Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche

From Rigpa Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Guru Tsokyé Dorje encircled by the Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche. Image part of the personal collection of Sogyal Rinpoche; painted by Salga. ©Tertön Sogyal Trust

The Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche (Tib. གུ་རུ་མཚན་བརྒྱད་, guru tsen gyé; Wyl. gu ru mtshan brgyad) are the eight principal forms assumed by Guru Rinpoche at different points in his life:

  1. Guru Tsokyé Dorje, 'Lake-born Vajra' (birth)
  2. Guru Shakya Sengé, 'Lion of the Shakyas' (ordination)
  3. Guru Nyima Özer, 'Rays of the Sun' (subjugating demonic spirits)
  4. Guru Padmasambhava, ‘Lotus-born’ (establishing Buddhism in Tibet); Guru Pema Jungné (Wyl. gu ru pad+ma 'byung gnas)
  5. Guru Loden Choksé 'Wise Seeker of the Sublime' (mastery of the teachings)
  6. Guru Pema Gyalpo 'The Lotus King' (kingship)
  7. Guru Sengé Dradrok 'The Lion's Roar' (subjugation of non-buddhists)
  8. Guru Dorje Drolö 'Wild Wrathful Vajra' (concealing terma, binding spirits under oath)

The Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava do not depict different Padmasambhavas, but reflect his ability to appear according to different needs and demands. In fact, they are called in Tibetan Guru Tsen Gyé, the eight ‘names’ of the Guru; each manifestation demonstrates a different principle that unveils the innermost nature of mind. As Guru Rinpoche said: “Mind itself is Padmasambhava; there is no practice or meditation apart from that.”[1]

Alternative Names & Lists

Other lists include:

Pema Kathang

In the Pema Kathang revealed by Orgyen Lingpa the eight manifestations are mentioned in chapter 19:

  1. Guru Shakya Sengé (east)
  2. Guru Pema Gyalpo (south)
  3. Guru Padmasambhava (west)
  4. Guru Dorje Drolö (north)
  5. Guru Nyima Özer (southeast)
  6. Guru Padmakara (southwest)
  7. Guru Sengé Dradrok (northwest)
  8. Guru Loden Choksé (northeast)

Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

In his praise of the eight manifestations entitled A Garland of Youthful Utpalas (ut+pal gzhon nu'i do shal)[2], Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo lists the eight as:

  1. Guru Tsokyé Dorje
  2. Guru Loden Choksé
  3. Guru Pema Gyalpo
  4. Guru Shakya Sengé
  5. Guru Nyima Özer
  6. Guru Sengé Dradrok
  7. Guru Dorje Drolö
  8. Guru Padmakara

Dungkar Lobzang Trinlé

In his Great Tibetan Dictionary (p.500), Dungkar Lobzang Trinlé lists them as follows:

  1. Guru Tsokyé Dorje
  2. Guru Dorje Drakpo Tsal
  3. Guru Shakya Sengé
  4. Guru Loden Choksé
  5. Guru Pema Tötreng Tsal
  6. Guru Pema Gyalpo
  7. Guru Nyima Özer
  8. Guru Sengé Dradrok

Tukdrup Yang Nying Kundü

In the empowerment of Tukdrup Yang Nying Kundü, Guru Rinpoche and his Eight Manifestations appear as:

  • the master Padma Thötreng,
  • the vidyadhara Padmajungné,
  • the bhikshu Padmasambhava,
  • the scholar Loden Choksé,
  • the majestic and overpowering Padma Gyalpo,
  • the yogin Nyima Özer,
  • the bhagavan Shakya Sengé,
  • the great wrathful Senge Dradok and
  • the crazy Dorje Drolö.[3]


Sets of thangkas of the Eight Manifestations include a central image of Guru Pema Jungné.

The Empowerment of Padmasambhava and his Eight Manifestations


  1. Adapted from Dzogchen & Padmasambhava
  2. Collected Works, Vol. ka, pages 132-4
  3. Dalai Lama, Dzogchen, page 230.

Further Reading

  • Chögyam Trungpa, Crazy Wisdom, The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Volume Five (Boston & London: Shambhala, 2004).
  • Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).
  • Yeshe Tsogyal, Padmasambhava Comes to Tibet: 25 Disciples - Vajra Guru Mantra - Prayers, Dharma Publishing, 2008.
  • The Venerable Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche, The Eight Manifestations of GURU PADMASAMBHAVA, translated by the Venerable Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche

External Links