Saturday, March 3, 2012 5:59
The Legend of Padmasambhava
It is said that Padmasambhava was born at eight years old, perched on a lotus in the middle of a lake, somewhere deep in Swat Valley (current day Pakistan). That he was raised by a childless king, who carried regal aspirations for his miraculous son. That he killed the son of the King’s minister, sending a spear through his heart., and thus freeing himself from the chains of his father’s ambitions. That he spent his exile meditating in the “charnal grounds” of the kingdom, residence of the dead and undead, moving from realization to realization.
It is said that Padmasambhava and his consort, the King’s daughter Mandarava, withstood a mob’s vengeful fire, emerging from the smoke unscathed and in meditative equipoise. That he traveled with Mandarava to the Maratika Cave in Nepal, where through unbroken Tantric practice, they gained immortal bodies.
It is said that he was invited to Tibet by the young Emperor Trisong Detson, who longed to introduce the Dharma to his rapidly expanding mountainous empire. That he traveled to Tibet, taming and binding the land’s malevolent spirits as he progressed, sewing their allegiance to Buddhism. That he purified the site for Tibet’s first monastery, Samye Gompa, by dancing and moving across the site with meditative poise. That he lived for more than fifty years in Tibet, traveling and meditating across every inch of the land, not leaving the “space of a horse’s hoof untouched’ by his presence.
It is said that Padmasambhava flew on the back of one of his consorts, Yeshe Tsogyal, turning her into a flying tigress as they traveled together to Bhutan. That for three months, the two meditated at the Tiger’s Nest Cave (current site of Taktsang Palphug Monastery), where the Guru emerged in eight incarnated forms
It is said that Padmasambhava and his consorts buried spiritual treasures (termas) all across the Himalaya, ‘perfect medicine’ that is waiting to be discovered at the right time in the right place. That the treasures are discovered by ‘tertons,’ treasure discoverers who unearth the teachings or sacred objects. That the tertons are reincarnated disciples of the guru, born again and again across time, who plumb the depths of the land and their minds in search of new treasures to share with the Himalayan people. That the treasures renovate Padmasambhava’s promise to watch over the region and ‘bless them with his grace’.
It is said that Padmasambhava is the second Buddha and that he continues to live in a blessed land, sending his compassion to all humans.
This is the legendary landscape of Padmasambhava. Remote caves with foot and body prints lodged in stone. Spiritual treasures both discovered and lying in waiting. Mandalas that stretch from mountains to valleys, across streams and lakes; sacred spaces propitious for non-dual perception. Monasteries and meditation sites, dwelling ground of dakinis (‘sky dancers’) whose magical powers penetrate and transform the meditators mind.
This is the context and landscape of the Padmasambhava project.