and, opening the Mantrabhīru maṇḍala,
he remained in the samādhi known as ‘Destructive Curse’.
Thus, alike for every foreboding spirit and demon,
he performed the activity of subduing, incinerating, and casting.
Bearing down in conquest, he liberated the male demons
and united with the females, magnetizing them all,
and he turned to dust all those with wrong view.
With visions of the deities of black Mahābala,
he attained the empowerment and accomplishment of liberating enemies of the teachings.
And for five years, nine months, and nine days did he remain,
Becoming known as Padmasambhava the Master of Wrath and Allure.

From A Garland of Vajra Gems: the Life and Liberation of the Guru, this was the fourth chapter: the Guru Practices in the Eight Charnel Grounds, Perfecting the Unconfined Yogic Conduct of Liberation and Union.

5. The Guru Establishes the Dharma in the Kingdom of Zahor and Accomplishes the Level of the Mahāmudrā Vidyādhara

The Guru Padmākara then decided to go to India,
and turn throughout its lands the wheel of the sublime Dharma.
“I shall teach the genuine Dharma to all,” was his thought,
but they asked, “Who is your guru?”
He replied, “I am the self-arisen guide, a buddha.
Despite not having a guru, I know the genuine Dharma.”
“There is no self-arisen guide”, they said, “save for Śākyamuni.”
“What you say”, he replied, “is none other than māra,
and so I flatly refuse to listen.”

Without a guru, however, he was unable to benefit others,
and so he decided to attend several qualified masters,
accomplished scholars of India such as
Mañjuśrīmitra, Śrī Siṃha, and Vimalamitra.
Of the many scholars and siddhas whom he met,
he actually attended one hundred and eight.
Training in the outer, inner, and secret dharmas of sūtra and mantra,
he made his main focus the secret mantra practices of the Great Perfection
and the subtle-body methods of inner heat and empty-bliss as the path.
Meanwhile, he did he not neglect the five sciences, but gained proficiency in them.
Merely introduced to any teaching, he immediately understood.

He then took to Zahor, in pursuit of study and practice.
The king of this region was Arśadhara,
an extremely wealthy sovereign, with empress, ministers, and many subjects.
He had only one child, a daughter, Princess Mandāravā.
Like a child of the gods, with every mark of excellence,
unmatched by any other, and arrestingly beautiful.
Throughout the lands of India, of China, Turkistan, and Kashmir,
the kings of Uḍḍiyāna and Nepal, Persia and Mongolia
ardently competed for her hand.
But she accepted no-one, remaining untarnished by saṃsāra.
To practice the sublime dharma, she cloistered herself within the palace.
The Guru saw her to be a secret disciple of empty-bliss,
and turned for her the Dharma wheel of the four joys — great bliss-wisdom.
As they remained within the perfection of blissful comfort,
a wandering herdsman discovered them
and reported what he had seen to the ministers and royal servants.
Word spread throughout the palace, making it known to all.
When it came to the king’s attention, he fumed with rage, commanding:
“This renunciant is to be sentenced to death by fire,
and she with her servants shall be cast into prison!
This could be dangerous! If word gets out,
the surrounding kingdoms will rise as enemies against us.
No one may see them! They must be punished!”
The ministers conferred and decreed twenty main punishments.
The Guru refrained from displaying miracles,
pretending to be an ordinary person.
Thus he was captured by the king’s men.
Oil was poured on the pyre to create a fierce blaze
that would burn the Guru’s bound body.
With that, they departed back to their homes.
The imprisoned princess and her servants
were cast into a pit of thorns, where they suffered miserably.
After seven days, the king demanded
that the charred skull of the foreign monk be brought to him.
Envoys were dispatched, and saw as they arrived
that the smoke had dispersed, but the fire still blazed high.
In the centre was a swirling lake and a blossoming lotus flower.
Seated atop its stamen was the precious Guru,
now an eight-year-old child, youthful and vibrant.
Amazed, the messengers fell prostrate before him,
and quickly returned to inform the king.
Unable to believe it, with his queen, ministers, and subjects,
he went to see for himself.
Finding the Guru as described, all alike felt remorse
— king, ministers, queen, and the people at large.
Confessing and begging forgiveness, they bowed at his feet.
They invited him to the palace and asked him to turn the wheel of Dharma,
and Mandāravā was presented as his constant companion.
The entire kingdom of Zahor was thus established in the Dharma
and the Guru gained mastery in the secret mantra of union and liberation.

From A Garland of Vajra Gems: The Life and Liberation of the Guru, this was the fifth chapter: the Guru Establishes the Dharma in the Kingdom of Zahor and Accomplishes the Level of the Mahāmudrā Vidyādhara.

6. The Guru’s Travels to Tibet and the Completion of Samyé

The Guru Padmākara with his consort
established the Dharma in every region of Uḍḍiyāna.
Then, in Bodh Gaya, he tamed all the tīrthikas;
he displayed miracles in Vaiśālī,
and further established the genuine Dharma
throughout Kashmir, Khotan, and Mongolia.

Next, is the story of his journey to Tibet.
King Trisong Detsen, an emanation of Mañjuśrī,
had been examining the histories of his father and grandfather.
Deciding that the emperors of the last three generations
had merely upheld the tradition of the sacred Dharma,
his thought was that he “must actually seek it!”
Meeting with his trusted Tibetan ministers,
he resolved to build Samyé as the foundation for the teachings.
But malicious spirits with their magical powers
destroyed at night whatever the workers had constructed by day,
hurling back down all the earths, rocks, and timbers.
The ministers reported their failure to the king,
yet he forbade such an outcome, saying,
“I’ll not die with this unfinished,
or else this life will have been utterly pointless!
There are many learned siddhas living in India,
and I will invite one to come and tame the land.”

He dispatched to India a swift-footed messenger
to invite the great Abbot Bodhisattva to come to Tibet.
On his arrival, he performed a ritual to tame the land
but was unable to subdue the wickedness by peaceful means.
He then told the emperor of a prophecy:
“This savage land of Tibet is filled with demons.
Here the eight classes of arrogant spirits are incredibly strong.
There is no way anyone of womb-birth can tame them by peaceful means.
Invite Padmākara, the miraculously born!
He will tame this land and fulfil the emperor’s wishes,
for none but he can do this kind of taming.”

Following this advice, a messenger was sent.
And so, to benefit beings, the great master began his journey to Tibet.
On the way, he established the Dharma in all of Nepal.
He magnetized the hordes of the eight arrogant spirits,
particularly the three demons —
Lokmatrin of the ethereal realms,
the yakṣa Gömakha and the nāga Gyongpo.[12]
He bound them under command and oath to strictly keep their pledge.
He hid countless treasures throughout the land of Nepal,
and gradually proceeded to Tibet.
He bound under oath the upper classes of gods and demons,
posting them henceforth as treasure guardians.
He then arrived at Samyé where he met the emperor and tamed the land,
incapacitating gods and demons so that none could cause harm.
A three-storied temple was constructed
in the style of the Copper-Coloured Mountain,
complete with the four continents, four subcontinents, and a ring of iron mountains.
During the day it was humans building, and at night it was gods and demons.

In the year of the tiger, the foundation was set,
and it was completed in year of the male water horse.[13]
Thus the wishes of the emperor, ministers, and retinue were accomplished.

From A Garland of Vajra Gems: The Life and Liberation of the Guru, this was the sixth chapter: the Guru’s Travels to Tibet and the Completion of Samyé.

7. The Blazing Beacon of the Dharma Dispels the Darkness of Tibet

The heart-wish of Trisong Detsen had been fulfilled
with the building of the great outer temple.
Yet, still supports of enlightened Body, Speech, and Mind were needed,
and he resolved to commission abbot and master to build them.
According to the Guru’s guidance, the supports of body and mind were duly constructed.
Then the king requested that the support of enlightened speech,
the sacred Dharma, be translated into Tibetan.
Three translators, led by Vairocana, were chosen as students for the task.
They learned the art of translation and expressed the meaning accordingly.
Moreover, many children were gathered to study translation,
and were later sent to India to translate great tracts of the sublime Dharma.
The false views of the heretics faded and the genuine Dharma was established.
The unity of sūtra and mantra, the great vehicle, spread far and wide.
Led by Vimalamitra, the great Kashmiri scholar,
many mahāsiddhas, scholars, and translators were invited
to translate the words of the Buddha, complete and unabridged,
along with their commentaries, all brought from India.
The teachings of sūtra and mantra, the doctrine of Padmākara,
Like the rising sun, began to spread throughout Tibet.

From A Garland of Vajra Gems: The Life and Liberation of the Guru, this was the seventh chapter: the Blazing Beacon of the Dharma Dispels the Darkness of Tibet.

8. The Guru Hides Treasures in Tibet and Fulfills the Heart Wishes of the Emperor

Now, with his heart wish completely accomplished,
Emperor Trisong Detsen held countless feasts and celebrations.
Substantial material offerings were made to the many translators
as they were gradually escorted back to their homelands.
Meanwhile the abbot Bodhisattva and Padmākara
remained, as requested, in the land of Tibet.
The great master made his way to Samyé Chimpu,
While the learned Śāntarakṣita settled in the upper floor of the temple.[14]

One day, the emperor fell ill.
Hearing the news, the master left for the Yamalung cave[15]
where he practiced the Protector Amitāyus.
On the twenty-first day, in a vision, he saw the maṇḍala of the Immortal Protector.
He requested, “Grant the emperor the empowerment of longevity!”
When the emperor arrived, however, his ministers, in their profanity,
created obstacles which stopped him from receiving the empowerment,
and so the opportunity passed.
At this, the master, to ensure their safety,
hid the longevity substances and maṇḍala articles at Yamalung.
With the ministers unaware of what he was doing,
the emperor mounted the best of steeds and rode to meet the Guru.
He requested empowerment, but the Guru replied,
“Now is not the time, there are no empowerment substances.
I have hidden the maṇḍala articles as a treasure.”
Devastated, the emperor again requested empowerment.
The master took from their hiding place the longevity substances
and, whilst bestowing the empowerment, he said:
“If you had not been late last time and had received the empowerment,
you, Emperor, would have accomplished deathless vajra life.
However, your evil-minded ministers prevented this from happening.
Nevertheless, due to the strength of your past aspirations
and your unstinting wish to receive empowerment,
thirteen human years will be added to your life.”
He again hid the maṇḍala and longevity substances as a treasure.
He traveled further on, throughout the provinces of Tibet,
blessing one hundred and eight sites of practice.
He placed in hiding countless precious and profound Dharma treasures
to bring ever-increasing benefit to beings.

From A Garland of Vajra Gems: The Life and Liberation of the Guru, this was the eighth chapter: the Guru Hides Treasures in Tibet and Fulfills the Heart Wishes of the Emperor.

9. The Guru Perfects the Benefit of Beings in Tibet, and Sets Out for Other Lands

Then, one day, the emperor gathered together
all the translators, headed by the master and abbot,
to practice The Ocean of Dharma, Great Gathering of Transmitted Precepts.[16]
Afterwards, they enjoyed extensive festivities.
The time then arrived for Tibetan New Year,
but the Master said not to celebrate.
The ministers and empress discussed amongst themselves:
“Save for having a good time, what’s the harm in celebrating?
It just doesn’t make sense to hold back!
We’ll have a word in private with the emperor.”
And, the celebrations went ahead.
In the hills, to the right of Samyé lake,
there were to be horse races and archery competitions.
The master said not to take part in the horse race,
but the ministers didn’t listen, resolving to go ahead with the races.
The minister Lhazang Lupel, who favoured the Bön religion,
Was full of scorn for the Dharma, and jealous of the king.
He fired an arrow from the crowd while the emperor was riding.
It pierced the emperor’s ribs and killed him outright.
Although everyone saw what happened, it was said that a tree root was to blame.
There was no investigation, and it was simply deemed the emperor’s time.

However, with Tsenpo’s ascent to the throne
his father’s legacy would not fall into decline.
The great master Padmasambhava, to benefit future beings,
travelled throughout Tibet, leaving no place untouched — neither border nor centre —
blessing places for practice and hiding many profound treasures.
At the borders and in the heartlands, he built genuine temples
and a hundred and eight stūpas for subjugating māras.
At the summit of Samyé Hepori Mountain,
together with Mutik Tsenpo and hundreds of assembled subjects,
Guru Padma made gaṇacakra offerings — one hundred and eight in total.
Gathering in their entirety all malicious non-human and arrogant spirits,
he bound them under oath and assigned them their commitments,
whereupon they offered their life essence.
Actually present in person, the Guru perfected his disciples in Tibet.

It was then that the Guru decided
that it was time to tame the rākṣasas.
With Mutik Tsenpo before him, the Guru spoke:
“Son, from the time you were small
you have been my blessing, the core of my heart.
Now, cleared of the suffering of your father’s passing,
you will bring happiness to this nation and spread the teachings of the Buddha.
I go not from displeasure, but at this time of increasing excellence,
I came here to Tibet, have done what was needed and perfected those to be tamed.
Now the time has come to tame the rākṣasas in the south-west.
Other than me, there is no master with the ability to tame them. If I do not do this, they will destroy the Buddhist teachings,
for they are the very grounds for the unhappiness of beings.
The time has now come. Only son of mine, be well!
Do not forget me, but to me forever pray.
When you have yearning faith, you are worthy of blessing.
We will not be apart. I will never leave you.”

Mutik Tsenpo was upset, still, and said:
“I cannot bear the thought of being separated from you.
Have compassion for us — please, stay in Tibet!
My father, our great emperor, is no more, has gone to the skies.
If you, our Guru, do not stay, but leave for the land of rākṣasas,
Won’t the valleys of Tibet become desolate and empty?
Are beings no longer the focus of your compassion?
Do not leave — please, stay in Tibet!”

The Guru replied, “Mutik Tsenpo, listen!
I am the Guru of all beings equally.
Are you forcing me to abandon bodhicitta?
If I do not tame the south-western land of rākṣasas,
all beings will sink into the mires of suffering.
Then not a word of the sublime Dharma would be heard by anyone.
Would you wish that to happen?
I cannot stay, but must be off to tame the rākṣasas.
For anyone, man or woman, who has faith in me,
I, the Lotus Born, have never gone away — I sleep at their threshold.
When the morning light rays shine and the evening light rays fade,
and also at dawn on the tenth lunar day,
I will always come for the well-being of Tibet.
For my future disciples who will not meet me directly,
they should endeavour in making offerings and paying homage
to all supports and places of enlightened body, speech, and mind.
To respect and support the noble Saṅgha
is equal to making offerings to Padmasambhava of Uḍḍiyāna.
My compassion will never fade.
I will always benefit and protect the people of Tibet.”

The emperor and subjects trusted the Guru, though most of them were tearful.
No one felt joy; many wept in sorrow.
The laymen and women of Tibet clustered around
and touched the Mahāguru’s lotus feet to their crown,
Offering whatever wealth or possessions they had.
Prince Mutik Tsenpo, flanked by the empress and ministers,
offered gold and silver, and gems of all kinds,
silks soft to touch, and all the luxuries of existence.

Then the Guru spoke: “Listen, people of Tibet!
Like the uḍumbara flower, the freedoms and advantages are hard to find.
Like the sun in winter, this human life doesn’t last forever.
There is no end to the sufferings of saṃsāra.
So, practice virtue — and your beneficial qualities will increase.
The results of this life’s activities, good and bad,
will inevitably ripen later.
Therefore, without distraction, embrace every thought with the Dharma.
Place your trust in the authentic guru, and set him above your crown.
Take refuge, generate bodhicitta, and purify your obscurations
by means of visualization and recitation.
Accumulate merit by offering maṇḍalas, and practice guru yoga.
Receive the four empowerments, and mingle your mind as one with the Guru’s.
Liberated upon arising, beyond the intellect’s reach —
maintain this vital point!
Bring to completion the result — the four kāyas spontaneously present.”
And so he continued to give many pieces of advice.

From A Garland of Vajra Gems: The Life and Liberation of the Guru, this was the ninth chapter: the Guru Perfects the Benefit of Beings in Tibet, and Sets Out for Other Lands.

10. The Guru’s Subjugation of the Land of Rākṣasas

As the Guru began his journey to the land of rākṣasas,
the emperor and subjects went along to wave him off.
When they reached Mangyul’s upper plain
the master and his companions rested there for three full days.
To the emperor and every subject he gave individual pieces of advice.
Then Khandro Yeshé Tsogyal offered a maṇḍala of gold, turquoise, and jewels,
saying, “Knower of the three times, precious Guru,
If you are not going to stay in Tibet, but are leaving for the land of rākṣasas,
do not abandon me, your wife, this woman called Yeshe Tsogyal.
Do not leave me behind! Please be compassionate!”
To this, Guru Padma said,
“This physical body of yours cannot go to the land of rākṣasas.
At this time, you must secure the benefit of Tibet.
Without our ever being parted, I will meet you in the ranks of the Vidyādharas.”
Thus, she didn’t leave, but stayed to benefit beings.
With the binding hook mudrā, the Guru exclaimed
“jaḥ hūṃ baṃ hoḥ hūṃ hūṃ jaḥ hūṃ”.
They had brought with them a magnificent steed, which they presented to the Guru.
Then, within swirling rainbow lights, came the words, “I am Princess Mandāravā.”
Carrying a vase of amṛta, she now appeared before the Guru
and dissolved into the khaṭvāṅga.
The Guru, taking the reins of the supreme and precious steed,
Took to the open skies of the south-west
with each of the Four Great Kings supporting the horse’s hooves.
Taking his place there, the Guru disguised himself as the king of rākṣasas.
He established the whole of the kingdom in the authentic Dharma,
Spreading far and wide the teachings on bringing benefit to others.

From A Garland of Vajra Gems: The Life and Liberation of the Guru, this was the tenth chapter: the Guru’s Subjugation of the Land of Rākṣasas.

I, the Lady Tsogyal, transcribed this life and liberation of the Guru into ḍākinī script and hid it away as a treasure so that beings with the karmic destiny may meet it in the future. As they meet it, may the benefit of beings flourish!

Body seal!
Speech seal!
Mind seal!

This was received by Pema Garwang Chimé Tennyi Lingpa[17] as a siddhi.

The magical display of the enlightened body, speech, mind, qualities and activities
of all the buddhas of the three times residing in infinite realms, endlessly filling the dharmadhātu, is the life of the Ocean-Born Vajra. It defies imagination.
However, as an entryway for fortune disciples,
what is given here is a simple, straightforward, and accessible Vajra testament — in just a few words. Thanks to the kindness of Lotsawa Jamgön, we encountered them.
Let us dedicate the merit of spreading this publication in manifold ways
accumulated through Lama Sönam Tseten’s pure motivation
So that all beings, especially our mother and father, may be reborn in the Guru’s presence.

These words of aspiration were written by Khyentse Tulku for the publication of this text.

| Samye Translations, 2018. (Translated by Kaleb Yaniger and Stefan Mang. Edited by Libby Hogg.)


Tibetan Edition

'Jam mgon kong sprul blo gros mtha’ yas. "gu ru'i rnam thar rdo rje'i rgyan phreng." In Rin chen gter mdzod chen mo/ . New Delhi: Shechen Publications, 2007–2008. Volume 1: 255–275

Secondary Sources

O rgyan gling pa. Pad+ma bka’ thang. Khreng tu’u: Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1987.

Ngawang Zangpo. Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times. Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications, 2001

Yeshe Gyamtso. Vajra Garland and The Lotus Garden: Treasure Biographies of Padmakara and Vairochana. New York: KTD Publications, 2005.

Version: 1.4-20230405

  1. The Lotus Array of Great Bliss (bde chen pad+mo bkod).  ↩

  2. The Tibetan word mtsho is used to refer to any large body of water. This led to the idea that Padmasambhava took birth on a lake. However, some masters, such as Kyabje Chatral Rinpoche, have suggested that mtsho, in the case of Padmasambhava’s birth place, refers to the Arabian Sea. More specifically, they suggest as Padmasambhava’s birth place the area where the Sindhu (Indus) river meets the Arabian Sea in the ancient Sindh Kingdom, near the border between modern Pakistan and India.  ↩

  3. That is to say that the waters of the Kośa sea is said to be endowed with eight qualities: 1. crystal clarity, 2. coolness, 3. sweetness, 4. lightness, 5. softness, 6. it is soothing to the stomach, 7. free of impurities, and 8. clears the throat.  ↩

  4. It is said in other biographies that the sentry was Triguṇadhara (trik na ‘dzin pa; trig na ‘dzin pa; or tri na ‘dzin pa), King Indrabhūti’s principal Dharma minister. He was the first to set eyes on Padmasambhava, and it was he who suggested to Indrabhūti to adopt Padmasambhava as a son.  ↩

  5. Dhanapāla, Protector of Wealth, here is an epithet for King Indrabhūti.  ↩

  6. Amṛta’s Qualities refers to the Amṛta Tantras on Awakened Qualities (bdud rtsi yon tan gyi rgyud) from the Eight Sādhanā Teachings, whose main deity is Mahottara Heruka.  ↩

  7. The Great Hūṃ Cave (H+UM chen brag)  ↩

  8. Terrifying Grove (‘Jigs byed tshal)  ↩

  9. The twelve fierce activities are: 1. controlling, 2. summoning, 3. slaying, 4. exorcising, 5. incapacitating, 6. paralyzing, 7. confusing, 8. stabbing, 9. making mute, 10. making deaf and blind, 11. acting as neuter gender, and 12. exchanging one’s form.  ↩

  10. Lotus Mound (Pad+ma brtsegs)  ↩

  11. Vetāla Grove or Zombie Grove (ro langs tshal)  ↩

  12. Lokmatrin of the ethereal realms (Bar snang khams kyi glog ma sprin), the yakṣa Gömakha (Gnod sbyin rgod ma kha) and the nāga Gyongpo (Klu gyong po) are the three of the main spirits inhabiting the Lhundrup Tsek charnel ground located in the Kathmandu valley. See, in Tibetan: O rgyan gling pa, Pad+ma bka’ thang, (Khreng tu’u: Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1987), 202-203.  ↩

  13. The tiger year could refer to either 858 or 918 and the horse year either to 862 or 922.  ↩

  14. This likely refers to the Lung Tsuk Palace (pho brang klung tshugs). Following The Testimony of Ba (dba bzhed), the King erected a silk tent on the highest roof of the Lung Tsuk Palace as a residence for the teacher. There, over four months, the master taught the Dharma, starting with the ten virtues, the twelve links of dependent origination, and the eighteen constituents. (See: Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, (Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications, 2001), 166.  ↩

  15. [Drakmar] Yamalung (brag dmar g.ya’ ma lung), ‘Red Rock Cave at Yamalung’ is a sacred mountain hermitage, located in the hills, approximately 20 km from Samyé.  ↩

  16. The Ocean of Dharma, the Great Gathering of Transmitted Precepts (Bka' 'dus chos kyi rgya mtsho) is a teaching cycle that focuses on the Kagyé deities. It was discovered as a terma-treasure by Orgyen Lingpa, who was the author of the Padma Kathang, and it was subsequently rediscovered as a Yangter by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.  ↩

  17. Pema Garwang Chimé Tennyi Lingpa (Pad+ma gar dbang chi med bstan gnyis gling pa) is one of the treasury revealer names of Jamgön Kongtrul Lodrö Thayé (‘Jam mgon kong sprul blo gros mtha’ yas, 1813-1899).  ↩

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