Padmasambhava

On Exhibition

Gouche on Canvas
68.5 x 56 cm
2022

About the Art

The heart and pioneer of what we know today as Tantric Buddhism in Tibet is Padmasambhava. They named him “Guru Rinpoche,” the precious lord, and consider him the second Buddha. “Padma” means lotus and “Sambhava” means the one born of, showcasing how Padmasambhava was self-born on a lotus. Believed to be the native of Udyāna/Oḍḍiyāna (present-day Swat Valley, Pakistan), he is also called 
Uḍyānacharya. 

Padmasambhava is highly revered in Nepal and Tibet. There are many mentions of him practicing various sadhanas in many locations in Nepal including Khotang caves, Pharping, Daman, Khotang, Kavre, Helambu, and others. 

The main mantra associated with Padmasambhava is OM ĀH HŪM VAJRA GURU PADMA SIDDHI HŪM. The initial syllables of the mantra ‘OM ĀH HŪM’ symbolize the unification of kāya (body), vāk (speech), and citta (mind). Together these three represent the tripartite state of a Buddha. 

Raj Prakash Man Tuladhar’s painting of Padmasambhava illustrates the concept of Trikāya very clearly. Padmasambhava is the Nirmāṇakāya, below him is Ṣaḍakśherī Lokeśvara, the God of compassion or karuṇāmaya being the Sambhogakāya, and Amitābha Buddha, one of the Pancha Dhyāni Buddha, being the Dharmakāya. 

The painting is also rich in the concept of Ādi Buddha with the presence of Vajrasattva in the top left corner, Vairocana in the top right, and Samantabhadra in the center.

Padmasambhava was believed to have had multiple consorts from Tibet and one from Nepal.  Two of his consorts, Belmo Sakya Devi, from Nepal and Yeshe Tsogyal from Tibet can be seen below him in the painting. 

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