“My father is wisdom and my mother is voidness. My country is the country of Dharma. I am of no caste and no creed. I am sustained by perplexity. And I am here to destroy lust, anger, and sloth.” (Guru Rinpoche Treasure Teaching)
He has many names but two above all. Padmasambhava, which means “Lotus Born”, describes his immaculate birth as an 8 year-old boy on a lotus. Guru Rinpoche, which means “Precious Teacher”, describes the Himalayan people’s unbroken devotion and affection for their Guru.
Guru Rinpoche straddles a blurred boundary between myth and history. He is said to have traveled to Tibet in the 8th Century, introducing Tantric Buddhism to the Himalayan Kingdom. For the next five years, or perhaps fifty, he traversed the kingdom; meditating in power sites, instructing his disciples, and working with his tantric consort, Yeshe Tsogyal, to bury terma (spiritual treasures) all across the landscape.
Guru Rinpoche is an enigma. He is considered ‘the second Buddha,’ and he is a renowned lover of numerous princesses. He is endlessly compassionate and unflinchingly fierce. He slew and tamed the demons of the Himalaya and he left behind ‘spiritual treasures’ in the landscape, temples, and minds of his disciples. He lived more than 1200 years ago and he continues to live today, keeping the demons at bay in the ‘land of the rakshas’.
His story opens not unlike the lotus of his birth, layer upon layer upon layer. His story is the inspiration for Triptych Journey and the Padmasambhava Project.
On the last day of the Padmasambhava Project, our film team met a Tibetan nun who was finishing a twenty year retreat in Rewalsar, India. Although she didn’t wish to be filmed or photographed, she shared the following-
“Guru Rinpoche is very difficult to grasp. He has been very beneficial to me. I go to him when I need help. It’s like going down to the middle of the ocean. When I go very deep and feel insecure, he is insecure. He is there with me. He is me and I am him.”