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The Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava

The Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava

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Published by Siegfried Schwaiger

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Published by: Siegfried Schwaiger on Jun 07, 2012
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03/23/2014

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The Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava
This is a special offering for everyone: a magnificent and in some ways cross-culturally seminal discourse onthe
Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava
 , given by the late Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche, in May 1992, at Padma Gochen Ling, in Monterey, Tennessee. This nearly eight hour discourse was translatedby his brother, Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche. As stated in the colophon of this work, the tapes werethen transcribed by members of the Turtle Hill Sangha and edited by Padma Shugchang.We now reproduce the work in its entirety, with the kind permission of 
Turtle Hill Sangha
 , and the very bestwishes of 
Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar 
.This presentation is in keeping with our wish to make certain fundamental teachings available to everyoneduring the coming year. As Padmasambhava's followers, we can -- and will -- accomplish great things, whenwe learn to set aside any transient differences we may experience, and unselfishly work together for the benefitof all sentient beings. Rich appreciation of our shared tradition's fundamentals makes that possible. May yourefforts in this regard bring you comfort and joy.
 
 
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 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 Padmasambhava
 
An Introduction 
The year of the monkey is known as the year of Guru Padmasambhava. It is avery special time during which to discuss his teachings. According to thelunar calendar, today is the twenty-ninth day of the month, tomorrow is thenew moon, and the day after tomorrow is the first day of the third month ofthe Tibetan calendar. All these aspects are very auspicious. I take this as a signthat you all have a special connection with Guru Padmasambhava, so I feelvery happy to be here.Those of you who are practicing on Guru Padmasambhava throughvisualization, chanting the Seven Line Prayer and reciting the Vajra GuruMantra already know something about who Guru Padmasambhava is. But forthose who aren't familiar with him or the benefits of practicing on GuruPadmasambhava, I will give a brief introduction so that you will be in a betterposition to receive teachings about his various emanations.In the Tibetan language, Guru Padmasambhava is generally referred to asGuru Rinpoche, which means "precious master." Guru Rinpoche is a totallyenlightened being, a fully awakened one, a buddha. He did not becomeenlightened gradually or start practicing the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuniand eventually gain enlightenment.Guru Rinpoche incarnated as a fully enlightened being. Through his form,primordial wisdom manifested in the world to benefit all sentient beings.Buddha Shakyamuni actually predicted Guru Padmasambhava's appearance.Nineteen different sutras and tantras contain clear predictions of his comingand activities.In the
 Mahaparinirvana Sutra
 , Buddha Shakyamuni announced his parinirvanato the students who were with him at the time. Many of them, particularlyAnanda, the Buddha's cousin and personal attendant, were quite upset uponhearing this.
 
 
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So Buddha turned to Ananda and told him not to worry: "Eight years after myparinirvana, a remarkable being with the name Padmasambhava will appearin the center of a lotus and reveal the highest teaching concerning the ultimatestate of the true nature, bringing great benefit to all sentient beings." BuddhaShakyamuni said that Padmasambhava would be even more enlightened thanhimself. Of course, Buddha Shakyamuni was fully enlightened and there is nohigher realization, but by the Buddha's manner of expression, we can begin tounderstand the importance of Guru Padmasambhava. Some accounts holdthat Guru Rinpoche is a direct reincarnation of Buddha Shakyamuni. BuddhaShakyamuni also said Padmasambhava would be an emanation of BuddhaAmitabha and Avalokitésvara and referred to him as the embodiment of allthe buddhas of the three times. Many prophecies indicate that Guru Rinpochewould be a fully enlightened buddha, appearing in this world to help sentient beings.For the most part, Buddha Shakyamuni presented Hinayana and SutraMahayana teachings, while Guru Padmasambhava taught the Vajrayana. Bothrevealed the complete and perfect path to awakening so that individuals of allcapacities would be able to benefit. The absolute level of the Buddha'steaching is beyond conception. If it did not go beyond the conceptual level,there would be no need to change our normal way of understanding things.To help us realize the primordial nature, Buddha Shakyamuni taught againand again that we must transcend clinging to ordinary dualistic conceptions,narrow attitudes, close mindedness, traditional rules, beliefs and limitations.The ultimate meaning of the highest teaching is not readily understood bysentient beings. This is why Buddha Shakyamuni kept silent for forty-ninedays after his enlightenment. He thought, "I have realized the most profoundand subtle dharma, the clear light free of all complexity. However, this ismuch too deep for normal people to understand. Therefore, I will remainsilent." He knew how hard it would be to communicate the truth of his insight.Although he eventually taught tirelessly for forty-five years, his first thoughtreflects the extraordinary nature of the state into which he had awakenedrelative to mundane ideas and conceptions.
Sutra
is a Sanskrit word meaning "condensed or summarized." Scripture bearing this title indicates that these teachings were directly communicated inthe world in order to provide a clear understanding of both the relative andabsolute aspects of our existence.

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