Padmasambhava is widely regarded as a manifestation of the Buddha Amitabha and is also known as Guru Rinpoche. He was an influential tantric Buddhist master who was born in India and was instrumental in introducing Vajrayana Buddhism to Tibet during the 8th century. Furthermore, Padmasambhava is credited with establishing the Nyingma school, the oldest of the four major Tibetan Buddhist traditions.
Legend has it that Padmasambhava taught Tantra to Princess Mandarava of the Rewalsar kingdom in secret. When the king discovered this, he attempted to burn Padmasambhava alive, yet he simply sat in meditation and was unharmed. This miraculous event prompted the king to offer both the princess and his kingdom to Padmasambhava, who then left with Mandarava to Nepal to practice Tantric rituals.
During their time there, they had a vision of Buddha Amitayus and achieved a spiritual manifestation known as the “rainbow body”. Both Mandarava and Padmasambhava’s other main consort, Yeshe Tsogyal, eventually attained Buddhahood. Guru Rinpoche is often depicted between Mandarava on his right and Yeshe Tsogyal on his left.
In this thangka painting, Guru Rinpoche is depicted in a classic pose, with his right hand clutching a vajra and his left hand holding a skull-cup containing a vase filled with the elixir of longevity and wisdom.
The Mantra of Padmasambhava is Om Ah Hung Vajra Guru Pema Siddhi Hum.