After the death of Sron Tsan Gampo, one of the most famous kings of Tibet, around 650 AD, Buddhism suffered greatly in Tibet and made little headway against the prevailing Shamanist superstitions. Then about century later, his powerful descendent Thi-Sron Detson succeeded to the throne. A few years later the young king sent his messengers to India to look for celebrated Buddhist priest who can establish an order in Tibet. The king was advised by his family priest, the Indian Santarakshita, to secure, if possible, the services of his brother-in-law, Guru Padmasambhava who was then a resident of the Nalanda University in India and an outstanding member of the then popular Tantrik Yogacharya School.

 

Later the Tantric Master founded Lamaism based on Buddhism. Under the zealous patronage of king Thi-Sron-Detsan he built at Samye in 747 A.D., the first Tibetan monastery.The school that is traditionally considered the oldest is the Nyingmapa which can be directly traced to Guru Padmasambhava and to texts from the time of the first diffusion of Buddhism in Tibet.The Nyingmapa only formed a real order in 11th and 12th centuries as reaction to, and buffer against, the promoters of the second wave of Buddhism and a large part of their holy texts is made up of those believed to have been hidden by Guru Padmasambhava, Guru Padmasambhava promptly responded to the invitation of the Tibetan King and accomapanied the messengers back to Tibet in 747 A.D.

 

The great Tibetologist and author Austine Waddell writes in his accounts that “The Tibetans, steeped in superstition which beset them on every side by malignant devils, warmly welcomed the Guru as he brought them deliverance from their terrible tormentors.” Arriving in Tibet in 747 A.D Guru Padmasambhava subjugated and tamed all local spirits opposed to Buddhism with the power of his magic. On the left hand, which rests in the gesture of equanimity, he holds a skull-cup in the centre of which is a vase of longevity filled with nectar of deathless wisdom. Cradled in his left arm he holds the three-pointed khatvanga (trident) symbolizing the Princess consort (Mandarava). Its three points represent the essence, nature and compassionate energy (ngowo, rangshyin and tukjé). Below these three prongs are three severed heads, dry, fresh and rotten, symbolizing the three kayas. The three kaya being dharmakaya or Truth body which embodies the very principle of enlighten and knows no limits or boundaries. The second kaya is Sambhogakaya or body of mutual enjoyment which is a body of bliss or clear light manifestation. The third kaya is Nirmanakaya or created body which manifests in time and space. The Nine iron rings adorning the prongs represent the nine yanas. The khatvanga is also adorned with locks of hair from dead and living mamos and dakinis, as a sign that the Master subjugated them all when he practiced austerities in the Eight Great Charnel Grounds. The guru wears a lotus hat and adorns a silk cloak, Dharma robes and gown. He is seated with his two feet in a royal posture.