Gods and Sacred Mountains | Guru Rinpoche | The Life of Guru Rinpoche | The Magical Birth of Guru Rinpoche
The Magical Birth Zoom


Guru Rinpoche's Sanskrit name is »Padmasambhava«. He was born in India in the early eighth century and grew up as the adoptive son of King Indrabhuti, who ruled the Kingdom of Kanci in Uddiyana*, in the region that today is Kashmir.

Very little is known about the historical persona of the Guru and his life in India. However, a vast number of legends, which are still gladly told today, surround him.

Thus, the Sanskrit name Padmasambhava* in literal translation means »He who was Born out of the Lotus«. The Buddha Amithaba* is said to have taken from the base of his heart a golden vajra* and to have sent it into a lotus blossom that was blooming in the Dhanakosa lake in Kashmir. Out of this blossom grew a child, through which Amithaba* incarnated himself, in order to spread wisdom and to tame the demons of India and Tibet.

Mysterious Dreams

As the wife of King Indrabhuti, who had remained childless for a long time, had mysterious dreams, these were interpreted as announcing the wonderful birth of a boy, who should become a Bodhisattva*. According to the legend, one day, during a pilgrimage at Dhanakosa lake, Indrabhuti saw a boy sitting in a lotus blossom and took him in the stead of a son. The many prayers and sacrifical offerings had finally been heard.

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Detail from a scroll (Thangka*); 18th century; 133 x 89 centimeters; on loan from the National Museum of Paro
The red Buddha Amithaba belongs to the group of five Tathagatas and embodies the wisdom of essential equality.

Detail, mural on cloth; 19th century; 245 x 121 centimeters; on loan from the Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich
This detail from a mural, which illustrates the life of Guru Rinpoche, portrays his birth out of a lotus blossom.