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Indian Guru Padmasambhava Founded Buddhism in Tibet

Indian Guru Padmasambhava Founded Buddhism in Tibet

Tibetan history credits Guru Padmasambhava as one of the founding fathers of Buddhism in Tibet along with Acharya Shantarakshita from India. He was one of the famous seventeen exceptional pandit scholars at Nalanda Monastic University in India.

Guru Padmasambhava, a great Indian tantric master of the 8th century is an important figure in Buddhism. He was instrumental in establishing Vajrayana Buddhism in Tibet and Bhutan and is popularly known as Guru Rinpoche means the Precious Master among his followers.

Tibetan tradition records that when then king of Tibet Trisong Detsan was building a monastery, strong demonic forces caused disruption in the building of the monastery, therefore, the King to tame the forces invited the great Indian adepts Shantarakshita and Padmasambhava to Tibet.

Later, King Trisong Detsan, Shantarakshita and Padmasambhava together built the first Buddhist monastery known as Samye Ling in Tibet where the first monk ordination ceremony was held for seven Tibetans.

Besides, a school for Sanskrit study was also established and many Buddhist Sanskrit texts were translated into the Tibetan language. The arrival and teachings of Padmasambhava in Tibet mark the beginning of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. The name Nyingma literally means the old one, in the sense of being the earliest Tibetan tradition.

There are both mythical and legendary stories regarding the birth of Guru Padmasambhava. The first one states that Guru Padmasambhava was miraculously born as an eight-year-old boy from a blossoming Lotus flower in the Danakosha Lake, in the land of Uddiyana. His Tibetan, name is Padma Jungney, translated from the Sanskrit name Padmakara, which means “originated from a lotus.” Thus, he is indeed named after his manner of birth.

The actual location of Uddiyana is debated; some scholars locate this land to be the state of Odisha in India while others believe it to be in the Swat valley area of erstwhile undivided India and modern-day Pakistan.

Today, the figure and worship of Guru Padmasambhava dominate Bhutanese Buddhism and most sacred sites including the two most holy places in Bumthang and Paro are dedicated to him.During his lifespan, Guru Padmasambhava travelled across Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and the different Himalayan regions of India where he founded the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

Today, the imprints of Guru Padmasambhava in these countries are existing in the form of monuments, relics and folklore associated with his spiritual and religious activities. Among his followers, he is considered an enlightened force who exists beyond spatial and temporal constructions, beyond birth and death.The annual Hemis Festival in Ladakh commemorates the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. Similarly, in Bhutan, the annual Tseshu festival is celebrated on the tenth day of the month in the Bhutanese lunar calendar to honor him. (IANS)

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