Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche

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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 (birth), Tib. གུ་རུ་མཚོ་སྐྱེས་རྡོ་རྗེ་, Wyl. gu ru mtsho skyes rdo rje
  2. Guru Shakya Sengé (ordination), Tib. གུ་རུ་ཤཱཀྱ་སེང་གེ་, Wyl. gu ru shAkya seng ge
  3. Guru Nyima Özer (subjugating demonic spirits), Tib. གུ་རུ་ཉི་མ་འོད་ཟེར་, Wyl. gu ru nyi ma 'od zer
  4. Guru Padmasambhava (establishing Buddhism in Tibet), Tib. གུ་རུ་པདྨ་འབྱུང་གནས་, Guru Pema Jungné, Wyl. gu ru pad+ma 'byung gnas
  5. Guru Loden Choksé (mastery of the teachings), Tib. གུ་རུ་བློ་ལྡན་མཆོག་སྲེད་, Wyl. gu ru blo ldan mchog sred
  6. Guru Pema Gyalpo (kingship), Tib. གུ་རུ་པདྨ་རྒྱལ་པོ་, Wyl. gu ru padma rgyal po
  7. Guru Sengé Dradrok (subjugation of non-buddhists), Tib. གུ་རུ་སེང་གེ་སྒྲ་སྒྲོག་, Wyl. gu ru seng ge sgra sgrog
  8. Guru Dorje Drolö (concealing terma, binding spirits under oath), Tib. གུ་རུ་རྡོ་རྗེ་གྲོ་ལོད་, Wyl. gu ru rdo rje gro lod

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 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]

Gallery

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

The Empowerment of Padmasambhava and his Eight Manifestations

References

  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