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Meditation & Teaching Understanding Tibetan Buddhist Meditation: Visualization, Mantra, & Insight
February 17 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm$20
Yeshe Tsogyal Temple
419 E Iris Drive
Nashville, TN 37204
Guru Padmasambhava [Skt.; Tib. o rgyan pad ma ’byung gnas]. Literally, “Lotus Born,” Padmasambhava is known by many names, including Padma Jungne, Padmakara, Tsokye Dorje, and Guru Rinpoche (“Precious Guru”). There are many versions of the life story of this remarkable nirmanakaya buddha, so what follows is just a brief account of some traditional details from these histories. An emanation of Buddha Amitabha and Avalokiteshvara, Guru Padmasambhava was born miraculously on a lotus in Dhanakosha Lake (also known as Sindhu Lake) in the land of Oddiyana, northwest of India, four years after the mahaparinirvāna of Buddha Shākyamuni. As the Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches explain in Illuminating the Path:
The “Lotus-Born” refers to the great teacher, Guru Padmasambhava, in whom the highest spiritual reality was manifest, and in whom others saw, and continue to see, the mirror of their own potential. It is said that Padmasambhava had no father or mother but was self-generated; he simply appeared on this earth as an eight-year-old boy sitting on a lotus. Symbolically, Padmasambhava’s birth represents the birth of all experiences, which are ultimately beyond reason and cause—they have no mother or father. Experiences occur by themselves. The message of the Lotus-Born is to move beyond inquiry and analysis, and dwell in the freedom and spontaneity of the here and now…. Lineage sons and daughters are those who dwell and participate in this understanding.
Guru Rinpoche is the embodiment of all the buddhas of the three times and ten directions, and was predicted by Buddha Shakyamuni as the great being who would serve as his regent. He is often referred to as the “Second Buddha,” who attained the transcendental wisdom rainbow body—an ever-youthful immortal body—the highest vidyadhara level.
In the eighth century, Shantarakshita encouraged King Trisong Deutsen to invite Padmasambhava to Tibet in order to subdue the various negative forces that were thwarting the establishment of Buddhadharma there, especially the building of Samye Monastery. Arriving in Tibet, Guru Rinpoche subdued the worldly deities and demonic spirits that were systematically undermining the spread of the Dharma, and through his love, wisdom, and compassion, he enlisted these beings as “Dharma protectors” who swore solemn oaths to uphold and protect the teachings, teachers, and practitioners. Out of compassion for future generations and knowing that the oral transmission (kama) of the Buddha’s teachings would either become lost or diluted due to broken samayas, mistaken views, and the degenerate age in general, Padmakara and his principal Tibetan disciple Yeshe Tsogyal (along with Vimalamitra and others) hid innumerable Dharma treasures of texts, relics, teachings, and so forth—known as terma—throughout Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan to be discovered by destined disciples (tertöns) in the centuries to come.
This “short” or “close” lineage of terma has continued up to the present day, ensuring that the strength and vitality of the teachings of the Old Translation school is reinvigorated and ignited at the appropriate times. After Guru Padmasambhava arrived in Tibet and established Samye Monastery, he worked with Shantarakshita, Vimalamitra, and their students to translate the sutras, tantras, and shastras into the Tibetan language. Khenchen Shantarakshita emphasized the Sutrayana, whereas Guru Rinpoche and Panchen Vimalamitra emphasized the Resultant Vehicle of the Vajrayana in general and the pinnacle of all teachings, the unsurpassed Clear Light Great Perfection (Dzogchen), in particular. At King Trisong Deutsen’s request, the gracious Padmakara turned the wheel of the Vajrayāna in the caves of Samye Chimpu to his twenty-five renowned disciples. And, along with his principal disciple, Yeshe Tsogyal, he blessed and consecrated every inch of Tibet and the Himalayan region—in fact, many say he blessed the entire world. While accounts vary, several histories state that Guru Rinpoche stayed in Tibet for fifty-five years and six months. He then gave his final teachings to several of his closest students and departed for the southwestern continent of Ngayab to subdue the rakshasas who lived there. It is said that Guru Padmasambhava now dwells in the pureland of Glorious Copper-Colored Mountain [zangs mdog dpal ri] but continues to emanate in countless forms for the benefit of all beings. The legacy of Guru Rinpoche continues in an unbroken lineage to this very day, and he continues to be an unending source of inspiration, guidance, and blessings for all Vajrayana practitioners.
Lama Pema Dragpa has been a resident Dharma teacher at Padma Samye Ling, NY since 2004. PSL is the main monastery & retreat center of the Padmasambhava Buddhist Center founded by the Nyingma Dzogchen masters Ven. Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche & Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche. Ordained as a lama by Rinpoches, Dragpa graduated with honors in philosophy & religious studies from NYU in 2002, is a senior editor of over 25 books on Buddhist philosophy & meditation, and is a certified Hospice volunteer. He has taught at Colgate University, Scranton University, & Binghamton Community College, and regularly travels to lead PBC events on traditional & contemporary Buddhist philosophy and meditation.
Full Weekend: $60. Daily Donations: Thurs. ($20), Fri. (free), Sat. ($20), Sun. ($20), Tues. (free) •
Student and Senior Discount: Full Weekend $40 or $15 per day • Online and On Site Registration