Category: Buddhist holidays
In the 10th day of the sixth month of the lunar calendar (July) Tibetan Buddhists celebrate the birthday of Guru Rinpoche, dedicated to the memory of Padmasambhava - one of the first Indian monks who arrived in Tibet during the reign of King Trisong Detsen (755-797) and converted to Buddhism a lot of its inhabitants.
On this day in the churches held a special ceremony: decorate temples, hanging on the walls with colorful paintings (tank), all placed statues of Buddha, preceded by a meal and light fixtures. The temples were offered flowers and incense. After a festive prayer should be meditation. At the end of the food offering, usually distributed to all who came to the temple. Celebrations completes theatrical mystery Tsam, which reproduces episodes from the life of Padmasambhava.
Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, was an 8th-century Indian Buddhist master. Although there was a historical Padmasambhava, nothing is known of him apart from helping the construction of the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet at Samye, at the behest of Trisong Detsen, and shortly thereafter leaving Tibet due to court intrigues. A number of legends have grown around Padmasambhava's life and deeds, and he is widely venerated as a 'second Buddha' across Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Himalayan states of India. In Tibetan Buddhism, he is a character of a genera of literature called terma, an emanation of Amitābha that is said to appear to tertöns in visionary encounters and a focus of guru yoga practice, particularly in the Rimé schools. The Nyingma school considers Padmasambhava to be a founder of their tradition.
According to tradition, Padmasambhava was incarnated as an eight-year-old child appearing in a lotus blossom floating in Lake Dhanakosha, in the kingdom of Oḍḍiyāna in Ancient India and in modern times identified with the Swat Valley of South Asia present-day Pakistan. His special nature was recognized by the childless local king of Oḍḍiyāna and was chosen to take over the kingdom, but he left Oḍḍiyāna for northern parts of India.
In Rewalsar, known as Tso Pema in Tibetan, he secretly taught tantric teachings to princess Mandarava, the local king's daughter. The king found out and tried to burn him, but it is believed that when the smoke cleared he just sat there, still alive and in meditation. Greatly astonished by this miracle, the king offered Padmasambhava both his kingdom and Mandarava.
Padmasambhava left with Mandarava, and took to Maratika Cave in Nepal to practice secret tantric consort rituals. They had a vision of buddha Amitāyus and achieved what is called the "phowa rainbow body," a very rare type of spiritual realization. Both Padmasambhava and one of his consorts, Mandarava, are still believed to be alive and active in this rainbow body form by their followers. She and Padmasambhava's other main consort, Yeshe Tsogyal, who reputedly hid his numerous termas in Tibet for later discovery, reached Buddhahood. Many thangkas and paintings show Padmasambhava in between them.
According to Sam van Schaik, from the 12th century on a greater role was assigned to Padmasambhava in the introduction of tantric Buddhism into Tibet. King Trisong Detsen, the 38th king of the Yarlung dynasty and the first Emperor of Tibet (742–797), invited the Nalanda University abbot Śāntarakṣita (Tibetan Shiwatso) to Tibet. Śāntarakṣita started the building of Samye. Demonical forces hindered the introduction of the Buddhist dharma, and Padmasambhava was invited to Tibet to subdue the demonic forces. The demons were not annihilated, but were obliged to submit to the dharma. This was in accordance with the tantric principle of not eliminating negative forces but redirecting them to fuel the journey toward spiritual awakening. According to tradition, Padmasambhava received the Emperor's wife, identified with the dakini Yeshe Tsogyal, as a consort.
King Trisong Detsen ordered the translation of all Buddhist Dharma Texts into Tibetan. Padmasambhava, Shantarakṣita, 108 translators, and 25 of Padmasambhava's nearest disciples worked for many years in a gigantic translation-project. The translations from this period formed the base for the large scriptural transmission of Dharma teachings into Tibet. Padmasambhava supervised mainly the translation of Tantra; Shantarakshita concentrated on the Sutra-teachings.
Padmasambhava introduced the people of Tibet to the practice of Tantric Buddhism. He is regarded as the founder of the Nyingma tradition. The Nyingma tradition is the oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The Nyingma tradition actually comprises several distinct lineages that all trace their origins to Padmasambhava.
In Bhutan he is associated with the famous Paro Taktsang or "Tiger's Nest" monastery built on a sheer cliff wall about 500m above the floor of Paro valley. It was built around the Taktsang Senge Samdup (stag tshang seng ge bsam grub) cave where he is said to have meditated in the 8th Century. He flew there from Tibet on the back of Yeshe Tsogyal, whom he transformed into a flying tigress for the purpose of the trip. Later he travelled to Bumthang district to subdue a powerful deity offended by a local king. Padmasambhava's body imprint can be found in the wall of a cave at nearby Kurje Lhakhang temple.
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