Padma Sambhava

From TSL Encyclopedia
Other languages:
Mural of Padma Sambhava, Trongsa dzong, Bhutan

Padma Sambhava is revered throughout the Himalayan countries as the “Precious Guru.” He is the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, and his followers venerate him as the “second Buddha.”

The main building at Samye Monastery, Tibet

Padma Sambhava’s life

Padma Sambhava’s name means “Lotus-Born One.” Although much of his life and work is obscured in legend, he is said to have been the foremost scholar at the famous monastic university in Nalanda, India, in the eighth century A.D. He was renowned for his mystical powers and mastery of the occult sciences—especially for his knowledge and application of dharani (“mystical sentences”). He also had a great command of worldly knowledge, from languages and fine arts to the earth sciences and architecture.

In about 750 A.D., the Tibetan king Trisong Detsen invited Padma Sambhava to come to Tibet. There he helped establish Buddhism by overcoming the forces of the entrenched Bon religion. He exorcised the demons that were preventing the building of the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet, the great monastery of Samye, located outside of Lhasa. Padma Sambhava then oversaw the completion of this monumental monastery with its elaborate complex of temples designed in the form of a mandala. At Samye he also founded the first community of Tibetan Buddhist monks.

Padma Sambhava brought an age of great enlightenment to Tibet. Under his direction, an assembly of scholars translated Buddhist scriptures and texts into the Tibetan language, enabling Buddhism to spread throughout the country. In addition, he traveled throughout Tibet, converting many to the path of the Buddha and revealing the mantra teachings of the Vajrayana. Vajrayana is the Diamond Vehicle, or Path, a school of Buddhism prevalent in Tibet. One of its central practices is the empowerment of a disciple by his guru through certain practices and rituals, including reciting mantras.

Before Padma Sambhava left Tibet, he instructed the king and people for twenty-one days in the outer and inner teachings. He also taught them principles of law, farming and enlightened government, and he exhorted them to pursue the path of Buddhahood.

Legend says that, with this accomplished, he mounted a magnificent winged horse, and surrounded by rainbow light, rose upward into the heavens. According to tradition, he now resides in his paradise, his Pure Land, on the Copper-Colored Mountain.

The tertöns

Main article: Tertön

While he was living, Padma Sambhava initiated an inner circle of twenty-five disciples who became adepts and transmitters of the teachings. Because the Tibetan people were not yet ready to receive the essence of Padma Sambhava’s highest teachings, the master and his disciples preserved them in an abbreviated, codified form that could be deciphered only by those who had been properly prepared. These scriptures are called termas, meaning literally “treasures.” Padma Sambhava and his disciples concealed the termas where they would be safe until it was time for them to be revealed. He predicted that his twenty-five disciples would reembody as tertöns (literally “revealers of treasure”) to discover and interpret these esoteric teachings.

According to other traditions, the most prominent tertöns are incarnations of Padma Sambhava himself. Tibetan Buddhists believe that starting in the eleventh century and continuing, tertöns began to recover and expound upon these termas. Some of the termas that were discovered contain prophecies made by Padma Sambhava concerning the future of Tibet—prophecies we have seen come to pass in our own lifetime. These include prophecies of the Chinese Communist invasion of Tibet; the destruction of monasteries; the desecration of sacred scriptures, statues and paintings; the degradation of monks; the slaying of the Tibetan people and the raping of nuns.

The mantle of guru

Padma Sambhava bestowed upon the messenger Elizabeth Clare Prophet the mantle of guru and gave her the name “Guru Ma.” “Guru Ma” means the teacher who is a devotee of the Divine Mother.[1] Wearing the mantle of guru, the messenger is the servant of the light of God within you. The guru helps you find your way back home to God.

There is no greater love than the love that is shared between a guru and his chela. They give their life to each other in a sacred bond. For thousands of years, the great spiritual teachers of mankind have passed their mantle and their teaching to deserving disciples. Around each successive teacher would gather students who were dedicated to studying that teaching and becoming the living example of that teaching.

With the transfer of the mantle from master to disciple comes the transfer of responsibility. The disciple pledges to carry on the mission of his master. In order for the work of the Great White Brotherhood to continue on earth, someone in embodiment must wear the mantle of guru. Today there are very few true gurus in embodiment who are sponsored by the Great White Brotherhood. Padma Sambhava is a part of a special lineage of gurus of the Great White Brotherhood called the hierarchy of the ruby ray. The chain of hierarchy in this lineage is from Sanat Kumara (the Ancient of Days) to Gautama Buddha, Lord Maitreya, Jesus Christ and Padma Sambhava.

Ivory statue of Padma Sambhava (Central Tibet, 17th century)

His mantra

Main article: Golden Mantra

For centuries, devotees of Padma Sambhava have received blessings by invoking his mantra, Om Ah Hum Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum. It means: “Padma Sambhava, who arose from a lotus, please grant me the ordinary and supreme accomplishments, HUM!” (A “Vajra Guru” is a being who has fully mastered the path of Vajrayana.)

Padma Sambhava instructed his disciple Yeshe Tsogyal that his mantra should be used to avert the evils of a coming period of great darkness. His devotees have invoked this mantra to create peace and harmony and to antidote the confusion and turmoil of this Dark Age. It is a mantra for the era in which we live, a time of the planetary return of karma.

Lord Maitreya has urged us to let Padma Sambhava’s mantra ring in our soul and our heart:

Give the mantra of Padma Sambhava thirty-three times and celebrate your soul’s ascent each day to the secret chamber of your heart, to the altar of being. Life is empty when you do not do this. When you do not do it, you do not even know just how empty your life is. And you do not know how full it can be when and if you enter into the practice of keeping your appointment with Maitreya, with Gautama Buddha, with the bodhisattvas. Give it thirty-three times, beloved ones.[2]

His teachings today

The ascended master Padma Sambhava has told us that he was sent by Gautama Buddha to be the incarnation of the Buddha so that all beings might have hope of becoming that Buddha. He said that following in his footsteps, we could be “the open door to souls becoming the Buddha within.” He also warned that those who choose to walk the path of the Buddha will face challenges.

He gave this key to retaining the Buddhic light:

Keep on loving in the face of the most intense anger, hatred, pride, passion, ambition, fear, death and darkness projected against the alignment of your being with the Buddhas of the light.... Remember not to identify with the counterfeit stream of the darkened ones. Their stream is this anger and all of these perversions that I have named.... These are the energies that you will tame in my name. These are the energies that will pass through your chakras without resistance from yourself. And in passing through, they will become, by the alchemy of transmutation, the great River of Life that you can claim as your own.[3]

On April 2, 1994, Padma Sambhava called us to go back to basics and to examine our reason for being:

Remember why you are here, why you were born, and the mercies that God has extended to you. Opportunity, beloved, may knock and knock every day of your life. But when you are out of embodiment, you will sense the marking of time and even the transpiring of long aeons, some on the astral plane and some on the etheric plane, before you shall be able to return again for such opportunity as you have today.

Padma Sambhava said that he desired to tutor us for two reasons: so that we could reunite with God at the end of our lives in the ritual of the ascension, and so that we might “bear light and freely give light” to rescue other souls. “All of you are capable of this. The question is: Do you have the will? Is this your highest choice? Is this the definition of purpose in your life?”

Padma Sambhava said one of the biggest obstacles to developing our soul potential is learning to make peace with God and with other people. If you find this difficult, he said:

Consider that you may have a malady of the soul and that this malady can become a cancer of the soul, eating away at the very essence of your soul-identity. Recognize when the soul is sick and consult the doctor Lord Gautama Buddha and other Buddhas....

Please recognize the illness of the soul. It is the most dangerous illness of all. It is when you begin to have a warped view of life and of others and you imagine they have opinions of you that they do not and you begin to torment yourself with bitterness toward life, toward God. Oh yes, beloved, all of these emotional and mental attitudes are the beginning of the decay of the body itself.

In order to develop our soul potential, he said we must

... go beyond rancor.... What vast opportunity is cast aside when anger is not conquered, when resentment is not transmuted into forgiveness and love and gratitude for mercies given....

The antidotes begin in the etheric body, the mental body. The antidotes are the good humor, the good happiness, the good compassion, the good love, the good fairness and forgiveness. All of these things are the antidotes that would take away the sins of the whole world and the cancers lying deep in the psyche and then deep in the organs.

Padma Sambhava summarized all of these antidotes in two words: giving and serving. He said:

Give new life to your body and your soul by freely giving what you have.... Your aura will thus mount and increase and intensify and spread and widen and become as powerful as the seven seas.

Again, he urged, go back to basics:

Determine what is important to you from this day forward. I will tell you what my definition is of what is supremely important. It is that you satisfy the law of love, the law of wisdom, the law of the will of God. It is that you become a rock of refuge in the earth, caring not for the things of the self or the accumulation of the things of the self, but to perform your duties as best as possible, making use of the best of modern technologies and all that you require to have your victory. Serve, beloved, for service is your liberation.

The violet flame

On October 10, 1994, Padma Sambhava called us to be “interpreters of the new teaching of Saint Germain and how it relates to the ancient teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism.” Now is the hour when many souls can break the chain of karma and rebirth and reunite with God at the end of their lives in the ritual of the ascension.

“But they need a spin,” he said. “And the spin they need is the violet spinning flame. I enjoin you, then, to unveil this sacred treasure. Reveal it, beloved, to all who will listen and learn to give the violet-flame mantras. Let them know that the most sacred treasure of all is the violet-flame crystal, the violet-flame mantra, the violet flame blazing in their hearts, transmuting records of karma and cleansing all life in answer to their calls.”

Padma Sambhava and Jesus

The ascended master El Morya tells us that Padma Sambhava is a great devotee of Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha. Seeking oneness with Jesus is important for all spiritual seekers, and we can pursue that oneness through Padma Sambhava. Padma Sambhava has spoken of his role as the one who can prepare us to be initiated under Jesus Christ. He said:

I give you the initiations of your Christhood. Do you think it odd that an Eastern Guru should teach you, a Western chela, the path of Jesus Christ? I, for one, do not. For you see, through your training and initiations under me, I bring you along on the path of chelaship to the place where it would be unthinkable for you, under any circumstances, to be an offense to your Lord....

Jesus said to his disciples: “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”[4] Many continue to cry, “Lord, Lord,” professing to love him, to know him and to be a Christian, but their actions belie their words....

There is more to the discipline of being a Christian than crying, “Lord, Lord.” You must be able to continually keep the flame of your emergent Christhood and to live according to God’s will.... Call to me so that you might be made whole at all levels of your being so that in that wholeness you might sit at your Lord’s feet and neither offend him nor be offended by him.[5]

See also

Yeshe Tsogyal


Golden Mantra


Mark L. Prophet and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, The Masters and Their Retreats, s.v. “Padma Sambhava.”

  1. A mantle is a symbol of authority, preeminence or responsibility, a spiritual office. With its bestowal, there is passed from guru to disciple a great sphere of light. A guru is a spiritual teacher who not only teaches about the spiritual path, but he or she also sets the example of how one must walk that path.
  2. Lord Maitreya, “To Restore the Christhood of America!” Pearls of Wisdom, vol. 35, no. 42, October 11, 1992.
  3. Padma Sambhava, “Initiation—The Transfer of the Fivefold Secret-Ray Action of the Buddhas to All Who Will to Be Both Hearers and Doers of the Word,” December 5, 1977.
  4. Luke 6:46.
  5. Padma Sambhava, “God Is Just: All Will Receive Their Just Reward,” Pearls of Wisdom, vol. 38, no. 36, August 20, 1995.