Himalayan Art Resources

Padmasambhava: Eight Forms Main Page

Padmasambhava Main Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Eight Forms Outline
- Eight Forms (Single Composition)
- Eight Forms & Life Story (Single Composition)
- Sets: Painting & Sculpture
- Names: Eight Names, Eight Manifestations, Eight Forms
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

Video: Eight Forms of Padmasambhava

Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava:
- Orgyan Dorje Chang
- Shakya Sengge
- Nyima Oser
- Pema Jungne
- Loden Chogse
- Pema Gyalpo
- Sengge Dradog
- Dorje Drolo

The Eleven Figurative Forms (Iconographic Appearance):
- Buddha Appearance = Shakya Sengge
- King Appearance = Loden Chogse & Pema Gyalpo
- Monastic Appearance = Pema Jungne
- Siddha Appearance = Nyima Ozer
- Peaceful Deity Appearance = Orgyan (Oddiyana) Dorje Chang
- Wrathful Deity Appearance = Sengge Dradog & Dorje Drolo

Tibetan: Guru Tsangye (gu ru mtshan brgyad). The eight special Names (forms) representing eight different events, time periods and locations in the life story of Padmasambhava. There are several different numbers systems and additional images of Padmasambhava. The twelve figure system recounting twelve different events in his life is popularly used in conjunction with the celebration of the lunar 10th day each month and the creation of the Tibetan yearly calendar.

In painted compositions when depicting all eight forms together, and leaving out life story details, the eight are arranged in a standard Buddhist hierarchy with Pema Jungne, Nyima Ozer and Shakya Sengge in the upper composition (buddha, pandita, mahasiddha). The two Kings, Pema Gyalpo and Loden Chogse, are located in the middle of the composition. The two remaining forms, both wrathful, Sengge Dradog and Dorje Drolo, are placed at the bottom of the composition. This hierarchical arrangement stands outside of any relationship to the meaning of each of the eight forms and the chronology of the life story of Padmasambhava. (See an example of the Life Story and Eight Forms of Padmasambhava integrated chronologically).

Jeff Watt [updated 8-2013, 6-2017]

Biographies:

Zangs gling ma by Nyang ral Nyi ma ’od zer (1124–1192).

bKa’ thang Shel brag ma. gter ston O rgyan gling pa (b. 1323).

Padma bka’ thang. Sangs rgyas gling pa (1340–1396).

rDo rje gling pa (1346–1405?).

Padma gling pa (1450–1521).