pastel and ink on paper
39 x 33 inches (frame)
Padmasambhava, who is said to have lived during the 8th century AD, is considered to be the most important disseminator of Buddhism in Tibet, most famously clearing Tibet of demons in order to receive the Vajrayana teachings. He is called Guru Rinpoche by his devotees, and Rinpoche has become a term of respect used generally for Buddhist teachers. Like all Tibetan deities, Padmasambhava has many forms, some peaceful and some wrathful. There are many miraculous stories about his life. His name Padmasambhava means lotus (padma) born (sambhava), meaning that he was miraculously born appearing on a lotus.
This is his primary form, depicted as a sixteen-year-old, wearing a distinctive red hat, and having a moustache. His right hand brandishes a five-pointed vajra in the subduing mudra. His left hand holds a skull cup containing an elixir, a vase, and a long-life plant. He is wearing three robes, the white secret gown, a dharma robe, and a very fine great gown, showing that he embodies all the possibilities of yogi, monk, and king and has power in all domains. He holds a khatanga staff in the crook of his elbow. His skin is pink, to represent the union of the white and red essences that flow up the channels to either side of the main kundalini channel, symbolizing the union of wisdom and compassion.
His mantra is OM AH HUM VAJRA GURU PADMA SIDDHI HUM. This image is taken from a 19th century Tibetan painting (thanka).