All Tibetans absolutely love Guru Rinpoche. That is what they call him. He is also known as the Lotus Born. A beam of light struck a lotus in a storm and he was born. Invited to Tibet to help convert Tibetans in the 8th century, he did so by taming the magical demons of the Bon Religion.
Perhaps the most profound thing about Guru Rinpoche is that he is one of the best examples of progressive revelation. All religions need a major course correction every once in awhile, so along come prophets and messengers. For minor re-alignments we rely on saints, like St. Francis, Padre Pio, Ramakrishna and Yogananda.
In the ninth century, Padma Sambhava's foremost disciple, Lady Yeshe Tsogyal, recorded his oral instructions and concealed them as "treasure teachings" (termas) to be revealed in later centuries. Padma Sambhava prophesied that his 25 close disciples would reembody as tertöns, who would reveal these hidden teachings. (Tertön means "a revealer of hidden treasures.") He predicted the names and times of arrival of 108 tertöns. The teachings they would receive, either in physical documents or in visions, would be the specific teachings needed to liberate those of their generation and century.
Tibetan Buddhists believe that starting in the eleventh century and continuing, tertöns began to recover and expound upon these termas. Some of the termas that were discovered contain prophecies made by Padma Sambhava concerning the future of Tibet—prophecies we have seen come to pass in our own lifetime. These include prophecies of the Chinese Communist invasion of Tibet; the destruction of monasteries; the desecration of sacred scriptures, statues and paintings; the degradation of monks; the slaying of the Tibetan people and the raping of nuns.
33.5" X 23"
Hand painted in Nepal