Guru Padmasambhawa

Earlier in this website we have read about how Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal had converted her heathen husband, King Srong-Tsen Gampo into Buddhism in or around 642 A.D. For a century, except for the royal household and a few faithful retainers had remained an isolated island of hope in Tibet, until King Ti-Son Detsen ascended the throne in 745 A.D. King Detsen was a noble King, he had set his vision for the upliftment of his entire nation. Fortunately for him, there was a brilliant star in the Buddhist horizon in the person of Lama Padmasambhawa, a Nepalese monk. Padmasambhawa was a dynamic leader of his people and had already established his reputation having founded several monasteries, e.g, Thyangboche in Eastern Nepal, Rumtek in Suk-khim, now Anglicised and spelt as Sikkim, Ghoom in Darjeeling, India and Tiger’s Nest in Bhotang now Anglicised and spelt as Bhutan.

Upon receiving royal invitation Guru Padmasambhawa came to Tibet and eradicating the deep rooted and powerful pagan worship of Bon from entire land of Tibet he established that form of Buddhism known as Lamaism today. He was ably assisted by Santirakshita another Nepalese monk, who had mastered phonetics and was able to reduce Tibetan dialect into writing based on Nepalese script called Ranjana.

The monastic order established by Lama Padmasambhawa became so effective that the Celestial Emperor was personally drawn to it. In the year 1563 A.D. the Chinese Emperor brought in a Mongol Prince Sonam Gyatso to be the First Pontiff of Tibet with the title of Dalai Lama and to give it an aura of divinity, introduced him as the 3rd Dalai Lama as if he were the incarnation of two of his predecessors.

The experiment was a brilliant success and hence, the Emperor intervened again a in 1665 A.D. bifurcating the temporal from the spiritual where the Dalai Lama remained the temporal head of Tibetan Government and Lobsang, known as Panchen Lama was introduced to be the head of spiritual welfare of Tibet. To add some glamour, the Panchen Lama was made the spiritual mentor of the Celestial Emperor as well.

Lama Padmasambhawa did not believe celibacy was the pre-requisite to be a monk and was actually married to the Tibetan Princess Yeshe. Accordingly Padmasambhawa is depicted in all Tibetan icons as one in eternal conjugal embrace.

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