(‘Lotus-born’; Tib., Padmaʾbyuṅ-gnas). Prominent member of the Indian siddha
tradition associated with the introduction of Buddhism
and founder of the Nyingma
school. He is more commonly known by Nyingmapas as Gurū Rinpoche (Precious Teacher) and sometimes as the ‘second Buddha
’. According to legend, Padmasambhava was born in Oḍḍiyana (possibly the Swat Valley in Pakistan
) eight years after the Buddha's death, which would make him over a thousand years old when he visited Tibet. He took up the practice of Tantra
, studied with many teachers including Ānanda, was ordained as a monk and achieved many siddhis
(superpowers). For several hundred years Padmasambhava wandered, giving teachings and performing miracles, until receiving the invitation to Tibet. His intervention there successfully cleared the way for the introduction of Buddhism. Accounts vary as to how long he stayed in Tibet. Some say he left soon after Samyé was completed, others that he stayed for fifty-five years. All accounts say that Trisong Detsen's ministers conspired against him, and whenever he did leave, he did so in appropriate fashion by riding his horse through the air.