The Eight Manifestations of Padma Sambhava

 Prints of The Eight Manifestations of Padma Sambhava, and close-ups of some of the smaller figures or central figure, may be purchased in multiple sizes at my Etsy shop at

Guru Rimpoche   Founder of the Nyingmapa School of Tibetan Buddhism   The Lotus Born One

Original: gouache and 22 carat gold on linen     Approx. 36”x45”       2009

All through Padmasambhava’s life he was a controversial figure. On at least two occasions his flouting of convention caused such outrage that people attempted to burn him at the stake – but he emerged unscathed each time. He is the archetype of the embodiment in one person all the accumulated knowledge, wisdom, love and power of the Buddhist tradition.

He was instrumental in establishing Buddhism in Tibet in the eighth century.

Here he is represented in the various energetic states he can take on as teacher, transforming his approach to each situation so as to teach in whatever way is needed for different students and times:

The first form is the central figure, wearing the three robes of the monk, the King of Zahor. Below this he is represented as Guru Shakya Senge, wearing the three yellow monastic robes. This manifestation, and the previous one, embodies the whole Buddhist tradition based on the Sutras. Next he usually appears as Urgyen Dorjr Chang, deep blue, in yab-yum embrace, but here he is represented as Chakrasamvara in yab yum. This piece was a commission for a student of Swami Chetanananda, and he advised that this manifestation was a more accurate portrayal of that aspect of Padmasambhava. Next (above left) he is Pema Gyalpo, the Lotus King, here portrayed as a cremation ground dweller although still wearing the crown of a king. Opposite him is another manifestation of a king, wearing royal robes, Loden Choksey, wise seeker of excellence. He next manifests as the bottom monk Nyima Odzer, (sunrays guru), wearing a tiger skin and practicing in cremation grounds. He gets his name from this story: He had made an agreement with a wine-seller to drink as much as he wanted, and settle the bill at sunset. After 7 days the sun still had not set…. Directly below the central figure are two wilder, wrathful manifestations, Guru Senge Dradok (one who teaches with a lion’s voice), trampling on any forces inimical to the Dharma. To his left is Dorje Drolo, riding through the jungle of life on a tigress. Here he is the subduer of demons.

He is flanked by his two consorts, Machig Labdrom and Mandarava

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