Padmasambhava's Principal Dharma Heirs

One of the more controversial figures in Vajrayana Buddhism is Padmasambhava (Padmakara, Guru Rinpoche). In spite of the fact that he was, without a doubt, a real historical figure in the 8th century in Tibet, it is said that he was born eight (or twelve) years after Buddha Śākyamuni's Mahāparinirvana which is generally accepted to be at around 583 BCE.
On one extreme from the "normal" logical point of view a life span of ca. 1300 years seems impossible, on the other hand considering that one of the eight extraordinary powers or "siddhis" is the siddhi of a long life there is, from the Buddhist/Vajrayana standpoint, no logical reason to discount that a Mahāsiddha reaches an age of over a thousand.

Although Buddhism had been introduced into Tibet before the 8th century by Śāntirakṣita it faced opposition from the Bon ministers as well as from local spirits. Due to the opposition of these spirits the monk Śāntirakṣita advised King Trisong Detschen to invite the reclusive Padmasambhava to Tibet. Upon arrival in Tibet, Padmasambhava founded the Samye monastery in 767, and after taming and converting the local spirits and demons, Buddhism was established as the state religion of Tibet. Although accounts vary Padmasambhava is said to have stayed in Tibet for about seventeen years before leaving for the South-West to tame demonous forces there.

In 901 BCE King Langdarma, with the help of his ministers, started a campaign to supress the Dharma. To some extent this was sucessful, however due to the fact that Padmasambhava's students and their Dharma heirs favored a solitary, reclusive life outside of a monastic environment, Langdarma was unsecessful at eradicating Padmasambhava's Dharma. Due to it's loose organization the main divisions (Mindröling, Dorje Drak, Palyul, Dzogchen and Shechen) of the Nyingmapa were not formally organized until the 17th century.

Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) is considered to be the "founder" of the Nyingmapa School of the Vajrayana where practices originating with Padmasambhava are an integral part of the tradition. Over the centuries most other schools have slowly taken up, to some extent, practices originating with Padmasambhava. Most recently even the Gelug school has slowly started to recognize the profundity of practices originating with Padmasambhava.

The table below shows a list of Padmasambhavas twenty-five principal students who represent the first generation of the "Old Translation School".

Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche, Padmakara, Pema Jungne)
|_Trison Detschen, King of Tibet
|_Namkhai Nyingpo of Nub (750-xx) Ext Biogr. 1 -----------> Lhodrak
|_Nubchen Sanggye Yeshe (832? - 962?) Ext Biogr. 1 -----------> Yong Dzong in Drak
|_Dorje Dudjom -----------> Ext Biogr. 1 Yong Dzong in Drak
|_Gyelwa Chokyang of Kung Lung Ext Biogr. 1-----------> Chimphu
|_Gyelwa Lodro of the Dre clan Ext Biogr. 1-----------> Chimphu
|_Vairotsana -----------> Yama Lung
|_Denma Tsemang Ext Biogr. 1-----------> Yama Lung
|_Kaba Peltsek Ext Biogr. 1-----------> Yerpi Drak
|_Odren Pelgyi Wangchuk (750?-xx) Ext Biogr. 1-----------> Yerpi Drak
|_Nyak Jñānakumāra Vajra Ext Biogr. 1 -----------> Jemidrak in Nyemo------------------->The Nyak Lineage
|_Lhapel Zhonnu (Mongolian) -----------> Jemidrak in Nyemo
|_Palgyi Sengge (750-xx) Ext Biogr. 1 -----------> Pelchuwori Mountain
|_Chokro Lui Gyeltsen -----------> Pelchuwori Mountain
|_Rinchen Zangpo -----------> Uru meditation cave
|_Tingzin Zangpo -----------> Uru meditation cave
|_Langdro Konchok Jungne (750?-xx) Ext Biogr. 1-----------> Shangidrak in Yeru
|_Gyelwa Jangchub -----------> Shangidrak in Yeru
|_Drenpa Namkha Wongchuk Ext Biogr. 1 -----------> northern lake of Namtsodo
|_Kheuchung Kading Lotsawa (750?-xx) Ext Biogr. 1-----------> northern lake of Namtsodo
|_Ma Rinchen Chok (8th century)Ext Biogr. 1-----------> the cave of meditation at Chimphu
|_Gyelmo Yudra Nyingpo -----------> the cave of meditation at Chimphu
|_Atsara Sale
|_Yeshe Tsogyel (757-817) (♀)
|_Mandarava (♀) Ext Biogr. 1 a body emanation of Vajra Varahi

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Last modification: 110213