Gilt bronze figure of Padma
An Indian master brings Tantric Buddhism to
Padma Sambhava is one of the most eminent
figures in Tibetan Buddhism. He is revered for bringing
Buddhism to Tibet from northern India in the
late eighth century AD. He is particularly venerated by the oldest
schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the Nyingma-pa, who regard him as a
'second Buddha'. He was reputedly the son of the
king of Uddiyana in the Swat Valley in Pakistan. He is remembered
in Tibet as an exorcist of both demons and the enemies of Buddhism.
The tradition of turning native Bon deities into protectors of
Buddhism is supposed to have started with
Padma Sambhava is
shown here seated on a lotus throne in the rich robes of a prince.
He holds a
in his right hand and in his left a vase of the elixir of
immortality. On Padma Sambhava's hat is the sun-moon symbol
of transcended duality and an eagle's feather, an ancient
symbol of penetrating vision.
W. Zwalf (ed.), Buddhism: art and faith (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)
R. Fisher, Art of Tibet (Thames and Hudson, 1997)