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Venerated Guru Padmasambhava (vegetarian): Tantric Master and Lotus-Born Divine Incarnate, Part 1 of 2

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Venerated Guru Padmasambhava, popularly known as Guru Rinpoche (the Precious One), was an 8th-century tantric Master. Hailed as the second Buddha in the Himalayas, He established the Nyingma School of Buddhism, the first major school in Tibet. A fully enlightened Being who descended as the “Lotus One,” Guru Padmasambhava was not born and does not die. Wanting to do more to benefit all beings, the immaculately groomed and learned Prince decided to leave the palace. He was banished to a place called Cool Grove, a charnel ground where bodies are left to decompose above the ground. Known as the eight charnel grounds and deemed to be sacred, these burial grounds are extremely efficacious for spiritual advancement and also account for Guru Padmasambhava’s eight emanations, or manifestations. In the charnel grounds, Guru Padmasambhava was able to live freely in bliss, carrying out His yogic practices uninterrupted. He sustained and dressed His physical body with the food offerings and cloth from the deceased bodies.

In 1994, Supreme Master Ching Hai explained how Guru Padmasambhava provided sustenance to His physical body during that time. “According to a lot of stories, the first Master of Tibetan Buddhism is Padmasambhava. It means ‘born from the lotus.’ He is supposed to live always in the cemetery before He came to Tibet. And he is supposed to always transform the food in the cemetery – you know, anything – He’d transform it and then eat it. And there are many other stories, if you read the book of Madame Alexandra David-Néel. They can make bread out of air and things like that. Actually, this is nothing mystical or unbelievable because everything is made from the universal Substance. It's very… it could be scientific, it is believable. Some of the old Masters, they know something called ‘Alchemy,’ yes, yes, they can transform things.”

Magnetizing the eight classes of spirits, He unified them towards the path of bodhicitta, a state of loving-kindness, compassion, and wisdom. Guru Padmasambhava realized the people needed a spiritual teacher, and that He was to set an example and guide them. While visiting the Vajra Seat, the “diamond seat” under the bodhi tree where Buddha Shakyamuni had attained enlightenment, Guru Padmasambhava openly demonstrated His magical power. He transformed Himself into hundreds of monks, and at other times into hundreds of yogis, performing spiritual practices at the shrine.

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