Guru Senge Dradog

   The Lion Roaring! Guru


                                                      Site Map

                                    Ah-Dat-Tor Lama


                                     prflags.gif (28457 bytes)

  Padmasambhava (Guru Senge Dradog/Vajra Guru) is the Root Yidam Deity For The

                                         Simanhada Vajramushti Sangha


Guru Padmasambhava - The Lotus Born, also known as: "The Lion Roaring Guru" is the most important figure in the history of Tibetan Buddhism, credited with the successful introduction of Tantric Buddhism into Tibet (Circa 750 CE).

He is of central importance to all wishing to understand the imagery and symbolism associated with the transition of Buddhism from India and into its Tibetan form.

He is also of unexpected importance (to many) concerning the transmission and evolution of the Indian Hindu and Buddhist Simhanada Vajramukti into the 'Tibetan', Lion's Roar! martial art.

Padmasambhava - The Lotus Born - is also called 'The Lion Roaring Guru' - specifically in one of his 8 'manifestations' - Guru Senge Dradog (Tibetan).   Before the later Tibetan development of the Chod Ritual - credited to the Tibetan Yogini Machig Labron (1053-1153), Padmasambhava was already associated with "Charnel Ground" practices,  involving ritual meditative (imaginal) consumption of the body and 'Cutting Severance' (Chod).   These rituals are said to have pre-existed in India as part of Tantrism, although some authorities give sole credit to Yogini Machig Labdron.  As the manifestation of the Roaring Lion Guru, Padmasambhava practices 'Cutting-Severance' and Roars The Lion's Roar!  

In the Tantric Lion's Roar Martial Art, the principle of Chod (pronounced 'Cho' in Tibetan) or Cutting Severance, is 'embodied' in the Seed Fist, Chune-Choi (Cantonese), which translates as space or inbetween-state/interval  penetration and cut - i.e. it is penetration and severance within the 'Bardo' hence: 'Bardo-Chod'.  'Chune' in Cantonese also translates as 'to thread'. Tantra is Sanskrit for 'weave', so Chune (chod) is the Upaya (Skilful Means) to achieve the weave of the thread of Tantra!

The unique 'Kinetic' Tantra of Lion's Roar Martial Arts engages the body in its own consumption and cutting-severance (Bardo-Chod) thru 'action', as an example of 'Skillful Means' (Upaya - Sanskrit) in the Siddha or 'Crazy-Wisdom' tradition. 

The name of the Lion's Roar Martial Art - carried true from the original Indo-Aryan Simhanada Vajramukti (the martial art of the Buddha's blood family from their Hindu origins) - right thru into Tibet as 'Senge-Ngwa' and thence into China as Si-Ji-Hao (Cantonese).

The connection with the Bardo-Chod and with Padmasambhava as Guru Lion's Roar! is        in-dispensible in order to understand this art.

The Tantric connections must be present for the Lion's Roar to still be 'Lion's Roar' and not an evolved branch division, minus its true adamantine- diamond- indestructable roots.

It is necessary therefore for those who claim to 'know' the Lion's Roar! martial art, to understand 'Chune' (Bardo-Chod) in its fullness and depth of meaning.



The Following With Grateful Acknowledgement to Om Mane Padme Hum


The Life of Padmasambhava (also known as Vajraguru)

Padmasambhava, popularly known as Guru Rinpoche, is revered by all lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, and his image is prominently displayed next to that of Lord Buddha in most Buddhist temples, monasteries, and homes. Many devotees, particularly those of the Nyingma School that Padma founded, regard him as the second Buddha.

Padma is not an ordinary sentient being, practitioner, nor a noble bodhisattva progressing on the path of the bhumis. He is a direct emanation of all the buddhas of the ten directions and the three times. He is the all-pervading Lord of the Three Jewels of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. He is the single embodiment of the wisdom, compassion and activity of all the Victorious Ones. He is the Master of the three roots of Guru, Yidam and Protector. He is the essence of Buddha Amitabha.

In the Dharmakaya, the spacious expanse of primordial awareness, Padma is inseparable from the Primordial Buddha Samantabhadra. In the Sambogakaya, the spontaneous expression of primordial awareness, Padma is inseparable from Buddha Vajradhara, manifesting as the emanation of the wisdoms of the Dhyani Buddhas. In the Nirmanakaya, the display of the compassionate energy of the Sambhogakaya Buddhas, Padma first appears in a semi-manifested form in the realm of Mahabrahma, where only noble bodhisattvas are able to perceive him. He then appears to ordinary beings as the multitude of Nirmanakayas of Supreme Enlightenment, such as Buddha Shakyamuni, and in all the other uncountable, incarnate manifestations. This display of manifestations appears unceasingly for as long as there are sentient beings.

The dakini Yeshe Tsogyal experienced a manifestation of Padma in a dream. Each pore of his body contained one billion realms, and in each of these existed one billion world systems. In each world systems dwelled one billion Padmas who each created one billion emanations, and each of these emanations taught one billion disciples. This display, which she called Immense Vajra Ocean, was repeated in each of the cardinal directions.

Padma manifests simultaneously in countless world systems to teach and convert all beings, whether human, god, spirit or demon, particularly those in the dark ages who are difficult to persuade, and he appears to them in a form that suits their individual karmic conditions. In one of his autobiographies, he explained, “At this time, in the Kaliyuga of conflict and strife, beings wallow indiscriminately in the poisonous slime of hatred, lust, confusion, jealousy and pride.  Particularly to assist those beings whom it is most difficult to help, the Buddhas of the Body of Infinite Simplicity conceived me with their concentrated Mind, the Buddhas of the Body of Visionary Enjoyment ordained the manner of my existence with their compassionate disposition and the Buddhas of Incarnate Compassion affirmed my embodiment with the power of their assembly. Thus, I, Orgen Padma, the Lotus Born Guru, appeared in this world.”

In our own world system, 1,000 buddhas will appear, and for each of these buddhas there will be 1,000 Padmas to carry out their activities. These Padmas are Buddha Amitabha’s mind emanations, Avalokitesvara’s speech emanation, and primarily help beings lost in the dark ages for whom the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have not appeared. In our present era, the time of Buddha Shakyamuni, Padma appears in all of the six realms of samsara. In the human realm, he is the body emanation of Buddha Shakyamuni and his life and deeds are a magical display to convert ordinary beings to the Dharma according to their individual capacities, inclinations and needs. In the biographies, it is taken for granted that Padma, immune to illness, old age and death, is still alive and preaching the Dharma to sentient beings. When Padma traveled to Tibet, he was over 1000 years old. Padma stated that he had been alive in this current worldly incarnation for more than 3,600 years.

The Biographies and Predictions

During his appearance in our world era, Padma dictated various autobiographies to his disciple, Yeshe Tsogyal These autobiographies, some of them augmented by commentators, and various independent biographies, present different, and sometimes conflicting, stories of his birth and other details of his life. For instance, one account states that Padma had an ordinary human birth and was called Danarakshita, the son of King Mahusita of Uddiyana. In another story, he was the son of a minister of King Indrabhuti. In yet another, he appeared instantaneously from a bolt of lighting at the summit of Mount Malaya in Sri Lanka. According to the prevailing versions, and based on Padma’s own dictations, he was immaculately born without father and mother from a lotus blossom. Padma explained that “some people believe that I revealed myself on the pollen bed of a lotus in the Dhanakosha Lake in the country of Urgiyan; some people believe I was born as Prince of Urgiyan; others believe that I came in the flash of a thunderbolt on the Nainchak hilltop. There are many distinct beliefs held by different people, for I have appeared in many forms. However, twenty-four years after the parinirvana of the Buddha Shakyamuni, the Adibuddha of Boundless Light, Amitabha, conceived the Thought of Enlightenment in the form of the Great Compassionate One, Avalokiteshvara, and from the heart of the Great Compassionate One, I, Padma, the Lotus Born Guru, was emanated as the syllable HRI. I came like rain throughout the world in innumerable billions of forms to those who were ready to receive me. The actions of the Enlightened Ones are incomprehensible! Who is to define or measure them?” Padma continues that one of his forms was the incarnation as the Prince of Oddyian, destined to govern that country and turn it completely to Buddhism. After that he would depart for India, embarking on his spiritual career.

Buddha Shakyamuni predicted that “at a later time after nirvana, with the lapse of twelve years, best of the Conquerors in all the worlds, I again will appear, in the land of Uddiyana, and, under the name of Padmasambhava, I will reveal the Doctrine of the Mantrayana.” When Buddha Shakyamuni was about to pass into Nirvana, he said to his grieving disciples: “The world being transitory and death inevitable for all living things, the time for my own departure hath come. But weep not; for twelve years after my departure, from a lotus blossom on the Dhanakosha Lake, in the north-western corner of the country of Urgyan, there will be born one who will be much wiser and more spiritually powerful than Myself.  He will be called Padma-Sambhava, and by him the Esoteric Doctrine will be established.”

The Kingdom of Indrabhuti

At this time, in the land of Uddiyana, in the northwest of Kashmir located west of Bodhgaya, a blind king by the name of Indrabhuti ruled. The king’s infant son succumbed to an early death, and shortly afterwards, a severe drought brought death and poverty, famine and death to the people in the country. Indrabhuti consulted with Asenya, the seer, who advised that only through virtuous action, such as generosity, and unflagging confidence and resolution, would better fortunes arise. Indrabhuti, following this advice, made profuse offerings to the Three Jewels, recited the Dharma Cloud Sutra, and promised to disseminate all his wealth to the suffering populace. He opened the doors of his three thousand granaries and treasuries, and distributed alms to the needy until his wealth was exhausted. The stream of beggars, however, was unending, and those who did not receive their share warned the King that if he did not include them, the merits of his earlier generosity would be minimal. 

The King was despondent, for he felt that no joy had come to him in this world. He had neither sight nor son, and he realized that he lacked the Dharma. He grieved for the plight of his people. Indrabhuti prayed to the deities and guardian spirits of all prevailing faiths and performed sacrificial fires and rites to banish the evil spirits and demons. However, these offerings and prayers were fruitless, and Indrabhuti lost confidence in every religion. He declared that religion is devoid of truth and commanded that the deities and guardian spirits be destroyed. In response, the deities and spirits sent storms, winds, hail and blood, and frightened the people of Uddiyana whose miseries increased.

Avalokitesvara, who had observed all this misery, made supplication to Amitabha for relief. Soon, conditions in the kingdom improved greatly. Indrabhuti continued to believe that only through virtuous action, such as unlimited generosity, could a recovery be achieved. He had been moved by the admonition of the beggars and was inspired to engage in alms-giving on a grander scale than before. The royal treasury depleted, Indrabhuti embarked on a sea voyage to the Land of Gems to obtain unlimited wealth to satisfy the multitude of beggars. He encountered Charumati, the daughter of the Naga King, who possessed the Wish-fulfilling Jewel, and persuaded her to give it to him. Indrabhuti returned with a great quantity of wealth, including the Jewel, which helped restore the sight in his previously blind left eye. He made good use of the gem, and everything his people desired literally rained down from the sky.

Padma’s Immaculate Birth and Coming to the Palace

On the tenth day of the sixth month of the Monkey year, Buddha Amithaba, with his unimpeded, omniscient vision, saw that the time had come to advance the Dharma. He looked upon Indrabhuti who had lost his son. He saw the demons and evil spirits that reigned everywhere, particularly the cannibalistic Raksashas of Tibet bent on destroying mankind. He saw the great king Trisong Detsen of Tibet who would help to spread the Dharma. Since a miraculous birth was required to transmit the Tantric teachings and inspire faith in the Dharma, Amithaba, having also noticed the immaculate, turquoise colored lake of Dhanakosa,5 sent a ray of red light from his tongue that pierced the lake. An immaculate, multi-colored lotus flower appeared in a lotus forest on an island in the middle of the turquoise-colored lake, with a stalk so large a man’s arms could not encompass it. From Amitabha’s heart center, a golden vajra appeared, marked with the letter HRIH, which floated into the bud of this lotus flower. The letter HRIH miraculously transformed into a beautiful boy, eight years of age, resembling Lord Buddha. He was holding a small vajra, lotus, and trident, and was adorned with the major and minor marks of a buddha. The child taught the profound Dharma on the island to devas and dakinis of the region.

About the first autumn month of the Dragon year, King Indrabhuti, who had just returned from his voyage, dreamt that he held a golden vajra that illuminated his entire kingdom, while his ministers dreamt that a thousand suns arose, illuminating the world. Having received a prophecy of a divine incarnation, the king dispatched his minister to find the miraculous birth. The minister found a boy, about eight years old, seated on a lotus on an island in the middle of Dhanakosa Lake. Rainbow auras encircled the celestial being, and dakinis surrounded him. King Indrabhuti and his ministers realized that he was the incarnation of a divine being. While engaging the child in conversation, the king regained the sight in his right eye. The child declared that he had entered the world to benefit all beings and to dominate those that are harmful for the good of the Dharma. He said, “My father is the self-arisen Samantabhadra, My Mother is the sphere of reality, Samantabhadri. My caste is the union of primordial wisdom and Dharmadhatu. And my name is the glorious Padmasambhava.” 

Indrabhuti gave him the name Padmakara, the Lotus Born, and brought him to the palace. As Padma was escorted to King Indrabhuti’s palace, he recognized symbols of his future along the way. He saw a fish caught by a hook and thrown trembling and jumping into a net, which symbolized that Padma would be fettered as a ruler of Indrabhuti’s kingdom. He also saw a partridge, that escaped from a thorny bush, chased by a crow, symbolizing his future renunciation. Finally, he saw a rat being killed, so that it could not return to its house, symbolizing the exile that would be imposed upon him once he broke the law of the king.

The king made Padma his crown prince and heir and sat him on a throne of precious gems.  Padma became known as the Bodhisattva Prince and was proclaimed king.

Padma’s Youth and Marriage

Padma grew up in the king’s palace and was always active. His early years and later renunciation resemble those of the life of Lord Buddha. At the age of thirteen, Padma established a new legal code based on the Ten Precepts. He sat on a throne of gold and turquoise while priests performed religious ceremonies for the welfare of the kingdom. Buddha Amithaba, Avalokiteshvara and the Guardian Kings of the ten directions came to anoint him, and they named him Pema Gyalpo, the Lotus King. The kingdom of Indrabodhi prospered and the people were content. Padma was a quick learner, and excelled in poetry and philosophy. He moved quickly from student to teacher, eventually exhausting the learning of every type of human and non-human guru.

He was unequalled in athletics and particularly renown for his archery and other physical feats. Padma could shoot an arrow through the eye of a needle. He could shoot thirteen arrows in a row, one hitting another, and the force of his arrow could penetrate seven doors. One time he picked up a rock the size of a yak and threw it so far, it was no longer visible. He could run around the city three times on one breath with the speed of an arrow. He could lasso a flying hawk and surpassed the fish in swimming.

Padma would frequently go alone on remote walks, and one day, while meditating in the Sorrowful Forest near the palace, he encountered Arhants who paid homage and sung praises to him. King Indrabhuti observed Padma’s inclination to meditate and saw his indifference to the activities and pleasures of ordinary life. Fearing that he might renounce the kingdom, the king conferred with his ministers, and they decided to find a princess for the Lotus Born. The Prince realized that this plan was designed to bind him to the householder’s life, so he refused all the thousands of maidens that were presented. Due to the king’s insistence, however, Padma prepared a description of the type of maiden he would accept. It was to be “a maiden with little desire, aversion, or error, and who does not act counter to my mind!” He said that he wished for “a young wife of pure lineage, able to change her thoughts, she who has neither duplicity nor anger, who is neither jealous nor avaricious, and who is acquainted with modesty.” A most virtuous and attractive maiden by the name of Bhasadhara was discovered in Singala, a neighboring country. King Chandra Kumar, the father of Bhasadhara, regretfully refused the proposal, since Bhasadhara’s marriage to a prince of Singala had already been consummated. King Indrabhuti used his Wish-Fulfilling Gem, to bring Bhasadhara and all her attendant maidens mysteriously to the King’s palace. She was married to the Lotus Born Prince, and proclaimed Queen. Her 499 maidens were married to the Prince as well, for it was customary in Uddiyana that a King should have 500 wives.

The Renunciation

For five years Padma experienced worldly happiness as a householder. He ruled the kingdom of Uddiyana in accordance with the Dharma. Then omens portending great change occurred. King Indrabhuti dreamed that the sun and moon were setting at the same time, and that there was much weeping in the palace. While walking in the Sorrowful Forest, Padma had visions of Buddhist symbols in the sky. They included the divine Golden Wheel, the seven jewels of the kingdom, the seven precious substances, the seven necessary things, and the seven sacred objects. The wheel, for example, meant that he would either rule the world with wisdom or turn the wheel of the Dharma This signified that Padma would become a Cakravartin, a universal ruler of men, or a Spiritual Emperor or Dharma Lord.

At that time, the Dhyani Buddha Vajrasattva, accompanied by seventy-two thousand gods, appeared in the sky on the arc of a rainbow and predicted:

In the center of the royal palace

stands the King of the Dharma

surrounded by a crowd of beautiful queens. 

Assembled each in her place, all unhappy

and with hearts afraid, they are desolate.

Their time has gone—

he will reject the kingdom as rotten.

From the very beginning, Padma had realized that, by assuming the throne and being bound to his father the king, his queen, and his kingdom, he would not be able to benefit the vast majority of sentient beings. He also understood the shortcomings of worldly life, and the unsatisfactory, illusory nature of the world. Recalling the Great Renunciation of Lord Buddha, Padma resolved that the time had come to renounce his throne, his family and his kingdom.

According to one story, when the King opposed Padma’s plan to enter the Monastic Order, Padma threatened to commit suicide, pretending to strike him self with a dagger. The king took Padma at his word, and decided that it was better for him to enter the Order than to carry out his threat. According to the prevalent legend, Padma discovered a skillful means to effect his renunciation. Having the ability to see past and future lives, he realized that an apparently negative action, apparently negative, involving him in a karmic killing, would in fact be compassionate, but would cause the king and his ministers to expel him from the country. Two sentient beings that were in the cycle of the damned because of previous karma were near death and would have gone to hell. One had been reborn as the child of a vassal of the king, and the other as a bee. The bee was near the forehead of the child, and Padma threw a rock at the bee, causing the bee to sting the child in its forehead, killing both the child and the bee. This was an act of compassion, since he prevented both the child and the bee from going to hell. To the dismayed people of Uddiyana, it was a strange and evil act inconsistent with how they had regarded Padma. Though unrepentant, the Lotus Born bore no ill will towards any one.

Padma was charged with the crime, and brought to the king for punishment. Indrabhuti was satisfied with Padma’s explanation that if the action were correctly understood, the law would not be broken. The king paid a fine for manslaughter, but confined Padma in the palace under guard. During his imprisonment, the Prince approached his father and pleaded that he found no happiness in the royal life, characterized by indolence and revelry, and that he desired to renounce the kingdom. He declared that he would become a Buddha within one lifetime and would teach the Dharma. To persuade his unwilling father, Padma explained the impermanence of conditioned existence, how death ultimately separates us from all that we hold precious, and how we must wander alone in the unknown bardo, which points to the illusory nature of reality. At last, the king agreed, saying: “Yes, it is in religion that your mind has taken refuge. My desire for a son to love is broken. Become the Perfect Being that you intend.”

At dawn, in order to renounce the kingdom, Padma gathered the ministers. On the terrace of the palace, completely nude except for magical bone necklaces, and holding a dorje, bell, and a three-pronged khatvanga, Padma performed a wild, wrathful dance. The curious crowd that gathered became frightened and the ministers protested. Among the crowd was Katama, the wife of Upta, a minister of the King, and their son Pratkara. The Prince threw his dorje and khatvanga straight at the mother and child. The dorje penetrated the Pratkara’s head and the khatvanga pierced Katama’s heart, killing them both. Padma had committed another karmic killing. Padma explained this act as before in the context of past and future lives, but for Upta the act required the legal punishment of impalement. The King declared that since Padma was not of human origin, but was rather an incarnate divinity, this punishment could not be inflicted upon him. The king and ministers agreed that Padma would be exiled instead. Since the council of ministers could not agree on the place of exile, King Indrabhuti decreed that wherever Padma wanted to go, that would be his exile. This was welcome news for Padma, who chose for himself the Chilly Grove Cemetery as his new dwelling place, and all the ministers readily acquiesced.

Padma was determined and nothing could persuade him to stay, neither the King’s sadness nor the wailing and lamenting of Bhasadhara and her attendants. Crowds gathered from all directions to witness the exile. According to one story, the ministers gladly escorted Padma to his new abode. According to another, while the ministers were debating the place of exile, the Four Great Kings with their retinues and the dakinis of the four orders arrived, singing and dancing. They brought a celestial horse and mounted the prince upon the steed. He disappeared into the heavens in a southerly direction while the crowds watched in awe. Padma descended to earth at sunset and stayed in a cave, where he prayed and meditated for seven days. All the Peaceful Deities appeared and held up a supernatural mirror. By seeing his reflected face, Padma obtained the common and extraordinary siddhis, including the power to transcend the cycle of birth and death.

Developing the Art of Meditation in Cemeteries

The exile was Padma’s dream fulfilled. He would eventually perfect his meditation by working his way through all of the eight Great Cemeteries and Charnel Grounds of India and other sacred places, and he would learn to control evil spirits through the practice of detachment.

Padma proceeded to the cemetery of Chilly Grove, also known as the Cool Sandal-Wood Cemetery, located ten miles southwest of Bodhgaya. It has been said that Lord Buddha taught the Dharma there. Padma was immediately aware of the need to convert demons and spirits. Taking his seat on a heap of corpses, he caused the ghostly inhabitants of the place to tremble with fear. They appeared before him with offerings. Dakinis paid their respects, and for five years, Padma taught the dharma to them. During this time, he devoted himself to the practice of Yoga Sosanika, through which he learned about impermanence, suffering and emptiness. He witnessed the funerals, the bereaved and grieving relatives, the stench of decaying corpses, and the fighting among the beasts over their remains. He meditated while sitting on corpses, endured austerities such as eating the ceremonial food offered to the dead, and he clothed himself in their cotton shrouds. During a famine, when ceremonial food was not brought with the bodies, Padma transmuted their flesh into pure food and fed on it, while their skin became his wearing apparel.He subjugated the spiritual beings inhabiting the cemetery and made them his servants. When demons rose up against him, he killed the males and joined with the females, bringing them under his power. The mamos and dakinis adored him.

King Arti, who ruled the area, lost a queen in childbirth. When her corpse was delivered to the cemetery, Padma removed the unborn, living baby girl from her womb. Perceiving a karmic connection with her, Padma decided to raise the girl himself. King Arti was offended by these actions and sent soldiers to attack Padma, but Padma defeated them all with his archery. To repent this deed, Padma erected a stupa.

During this time, Indraraja, the king of a district of Uddiyana, and many of his subjects had turned against religion. Padma transformed himself into a Rakshasa demon by tying a snake into his hair, and wearing a shirt of human skin and a skirt of tiger fur. With weapons in hand, he went to Indraraja’s kingdom, where he magically transmuted the bodies of the king and his men, drinking their blood and eating their flesh. Their minds were liberated, and sent to heavenly realms, forestalling their descent into the hells. Padma took every woman to himself to purify her spiritually and prepare her to be mother of religiously inclined progeny.6

Padma then proceeded to the country of Sahor, where he practiced in the great charnel ground called the Cemetery of Happiness, or the Joyful Grove Cemetery. In this place, the Wrathful Dakini, Subjugator of Mara, gave him blessings. After that he meditated in the Sosaling Cemetery in the south of Uddiyana, and received empowerments and blessings from the dakini of the Peaceful Order. He then returned to the place of his birth, and taught the Mahayana to the local dakinis in their own language. By practicing their sign language of Secret Mantra, he obtained yogic power over them and other deities of the area, including the nagas and planetary spirits, and they all vowed to assist him in his mission. Padma next resided in the Very Fearful Cemetery, or Rugged Grove Cemetery, where Vajra Varahi appeared to him, blessed him, and conferred on him the power to overcome others. He received transmissions and attainments from all classes and levels of dakas and dakinis, who blessed him and taught him the Dharma. They gave him the name Dorje Drakpo Tsal, and he became a great yogi and meditator.

Padma Searches for Gurus

Padma visited Bodhgaya, also known as Vajrasana, and made offerings at the shrine. During his stay, he practiced shape shifting, multiplying his body into other forms such as hundreds of monks making offerings, or a multitude of yogis, or a vast herd of elephants. Observers who witnessed some or his extraordinary activities asked him who his guru was. He replied: “I have no father, no mother, no guru, no caste, no name; I am the self-born Buddha.” This response caused people to presume that Padma was a demon. Although he was a self-born incarnation of the Buddha and therefore did not need a guru, he thought it would be wise to demonstrate to future generations that an ordinary practitioner needs a master. Even though the Dharma and all relative knowledge arose spontaneously within Padma’s mind, he decided to play the role of a disciple to gurus, and of a student of all sciences, humanities and arts to various teachers. At the time of his birth, the eight classes of gods and demons had assembled and paid homage to him, and all the buddhas of the ten directions had appeared and conferred empowerments and blessings. Padma had no need to study, to gain empowerments, to receive a monk’s ordination, or to subject him self to ascetic and yogic practices. He did so only to show ordinary followers the importance of such activities, and to engender their confidence in him.

Padma was an extraordinarily great student. He immediately mastered anything he had been taught just once. Every conceivable subject, art and craft was of interest to him, and he accomplished them all with utmost speed. Padma commenced his studies with worldly knowledge, the knowledge of what he called the five arts and sciences, which included languages, healing, dialectics, fine craft and metaphysics. In Bernares, Arjuna, the seer, taught Padma the knowledge of astrology. The son of Jivakakumara, a famous physician, taught Padma all about medicine. Under the guidance of doctor Kungi Shenyen, Padma perfected the art of composition, along with sixty-four forms of calligraphy. He mastered 360 different languages, including the language of demons, gods, brute creatures, and all other beings in the six migrations. Vishyakarma, a great artist, taught him all conceivable arts and crafts, from lapidary, painting, and image making to the manufacturing of liquors, weaving, carpentry, millinery and tailoring. A simple village woman taught him pottery. He learned everything there was to know, and became known as the Learned Master of All Applied Arts.

Padma’s next objective was to increase his already immense knowledge of Dharma. Padma found Ananda, who lived at the cave of the Asuras, and remained with him for five years. He mastered the twelve volumes of precepts comprising the Getri, also known as the Entrance into the Dharma, consisting of 84,000 shlokas, which contain all the essentials of Buddhist teachings. Some of the biographies maintain that Padma received the vow of celibacy and ordination into the Order from Ananda. On this occasion, the Goddess of the Earth offered saffron-colored monastic robes, and the Buddhas of the ten directions gathered in the sky and named him Shakya Senge, the Lion of the Shakyas.

Ananda explained to Padma that all of Buddha’s teachings had been recorded since his Paranirvana. The majority of these scriptures had been divided between the Devas and the Nagas who disputed over them, and the others were hidden in various locations in India and Uddiyana.  Later, with the help of dakinis, Padma gathered these texts from various realms and mastered their contents. He was then referred to as The Powerful Wealthy One of the World.

Padma traveled to Sahor and encountered Prabhahasti, who taught him the three sections of Yoga Tantra. He understood these teachings instantly, and even though he had never practiced the Yoga Tantras, he spontaneously experienced visions of the 37 deities that are described in them.

Padma, was not satisfied with the Sutra teachings he received from Ananda, nor with the Tantras he received from Prabahasti. He decided to seek out the highest teachings available, those regarding Voidness and Divine Wisdom. He approached the Great Master, Garab Dorje, with great reverence, and received from him the doctrine of Dzogchen Nyingtik, also known as the Heartdrop of the Great Perfection. He continued acquiring the higher teachings with the assistance various gurus. From Sangyey Sangwa, he received the Hundred Emanations of the Secret Heart, a teaching regarding the 100 Peaceful and Wrathful Deities. From Sri Singha, he learned the Tantras of the Supreme Heruka, or the Mind of Compassionate Bliss. From the master Jampal Shenyen, Padma obtained the Tantra of Jampal Shinje, the Destroyer of Death. Padma ultimately received instructions from all the major gurus of India and other countries, including Masters Ludup, Hungchenka, Vimalamitra, Jnanasutra, Dhanasanskrita, Humkara, Buddhaguhya, Mahavajra, Gridhrakuta, Devachandra, Shantigarbha, Mahasandhi and Nagarjuna.

The thanka paintings that represent the Refuge Tree of Padmasambhava reveal the relative importance of his various teachers. Generally, Padmasambhava is shown in union with his consort, and above him is represented the transmission lineage of his gurus. At the very top the paintings show the Primordial Buddha Samantabhadra with his consort Samantabhadri, and directly below them Vajrasattva. Beneath the divine gurus, the principal worldly gurus Garab Dorje, Manjusrimitra, Shri Singha and Jnanasutra are pictured, and under them we find many of the other personal gurus.

Developing the Eight Manifestations

Whenever Padma was not at the feet of his worldly gurus, he practiced and taught in the cemeteries, or visited heavenly realms to receive instructions from his divine gurus. For five years, Padma dwelled in the Cemetery of Bodies’ End, in the country of Baiddha, where he encountered Mahapalesvara, the God Protector of the World, who had the body of a yak, the head of a lion and legs like serpents. In this place, he expounded the dharma to the dakinis and received the name Nyima Özer, or Golden Light of the Sun.

He then proceeded to the Akanistha Heaven, where he received the doctrine of the Great Perfection from the primordial Buddha Samantabhadra, and was called Guru Urgyan Dorje Chang, or the Guru Vajradhara of Uddyiana. From there, he moved to the Cemetery of Expanded Happiness, also called the Cemetery of Radiant Beatitude, located in Kashmir, and for five years he taught the Dharma to a demoness named Gaurima and to other dakinis. According to one story, Padma received the name of Loden Chogsed at this time because he exhibited great benevolence, like a father and mother, toward a murderous man whose implacable resentments caused him to be devoured by wild beasts.

After a sojourn in the heavenly realm of Vajrasattva, where he learned yoga and Tantric doctrines, Padma visited the Self-Created Peak, or Many Mounds Self-Formed Cemetery in Nepal. He lived in this dreadful, frightening place for five years, subjugated the eight classes of gnomes, and taught various types of spiritual beings, including demons. From this time on he was called Senge Dradog, or the Teacher with a Lion’s Voice. Back in the heaven of Buddha Samantabhadra, Padma gained complete instruction in the Nine Vehicles based on the Five Books of Maitreya, the nine methods of attaining enlightenment, and was called The Completely Taught One. He then journeyed to Sahor, and stayed in the Lankakuta Cemetery, where he preached the Dharma for five years, disciplined many fearful demons, and received the name Padmasambhava, the Lotus-born. After that, he went to the God-Peak Cemetery, also called the Great Cemetery Pile of the Worlds, in the land of Khotan. He received instructions from Vajra Yogini on the secret Tantric methods of attaining liberation, and remained in this horrifying cemetery for five years, turning the Wheel of Dharma for the dakinis. From this time on, he became known as Dorje Drolod the Guru of Consolation.

The Principal Gurus and the Initiation by Kungamo

While Padma was practicing in the cemeteries, Garab Dorje was miraculously born to a virgin, daughter of King Dharmasoka of India, while she was traveling away from home. Having no use for a fatherless child, she placed him in a burning pit, but for seven days the child miraculously survived. She remembered a dream, prior to the birth, in which it was foretold that she would give birth to a celestial being. She returned and rejoiced at finding him alive, and called him Rolang Dewa.

The child grew rapidly, and at the age of eight, expressed great interest in finding Vajrasattva. After a period of time, during which he was thought lost, Rolang Dewa suddenly returned and proclaimed: “I have been to see Srivajrasattva to hear his Teachings, and what Vajrasattva knows, I know.” He proceeded to demonstrate the truth of this claim by successfully debating five hundred great pandits, who departed, convinced that he was a Buddha. Garab Dorje met with Manjusrimitra in Uddiyana on the island of the Dhanakosa Lake, where Manjusrimitra taught him the 9th vehicle, the Atiyoga. At this time, Padma came to Garab Dorje, who taught him the 17 Tantras of the Dzogchen Nyingtik, and various other teachings.

Padma sought Manjushrimitra on Mount Malaya to request teachings to perfect the vidyadhara levels of longevity and mahamudra, but the master postponed them. Instead, he sent Padma to the Wisdom Dakini Kungamo to ask for the appropriate preliminary empowerments. Padma went to the charnel ground of Sandal Grove, or Lanka Peak Cemetery, where he found Kungamo, who dwelled in a palace of skulls. He asked her for the empowerments of longevity, mahamudra, and the power over demons and spirits. Kungamo transformed Padma into the syllable Hung. With the Hung on her lips, she empowered Padma to be Buddha Amitabha, giving him the empowerment to attain longevity. She then swallowed the Hung, and inside her stomach, Padma received the secret Avalokiteshvara empowerment of mahamudra. Secretly she initiated him to be Hayagriva, and in this manner blessed him with the power over all mamos, dakinis, worldly devas and demonic spirits. Emitting the Hung through her secret lotus, she purified the obscurations of his body, speech and mind. Kungamo gave Padma the secret name of Loden Chogsed, The Supreme Genius.

Padma returned to Manjushrimitra, where he studied all the teachings of Manjushri, and soon afterwards, he had a vision of Manjushri. He also returned to Prabhahasti, and received instructions on The Hundred Thousand Verses of the Purba Vitotama, or Vajra Kilaya.

One of Padma’s most important worldly gurus was Prince Shri Singha, who dwelt in a cave in Burma. According to Padma’s own declaration, it was from Shri Singha’s oral instructions that his enlightenment resulted. In referring to these instructions, Padma wrote:


I, Padma of Uddiyana,

Followed Guru Shri Singha.

This, his final instruction,

Liberated me, Padma.

Though not liberated by the tripitaka or secret mantra,

I was liberated by this secret teaching.

May all the worthy ones also be liberated through this.

May this final and direct instruction

Of Guru Shri Singha

Meet with a worthy person who possesses former training!


During these years of learning and teaching, Padma obtained all knowledge of magic, rebirth, hidden treasure, longevity, and power over the physical world. He learned how to extract essences from different materials for preventing disease, neutralizing poisons, acquiring clear vision, walking on water, and prolonging life. He developed the supernormal powers of the senses by drinking only water and abstaining from food. He was able to retain warmth without clothing. He developed clearness of mind, lightness of body, and fleetness of foot through breath control, and he acquired vast learning through fasting and the understanding of emptiness. He mastered the art of extracting elixir from sand, and transmuting filth and flesh from corpses into pure food. He met the Medicine Buddha and the Rishis, who gave him a pot of amrita that he drank and that helped to prolong his life.

Developing the Highest Teachings and Preserving the Dharma in various Countries

After completing his training in the arts and sciences, accomplishing his meditative skills in the cemeteries, destroying all doubt by supplication of the Precepts from all the important, contemporary gurus, and having learned to control the power of evil through detachment, Padma was ready to practice the higher teachings, particularly those of longevity and mahamudra, and to re-establish and preserve the Doctrine of Buddhism in India, China, Uddyiana and many other countries.

However, before spreading the Doctrine, Padma wanted to destroy the remaining evil forces in the world. He returned to Cool Sandal-Wood Cemetery near Bodhgaya, constructed a house of human skulls with eight doors, and meditated sitting on a throne inside it. Adopting a wrathful form with nine heads and eighteen arms, he danced in a wrathful mood. In this and other guises, he subjugated demons, gnomes and evil spirits, slew them, ate their hearts and drank their blood, and sent their consciousnesses into the pure lands. He also subjugated the nagas while taking the form of Hayagriva, dancing upon a poisonous lake. In the form of other wrathful deities he subjugated various kinds of demons, such as those that cause epidemics, diseases, hail and famine. He controlled the gods in the guise of Red Manjushri and he subjugated the gods headed by Brahma by uttering their mantras. 

Having conquered evil in these ways, Padma returned to Bodhgaya to eradicate all mistaken views, using the power of the Sutras. Through the use of mantras, he resuscitated all the evil spirits, nagas and demons that he had slain, taught them the Dharma, initiated them, and made them serve the cause of religion. In Vajrasana, India’s most holy place, the Black Tirthikas had caused great fear, and Padma vanquished them with magical powers. The 500 scholars of Vajrasana asked Padma to become their master and teacher. Vimalamitra, a famous scholar, remained as Padma’s representative and helped preserve the Doctrine for 100 years after Padma’s departure.

To carry out his intention to accomplish the vidyadhara level of longevity for which he had received empowerment from Kungamo, and instructions from Manjushrimitra, Padma needed a genuine spiritual consort. He traveled to the country of Sahor, where King Arshadhara reigned.  Padma caused light rays to enter the Queen’s womb while she remained in union with the King.  A daughter, exhibiting the 32 marks of Buddha, was born to them and she was given the name Mandarava. It was predicted that she would renounce the world and become a saint. Mandarava grew up rapidly, growing in one day as much as normal children in a month. At the age of 13, everyone regarded her as an incarnate goddess. Many suitors arrived from various countries, but since she would not accept any of them, the King became angry. Madarava, who was able to see her past lives, explained that she wished to enter religious practice. As a consequence, she was confined and guarded by 500 servants and forbidden to exit the palace. Mandarava was able to escape through a secret passage into the jungle. She cut her hair and disfigured her face to destroy her beauty. The King ultimately permitted her and her 500 servants ordination, and he built a palatial monastery for them. Padma decided that the time was ripe to instruct Mandarava, so he appeared to her and her followers in their garden, in the form of a smiling youth sitting on a rainbow. All the nuns bowed before him and questioned him regarding his origin. Then they invited him into the monastery where he taught them the three yogas. A shepherd, who observed Padma with the nuns, and who had listened at the door of the monastery, reported to the King that the nuns were un-virtuous. The King sent soldiers who forcibly entered and arrested Padma. He commanded that Padma be burnt at the stake and that Mandarava be placed in a pit of thorns for 25 years. The soldiers stripped Padma naked, beat and stoned him, and bound him with ropes to a stake. Thousands of people were asked to bring one bundle of wood each and some sesame seed oil. A long cloth soaked in this oil was wrapped around Padma. Dried leaves were placed over him and the wood on top of these. The mountain-high pyre was lit up from four directions and the smoke obscured the sun. The multitudes were satisfied and dispersed to their homes. Suddenly, there were rumblings like an earthquake. The deities and buddhas had come to the aid of Padma.

The King began to suspect that the mendicant was an important incarnation. Seven days later he saw smoke continuing to billow forth from the pyre. He investigated, and found in the place of the pyre, a huge lake under a rainbow surrounded by the wood that continued to burn. At the center of the lake on a lotus blossom there sat an eight-year old, beaming boy with a magnificent aura, attended by eight maidens, all with the appearance of Mandarava. Addressing the King, the child pointed out his evil ways and admonished him to beware of his karmic future. The King repented his actions. Recognizing Padma as the Buddha, he offered himself, his kingdom, and Mandarava. Padma accepted the Princess Mandarava as his spiritual consort, and remained as guru to the King, giving him and 21 of his followers yogic training and initiation. The King became a teacher of the Dharma, “the country of Sahor became studded with yogins, and the Buddhas’ Doctrine remained there for two hundred years.”

Having caused the entire country of Sahor to embrace Buddhism, Padma wished to do the same in the land of his birth. Traveling with Mandarava to Uddiyana, Padma was recognized by the wicked minister whose child he had killed, who made an attempt to burn him alive once more. Padma again transformed the fire into a lake, in the middle of which he and Mandarava sat inside a huge lotus. The King and his followers were amazed. They prostrated, circumambulated, and offered praises. King Indrabuthi became enlightened as Padma gave him instructions that caused him to recognize the nature of his mind. The King and all his subjects became followers, and Padma remained for 13 years as the spiritual head of the palace.

Padma turned to unfinished spiritual matters. He journeyed with Madarava to the Cave of Maratika in Nepal, said to be near the Potala where Avalokitesvara dwells, to perfect the level of vidyadhara longevity by practicing the Sadhana of Eternal Life. Together they prayed to the Buddha of Long Life, Amitayus, for 3 months and 7 days. After that time, Amitayus appeared to them in a vision, and gave them the ritual texts that grant immortality. Bringing the nectar-filled vase of immortal life, he poured the nectar into their mouths and changed their bodies into vajra bodies, conferring upon them immunity from birth and death until the end of the kalpa. They also received the siddhi of transformation into a rainbow, and the siddhi of invisibility. Padma and Mandarava returned to the human world and mediated in the cave of the Lofty Schist Mountains, in the country of Kotala, practicing their yoga for 12 years, while the King of Kotala, Nubsarupa, provided them with all necessities.

During this time, Padma saw that King Arshadhara, Mandarava’s father, had been reborn as Mandhebhadra, the daughter of Nubsarupa. He also noticed that in the great cemetery called Loud Contemptuous Laughter, a large numbers of wild beasts were starving due to a lack of corpses. Padma felt pity for the beasts, but he failed to satisfy their hunger by offering his own body, since his vajra body was not edible. He devised a plan to make Mandhebhadra offer herself to the animals by arousing her pity for the beasts. He told her that by offering herself to them, the beasts would be reborn as human beings rather than descending to the hells, and she would eventually be reborn as King Tongtsen Gampo of Tibet. As Tongtsen Gampo, she would work with the beasts reborn as humans to spread the Dharma for the benefit of all. The girl gave herself up to the animals, and the future unfolded as Padma had predicted. King Nubsarupa, who lamented the loss of his daughter, turned to the Dharma after he understood the benefits of these events. 

After this, Padma revealed himself in the city of Pataliputra, in Kusumapura, India, where Ashoka, the king of this region, incited a schism in the Doctrine. It was a dispute between the Mahasanghika, the young monks, and the Sthavira, a smaller group of older monks. Ashoka subsequently had the younger monks put to death, and the older monks beaten and left to die. Padma approached the King in the form of a begging monk. Ashoka was suspicious and felt that he was being shown contempt. He ordered Padma to be boiled in a cauldron of oil until he dissolved. However, the monk appeared unharmed, sitting on a lotus blossom that had grown out of the oil in the cauldron and high up into the air. King Ashoka immediately realized his error and was overcome with remorse. He made a pilgrimage to the Bodhi Tree, turned to alms-giving, and worked to spread the doctrine. He became known as Ashoka the Just.

Padma visited many other countries to establish the Dharma. The king of Singala became his patron and disciple. Padma remained in Singala nearly 200 years and converted people to Mahayana Buddhism. In Bengal, he established Buddhism after defeating the king and conquering his kingdom with a magically created army of 81,000 men armed with bows and arrows. He converted the non-Buddhists at Bodhgaya by winning a long debate, and was named Guru Senge Dradog, the lion-roaring Guru. He traveled to Jambumala, Parpata, Nagapota, and Kashakamala and many different places, and in each he supported and enhanced existing Buddhist practices or introduced new ones.

To accomplish the vidyadhara level of mahamudra, Padma journeyed to the Cave of Yangelshö, now known as Palphing, between India and Nepal. At this time Shakyadevi, the daughter of the Nepalese king, became his consort and accompanied him to this cave. Padma writes: “In the highest cave of meditation in Yangleysho, I began the process of becoming aware of the Sublime Heruka Reality of Mind in order to obtain the relative powers of affection and ultimate compassion of the Mahamudra.” He trained with the princess and achieved the supreme attainment through the profound sadhanas of the deities Vajraheruka and Vajrakilaya, which he combined into a single practice. Padma’s practice was interrupted because the Naga Gyongpo, the Yaksha Gomakha and Logmadrin, a demon of the ethereal realms, stopped the rain for three years. This brought a draught, famine and disease that caused suffering to the people of India and Nepal. Padma recognized that the local deities were hindering his achievement of Mahamudra. He therefore pleaded with his guru Prabahasti to provide him a means of allaying these obstacles. Prabahasti dispatched the text of the Purba Vitotama that a single man could not carry. When the huge text arrived, the demons were overcome by its mere presence. Thus the obstacles to the progress of Padma’s sadhana were removed, and he attained the realization of Mahamudra.

Part II: Padma inTibet



If we regard Padma as an ordinary human being, we will fail to perceive the enlightened qualities of a buddha. In the Saddharma Pudarika Sutra, Buddha Shakyamuni describes how a buddha can transform one moment into an aeon and one aeon into one moment. This control over phenomena is one example of the incredible powers of a buddha, which ordinary beings cannot explain or even begin to comprehend. In addition, the perceptions of beings are relative. A single deed of Buddha Shakyamuni was perceived in different ways by different disciples due to their varying capacities. Hinayana followers saw the great miracles of Buddha lasting for one day, while Mahayana followers saw them lasting for many days. Ordinarily, we speak of Three Turnings of the Wheel of Dharma. Sometimes we see reference to Four Turnings or Five Turnings. Extraordinary people perceived Buddha giving an inconceivable number of other teachings, such as the Avatamsaka, the Kalachakra, and so forth. These are examples of the relativity of human perception. Given these limitations, how can we expect to comprehend the mysteries of the body, speech and mind of a buddha such as Padma? Ordinary individuals, and even bodhisattvas, do not understand how buddhas or great siddhas are able to transform time, show multiple manifestations of their bodily form, and display other inconceivable miracles. Therefore, we must make allowances extraordinary or inexplicable activities by relying on faith.

2 Yeshe Tsogyal was an intimate disciple of Padmasmabhava and an incarnation of Sarasvati, the Goddess of Learning. Following Padma’s dictation, she compiled Padma’s Precepts known as the Padma bKahi Thang Yig that exists in two versions, one written in prose and the other in poetry. This work is one of many such autobiographies forming the Kathang Literature that Padmasambhava composed, psychically sealed, and placed in safekeeping for the sake of future generations. Padma directed Yeshe Tsogyal to bury the manuscripts in various secret caves, along with other materials he had already hidden there. The prose version of Padma bKahi Thang Yig was later discovered by the Terton Sangye Lingpa in the Mirror Cave of Pouri, and consists of a scroll written in Sanskrit together with a complete translation into Tibetan. This work forms the basis for translations such as “An Epitome of the Life and Teachings of Tibet's Great Guru Padmasambhava” according to The Biography by Yeshe Tsogyal, translated into English by Sardar Bahadur S. W. Laden, in The Tibetan Book Of The Great Liberation, ed. W. Y. Evans Wentz. A second, longer version of the same work in 108 cantos, discovered by Orgyen Lingpa in the Crystal Rock Cave of Yarlung, is written in poetry, and is the basis for The Life And Liberation Of Padmasambhava, translated from the French by Kenneth Douglas & Gwendolyn Bays, Dharma Publishing, l978. The two versions of the Padma bKahi Thang primarily comprise teachings of Guru Padmasambhava, but later commentators have added and interpolated material of their own invention making these works somewhat unreliable as historical sources. The two versions also differ in many significant details. The bKa’ Thang Zab Rgyas, the Deep and Vast Chronicles in four volumes, one of the most extensive presentations of Padmasambhava’s life is likewise adulterated and remains un-translated. One of the best sources of original information, the first known terma autobiography, is called the Sanglingma Life Story, also recorded by Yeshe Tsogyal, and is included by Jamgon Kongtrul in the first volume of his famous collection of terma treasures known as Rinchen Terdzö. It is the basis for The Lotus-Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava translated from Tibetan by Erik Pema Kunsang, Shambala Publications 1993. Yeshe Tsogyal concealed the Salingma under the statue of the tantric deity Hayagriva on the shrine of the Copper Temple of Samye monastery, and it was discovered later on by Nyang Ral Nyima Öser. In the Forword of The Lotus Born, Dilgo Kyentse Rinpoche explains that depending on the different ways sentient beings perceive reality there correspond an inconceivable number of life stories of Padmasambhava of which the Saglingma is the king. It condenses many other biographies, autobiographies and histories, and also contains the main points of Padmasambhava’s teachings as well as his oral instructions and final advice. The work focuses on how the teachings spread to Tibet and how Padmasambhava converted disciples in that country. An excellent synopsis of The Life is found in The Legend of the Great Stupa and The Life Story of the Lotus Born Guru translated by Keith Dowman. In addition to the autobiographies there exist various biographies written by others that are generally based on the termas. Outstanding among these is the Threefold Confidence: A Life Story of Padmasambhava by Taranatha from the 16th century.

The Tibetan word “namtar,” which describes this kind of writing actually means “complete liberation” and should not be translated as “life story”. Namtar writings are guides in which disciples derive instructions, often cryptic, as well as inspiration, by studying the life examples of their gurus, and each chapter or section often introduces a specific stage or practice on the path.

3 Predictions by Lord Shakyamuni Buddha of his re-appearance as Padmasambhava are found in numerous Sutras and Tantras. The present quote is from the Tantra bla-med don rdzogs ‘dus-pa. Similar predictions can be found in the Tantra of the bka’ ‘dus: “A great Being of universal renown who will be one with myself, Diamond Born of the Lake, in keeping with my ordinance, will appear in the future.  He will instruct widely, in the land of Zahor, teaching King Asradhara and others the United Precepts, this Vehicle of the Great Meditation.”  In the Sutra dbus ‘gyur tshal lung bstan-ba it is stated: “Forty-two years from now, on the island in the lake of Dhanakosa, by spontaneous birth from a lotus, Padmasambhava will appear, Lord of the Doctrine of the Secret Formulas.”  Some of the other scriptures containing this prediction are the Immaculate Goddess Sutra, the Sutra of Inconceivable Secrets, the Tantra of the Ocean of Ferocious Activity, the Tantra of the Perfect Embodiment of the Unexcelled Nature, the Nirvana Sutra and the Sutra of Predictions in Magadha.


4. Quoted by Evans Wentz, ibid, p. 105. The actual source of this passage, as quoted by Wentz, is the Mahaparinirvana Sutra. Although the Buddha's prediction proved completely accurate with respect to the details of the birth of Padmasambhava, his declaration regarding Padma's greatness compared to his own is not taken literally but hyperbolically by some readers, for how could there be anyone greater than the Buddha? However, it could be argued that Padmasambhava was greater than Buddha Shakyamuni with respect to his human form since he was not susceptible to aging, illness and death.Moreover, there is a belief based on a passage in the Kanjur, that Buddha Shakyamuni took birth as Padmasambhava for the special purpose of preaching the tantric doctrines. He is quoted as having said at the time of his passing, in response to the question why he had not taught the Tantras, that he was unfit to do so having been born from a human womb, and that only a superhuman birth would result in the exceptionally pure body required for the revelation of the Tantras. From an absolute point of view there is no being superior to a buddha. What is meant here is that a particular emanation of a buddha may be, relatively speaking, superior to another of his emanations. In the Nirvana Sutra Buddha Shakyamuni enumerates five qualities of his own emanation as Padmasambhava that make it superior to his others:


Kyeho! Listen, whole retinue, with one-pointed mind. 

This emanation of myself
Will be superior to other emanations in the three times.
Not subject to age and decline,
His eminent form will be superior to other emanations.
From the very first vanquishing the four maras,
His wrathful power will be superior to other emanations.
Teaching the greater vehicle of buddhahood in one lifetime,
His realization will be superior to other emanations.
Converting the central and surrounding lands of the Jambu continent,
His benefit for beings will be superior to other emanations.
Beyond passing away in this Good Aeon,
His life span will be superior to other emanations.
This is because he is an emanation of Amitabha.


5 The great river Sindhu, one of four great rivers that spring from Mount Kailash, flows towards the Western Land of Uddiyana and empties into the Arabian Sea. Where the river reaches Uddiyana, it forms a lake filled with lotuses. Since the lotus roots produce sweet, milky juice, it is called The Ocean of Milk. This lake is located in the region of Danakosha, northwest in Uddiyana, northeast of Kamaru, the Town of Marble. The lake, also known as The Kosha Lake or as The Dazzling Immaculate Lake, was an immense body of water with exceptionally pure qualities. Its waters had the eight characteristics of being pure, clear, cool, sweet, perfumed and pleasantly odorous, thirst quenching and salutary. Men who bathed in it or drank from it became tranquil, peaceful, harmless and calm, and their negative karma was mitigated. 

6 The biographies abound with such stories and it is impossible to include them all in this brief summary of his life. These samples of some of Padma’s activities are included to illustrate his transcendence of all conventional concepts of morality, which has invited criticism from certain quarters. Although we often see the image of Padma displayed with equal prominence along side that of their founder Tsongkapa, some sectarians among the Gelugpas have leveled criticisms disapproving of Padma’s tantric doctrines. It has been said that he disregards all standards of right and wrong and that he completely disregards all social, moral and dogmatic, religious conventionalities and established codes of conduct. Complaints have been made regarding his use of alcohol as a tantric tool and his conjugal irregularities. It is beyond our scope to address these objections fully and a few comments must suffice. Padma often holds a skull cup filled with divine liquor that he offers to all who choose him as their Guru, bidding them drink of it to attain liberation. The use of alcohol, meat and sex in tantric practices are accepted as tools that enhance the practicioner’s performance and accelerate his ultimate attainment. The uninitiated indulge in alcohol, meat and sex in the ordinary, vulgar way. The initiated do so symbolically and as a profound, skillful means.  Moreover, the criticisms of these means are founded on a limited or relative conception of good and evil. Because of his Buddha qualities, particularly omniscience, Padma is able to completely transcend conceptual distinctions such as that between good and evil. It is not necessary to give much consideration to the opinions of the vulgar concerning the Precious Guru. Only a great master, not a man of uncontrolled appetites and passions, could have conceived and created the supreme teachings Padma left for the benefit of future generations. The sectarian criticisms of Padma’s character and tantricism can only serve to highlight the extraordinary life and qualities, the incredible activities and accomplishments of the Great Guru.


 7. A conflict appears at this point among Padmasambhava’s various autobiographies. In the Sanglingma it is said that Padma received ordination from Prabhahasti and it was he who gave him the name Shakya Senge. According to both versions of the bKahi Thang, on the other hand, Padma had asked Prabhahasti to confer upon him the state of brahmacharya, the vow of celibacy, but Prabhahasti had told Padma that although he could teach him the Tantras, he was not qualified to give him the ordination, and that he should see Ananda, Buddha’s cousin and chief disciple, for them. It is further stated that Padma did seek out Ananda according to this advice, and that he received ordination from him. There is no mention of Ananda in the Sanglingma, but he appears prominently in the bKahi Thang in various cantos.


 8. Some of these names and others yet to follow constitute the eight principal and most renown manifestations of Padmasambhava. In the mandala of these eight manifestations, Shakya Senge appears in the east. Padma Gyalpo appears in the south. Padmasambhava appears in the west. Dorje Drolod appears in the north. Nyima Özer appears in the southeast. Padma Jungnay appears in the southwest. Senge Dradog appears in the northwest. Loden Chogsed appears in the northeast. Different legends provide different historical origins of several of these names. Different figures display different implements, mudras, apparel, and, in the wrathful figures, striking variations in bodily and facial features. All of them are surrounded by the dakinis of the various orders. Padma Jungnay is the name of Padma’s manifestation who journeyed to Tibet and defeated of the cannibals. Some of the other interesting manifestations are Tsokey Dorje, Padma as the King of Sahor, the guru predicted by Shakyamuni Buddha; Guru Drakpo, the scorpion-wielding, fierce manifestation; Simhamukha, the secret dakini, the lion-faced dakini and Dombhi Heruka.

Sanskrit & Chinese Translations

of 師子吼 : 獅子吼 "Lion's Roar"

("Si") A host, army; a leader, preceptor, teacher, model; tr. of upādhyāya, an 'under-teacher', generally interpreted as a Buddhist monk.

"Si" as in Si-Fu

子 "Ji" as in Seed, or Son (note the Buddha's Son's and Seeds, in relation to Lion's Roar! Tantric Buddhist Martial Arts symbolism.

師子 ("Si-Ji") Simha, a lion; also 獅子 Buddha, likened to the lion, the king of animals, in respect of his fearlessness.

師子乳 Lion's milk, like bodhi -enlightenment, which is able to annihilate countless ages of the karma of affliction, just as one drop of lion's milk can disintegrate an ocean of ordinary milk.

金毛獅子 The lion with golden hair on which Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī (Wenshu) rides; also a previous incarnation of the Buddha.

師子光 Simharaśmi. 'A learned opponent of the Yogācāra school who lived about A. D. 630.' Eitel.

師子吼 ("Si-Ji-Hao") also: 獅子吼: Simhanāda. The lion's roar, a term designating authoritative or powerful preaching. As the lion's roar makes all animals tremble, subdues elephants, arrests birds in their light and fishes in the water, so Buddha's preaching overthrows all other religions, subdues devils, conquers heretics, and arrests the misery of life.

佛吼 Buddha's nāda, or roar, Buddha's preaching compared to a lion's roar

師子國 Simhala, Ceylon, the kingdom reputed to be founded by Simha, first an Indian merchant, later king of the country, who overcame the 'demons' of Ceylon and conquered the island.

師子座 (or 師子牀) Simhāsana. A lion throne, or couch. A Buddha throne, or seat; wherever the Buddha sits, even the bare ground; a royal throne.

師子奮迅 The lion aroused to anger, i.e. the Buddha's power of arousing awe.

師子尊者 師子比丘 Āryasimha, or Simha-bhiku. The 23rd or 24th patriarch, brahman by birth; a native of Central India; laboured in Kashmir, where he died a martyr A.D. 259.

師子王 Simhanadraja: The lion king, The Buddha.

師子相 Simdhadhvaja; 'lion-flag,' a Buddha south-east of our universe, fourth son of Mahābhijña.

師子冑 or 師子鎧 Harivarman, to whom the 成實論 Satyasiddhi-śāstra is ascribed.

師子身中蟲 Just as no animal eats a dead lion, but it is destroyed by worms produced within itself, so no outside force can destroy Buddhism, only evil monks within it can destroy it.

師子遊戲三昧 The joyous Samādhi which is likened to the play of the lion with his prey. When a Buddha enters this degree of Samādhi he causes the earth to tremble, and the purgatories to give up their inmates.

師子音 Simhaghoma; 'lion's voice,' a Buddha south-east of our universe, third son of Mahābhijña

師子音 "Guru with a Lion's voice" also 師子吼 or 獅子吼 as "Guru Lion's Roar" BOTH names for Padmasambhava - the Lotus Born (called Guru Rinpoche) the Patriarch of Tantric Buddhism to Tibet.