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Padmasambhava(Guru Rinpoche) Regione del Dolpo (Dhol-wa), Etnia Kampa Parte del regno Guge nel X Sec.

Nepal - copper alloy - height 17.5 inc -54cm - 18th century

seated in padmasana on an acanthus throne, his hands holding a vajra and kapala, wearing elaborate brocaded robes, his ornate cap with feathered final.

he Indian yogi Padmasambhava lived during the latter half of the 8th century and his teachings are the basis of the religious tradition known as “The Old One” (rNying-ma), which worships him as a second Buddha. According to Tibetan sources he travelled to Tibet on the invitation of King Tri Songde-tsen (Khri Srong-lde-brtsan), who wanted him to subdue a demon that was hindering the construction of the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet, that of Samye (767-779), under- taken under the direction of the great Indian sage and scholar Shântarakshita, from the prestigious Buddhist university of Nâlandâ. The two masters, one a learned scholar, the other a sorcerer and exorcist, represented two very different forms of practice and devotion. Shântarakshita’s line was academic and monastic (1), Padmasambhava’s ritual and esoteric. Although Tibetans acknowledged the intellectual and spiritual gifts of both, it was Padmasamabhava who aroused greater interest. That was particularly true of the people amongst whom he also took on the role and importance of a new Buddha over the years. Indeed, despite being sent away from Tibet after being accused of witchcraft shortly after the con- struction of Samye (2), the memory of this enigmatic master lasted during the period between the first and second spread of Buddhism in Tibet (842 - c. 1000 AD), emerging again subsequently to develop into a particular tantric school which gained a great following. Padmasambhava is credited with introducing magical and spiritual practices to Tibet, in which the ritual peg known as kîla was used (see no. 15).
Veneration for Padmasambhava increased on a par with the progressive discovery of texts attributed to him and called “hidden treasures” (gter-ma) by followers of his tradition. According to them, Padmasambhava himself concealed such texts in order to protect them from the enemies of Buddhism and have them brought subsequently to light by his followers through instructions issued to them in dreams or in the form of visions. Those who have found those “hidden treasures” over the centuries and through to the present day are called “treasure finders” (gter-ston), and are usually masters with proven spiritual gifts. According to tradition, the original versions of these texts were generally written ether in Sanskrit or in the language of Uddiyana, the native land of Padmasambhava which partially coincides with the Swat Valley, in Pakistan. They were subsequently translated into Tibetan by their discoverers (3), thus accounting for the lack of original gter-ma manuscripts dating back to Padmasambhava’s period (4).
The name Padmasambhava, literally “Lotus-Born”, refers to that guru’s belonging to the Lotus Family, and underlines his spiritual ties with Avalokiteshvara and Amitâbha with whom he forms an important triad symbolizing the three “Bodies” of the Buddha: Padmasambhava represents the nirmânakâya, i.e. the physical body, Avalokiteshvara the sambhogakâya, the divine body, and lastly Amitâbha the dharmakâya, the incorporeal body attained in ultimate reality.

(1) David Snellgrove - Hugh Richardson, A Cultural History of Tibet, Shambhala, Boston 1995, p. 78. (2) David Snellgrove, Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. Indian Buddhists & Their Tibetan Successors, Shambala, Boston 1987, p. 430.
(3) Giuseppe Tucci, Le religioni del Tibet, Mediterranee, Roma 1995, p. 60. (4) Chiara Bellini, I monasteri dell’ordine di Druk e Gninmà, in Erberto Lo Bue - Chiara Bellini, Arte del Ladak. Tesori di arte buddhista nel Tibet indiano dall’XI al XXI secolo, Jaca Book, Milano 2011 (for- thcoming).


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purchased before 1970


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