Pilgrimage to the Root of One’s Power

An excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo called Coming Alive

I want to share about the experience I had going to Tso Pema in India and meditating in Mandarava’s Cave.  I just knew by being there that it was where Mandarava prayed and offered herself for the liberation and salvation of all sentient beings again and again and again.  That is where she cried and tore out her hair and meditated on the suffering of sentient beings and could hardly bear it.  She went through it in that cave.  That cave was her spiritual incubator.  Oh man, the way she prayed!  I wish today I could pray the way Mandarava prayed then, and I will continue to try for that.

When I planned my trip to India I had specific goals to connect with the root of my power. Now periodically I’m supposed to go back to my mother monastery, connect with my root guru and get additional training and refreshment, but I decided not to do it in the traditional way. I felt like I had to birth something new.  I felt like I had to connect with this power that I know is there, at the root.  In this lifetime, because the Dharma is being taught in a foreign land where things are completely different, I sometimes feel like a stranger in a strange land. The conditions of ordinary samsaric modern reality are just a little confusing sometimes, and one can lose sight of the root of one’s power.

I went to India thinking I was going to connect with this power, give rise to myself in some way, and I was not going to give up until it happened!  I swear I had this idea I was going to sit on a rock somewhere and just freeze to death.  I knew that something needed to happen.  I felt that I was starving, and that I needed nourishment.  So I spent only two weeks at the mother monastery–even though my precious root teacher was there and even though his kindness and the nourishment that he lavished upon me was inconceivable.  I felt that I needed to go someplace where I was in charge, where I was responsible, where I knew what was going on, and where I had only myself to answer. I knew what I needed to reach for.

I wanted to go to the holy places of Mandarava and Guru Rinpoche.  I wanted to reach for what had happened at that time.  When Mandarava and Guru Rinpoche practiced, they literally changed the world.  Of course, that isn’t reported now.  We only hear Western white man’s history and story.  But, in truth, Mandarava and Guru Rinpoche changed the spiritual world, as we know it, because in their practice they gave rise to the empowerment of immortal spiritual life, and they accomplished the deathless wisdom state.  They never died.  When they left the world in that lifetime, they rose up to the sky and disappeared. Hundreds of people saw it.

It was preordained that Guru Rinpoche would accomplish the siddhi of immortal life, and it was with Mandarava that he did it. At the time of their accomplishment, Amitayus Buddha, the Buddha of Long Life, came to them and recognized Guru Rinpoche as Amitayus Buddha and Mandarava as his consort.  So their empowerment was complete because they became the deities in union.  This revolutionized spiritual practice, as we know it, because now there are options for one’s spiritual practice.  If one practices deeply enough and heroically enough- not just casually–one can prolong one’s life and even realize immortal spiritual life or the deathless state.  One can accomplish that.

I was going to go to Tso Pema, recognized as an incarnation of Mandarava. I trusted and believed it because it came from my root guru, who is my heart and my mind; yet I needed to feel it myself.  I needed to touch it.  I wanted to smell it.  I wanted to own it. My intention, when I went into that cave, was to feel that “this is happening now.” I had that sense of wonder and strong determination that you get when you are faced with the option of a miracle.  When you know that, you are a different person.

I went into that cave with determination like I’ve never had before, and I sat down and I got everything that I asked for. The consciousness of Mandarava came to me.  I realized it was indistinguishable from my own.  I realized many facts and qualities about Mandarava.  I realized much about her practice with Guru Rinpoche.  My current mindstream and the mindstream of Mandarava began to blend, and I had such a powerful life-changing and potent experience at that time that my astrological horoscope changed.  It was a spiritual rebirth.

We are talking about, not only a life-changing experience, but also a change in one’s method, one’s purpose, one’s sense of accomplishment, one’s sense of self, one’s orientation. Little by little, in the same way that a child grows, this new empowerment is growing.  It is realized.  It is present.  It is alive in the world.  It is reincarnated.  To me, that empowerment was stronger, more profound and more fruitful than any of the traditional empowerments that I’ve had.

Is that because traditional teachings and the way they are conferred are inferior to what happened in the cave?  Of course not!  That would be like saying that one side of the Sweat Lodge is more powerful than the other.  That would be ridiculous. Here’s the bottom line.  Once you get to the fat cat stage, you’re dead.  No matter what you’re doing spiritually–if you’re keeping your samaya, if you’re practicing eight hours a day, if you’re dusting the temple, if you’re cleaning out the bowls and making offerings–if you’ve gotten to the fat cat stage where you think you’re in charge or you own the business or you’ve seen it all, you’ve lost your practice. It’s gone.  You’re practicing by rote.  I have a cockatoo that can be trained to do the same thing.

Practicing by rote is so superficial that we hardly realize that we have gone spiritually dead inside. We are afraid to ask ourselves the question, “What is my practice? When I put on my robes or when I pick up my mala and I open my books, do I do so in the same way that I sit down to a bowl of cornflakes in the morning?” I use this example because you have to eat something before you leave the house, and cornflakes are soggy.  Do you feel soggy when you do your practice?  Soggy is a pretty good word for it, wouldn’t you say?  When you sit down, is it like sitting down to an exquisitely prepared meal for the first time and you’re really hungry.  What is your experience when you practice?  Do you practice with childlike delight, with fervent regard, with an awareness that’s on the front burner–that all sentient beings are suffering, that they do not understand the causes of this suffering nor how to stop them, but that there is an end to suffering and there is a method.

When you hear this beautiful news and marvel, that delight and the hunger provided by that delight is what makes your path work. The period of turning your mind towards Dharma should never end.  In fact, the older and more fat cat you get, the more you must give rise to it continuously, reminding yourself of these fundamental truths and delighting in this information. Take nothing for granted while you are on the spiritual path, because the moment you do—whether it is your practice, the result, your community, your environment, your teacher, or even the fact that you have leisure to practice–you are no longer practicing. The academic who hears all this information, memorizes it and learns how to practice very well with all the bells and whistles and ritual implements may not be even close to the practitioner who goes around the stupa, knowing his or her life is in danger, and prays Om Mani Padme Hung in a heartfelt way.  In that expectation and hope a miracle might happen. Another practitioner who is superior to the fat cat is the one who has really studied and come to the path seeing that all sentient beings are suffering and has decided that enough is enough. To this one, the suffering is unbearable. And with that heart ripped open, this practitioner circumambulates the stupa and says Om Mani Padme Hung.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Supplication to Mandarava

“Dissolving in the expanse of space
like a rainbow, without remains,
She departed to the
Akanishta Paradise of Pamavyuha.
She transformed into the embodiment
of the supreme consort,
The secret primordial wisdom dakini.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!
Together with nine hundred
pure awareness holder disciples,
After dissolving into a rainbow body,
she manifested herself once again
for the benefit of others.
Mandarava emanated unceasingly,
manifesting herself as a dakini to tame
the minds of beings in
every essential way.
To the feet of Mandarava I supplicate!”
— Guru Padmasambava

Who is Padmasambhava?


The following is respectfully quoted from “The History of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism” by Dudjom Rinpoche:

He studied all the sūtras, tantras, and sciences under the many scholars and accomplished masters of India, of whom the foremost were: the eight great awareness-holders, from whom he received the Eight Classes of Means for Attainment; Buddhaguhya, from whom he received the Magical Net; and Śri Simha, from whom he received the Great Perfection. Training himself thus, he fully understood all doctrines after studying them only once. He could see the deities even without propitiating them. In this way, he became renowned as Loden Chokse (Intelligent Boon-seeker), and he demonstrated the ultimate attainment of a holder of the awareness of spiritual maturation.

Then he gained influence over Mandāravā, the daughter of King Ārsadhara of Sahor, who possessed marks of a dākinī. He took her to the Māratika Cave, to serve as the consort for his practice; and for three months they practised the means for attainment of longevity. Lord Amitāyus actually came there and empowered them, and he consecrated them to be no different than himself. He granted them one billion rites of longevity, whereby Padmasambhava attained the accomplishment of awareness-holder endowed with power over the duration of his life.

Having thus attained the body of indestructible reality that is beyond birth and death, Padmasambhava went to subdue the kingdom of Sahor. When the king and his ministers tried to immolate him, he performed the miracle [of transforming the pyre into] a lake of sesame oil, in the midst of which he remained seated on a lotus. Thus he secured them in faith and introduced them all to the doctrine, so that they reached the level of no-return.

Supplication & Longevity Prayer to Jetsunma


A Supplication-Longevity Prayer to Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo




In the realm of Khachod, she is Vajra Varahi,


In the country of Zahor, the consort Mandarawa,


In Tibet Queen Ahkartsayi-drOn,


The daughter of Machig Labdron, Ladul Chokyi Dron and


Ahkon Changchub Lhamo of Kham.


Now reincarnated as the American dakini Jetsunma,


May the nonconducive circumstances and obstacles to your life

dissolve in the sphere of reality.


Remaining firm in the essence of authentic stable presence,


Turn the dharma wheel of self-originating enlightened awareness!


May this dharma place of our own Lotus Family tradition prevail


Throughout this world of Jambhudvipa


Samaya ku sung tug kyi gya

Samaya sealed with enlightened body, speech and mind.


This is a mind revelation of Orgyen Kusum Lingpa



Daughter of the King of Zahor: From “The Lives and Liberation of Princess Mandarava”

The following is respectfully quoted from “The Lives and Liberation of Princess Mandarava” translated by Lama Chonam and Sangye Khandro:

Glorious yogini mother of the buddhas, from within the oceans of exalted pure realms, the play of your emanations appears in one hundred million embodied forms. Limitless beyond measure is the marvel of the indication of your presence throughout many aeons.

According to the capability of sentient beings, you display the dance of the miraculous activity of mundane appearances. With stainless natural wisdom, you reveal the profoundly extensive essence of the path of maturity and liberation. You are well known as the mother of all the conquerors, who maintains virtue in the four states of existence. All the heirs of the buddhas without exception have bowed to your lotus feet and attained true realization. As the very basis for the appearance of all wisdom dakinis, like space itself, you are the queen consort of the space of truth. All the dakinis who have appeared in this world throughout the three times are only the clouds of your own radiance. Akshobhyavira, your vajra major and minor marks reveal the expanse of the nature of emptiness. Like a great downpour of rain, you appear — for the benefit of beings — from the supreme realm of the nirmanakaya as the natural manifestation of the five families and the inconceivable magical net of perfectly arranged manifestations. As a dakini your enlightened powers are manifest in an infinitude of miraculous activity. Known as Mandarava, your fame encompasses the three realms of existence. Unwavering from the essential nature, may you remain in the center of the lotus in my heart, indivisible and firm, until the heart of enlightenment is realized. Respectfully, I bow to you to encounter my own true nature.


Supplication to Chime Pema Jugne: The Deathless Lotus Born

The following is a supplication prayer from the Chime Tsog Thig:

By the wisdom intent of the Lord Amitayus,

Channeling through the wisdom intent of the Mother Deity Tsendali,

Blessing Deathless Pema Jungne,

I pray to the deathless wisdom holders of the three times –

Past, present and future.

I pray to Orgyen Pema Jungne.

In the meditation caves of the cliffs of Maratika,

At the time when you were accomplishing the wisdom holder of deathless life,

The Lord Amitayus blessed you.

You turned into a deathless Vajra body.

I pray to you, Deathless Pema Jungne.

As I pray to you, Deathless Pema Jungne,

Please bless me Orgyen Rinpoche.

Please bestow the maturation and liberation empowerment and grand the ordinary and supreme siddhis.


Supplication to Mandarava’s Emanations

The following is an excerpt from “The Lives and Liberation of Princess Mandarava”

Eh Ma Ho!

In the previous aeon of Bhaskara,
As the daughter of King Indradeva known as Pandaravasini,
She trained on the path to abandon samsara and actualize buddhahood.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

Later in the aeon known as Ratnavistirna,
Se was born into the holy caste as the princess Natyendri,
Suryagarbha and his entire kingdom was placed on the path of Dharma.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

In the Bright Aeon of Buddha Kanakamuni’s revelation of the doctrine,
With the blessings of the buddhas of the three times,
She naturally emanated the five embodiments as manifestations in
the five continents to tame the minds of beings.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

Born as the princess of the god Brahma and consort,
She was known as Ozer Nangyen.
All the people of the kingdom of Kanika, in India, were placed on the path of Dharma.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

By the blessings of the aryas, in the land of Damaru,
She was born from a lotus and summoned Hayagriva as her aid.
The the peaceful and wrathful means the kingdom was turned to the path of virtue.
To the feet of Mandarava, I pray!

In the abode of the god Indra, in the land of Kangkari,
She was the mother of the Buddha Dampa Togkar, and she tamed the hordes of demigods.
She was famed for her subjugation of the entire country, which was transformed to the path of the Buddha.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

In the subterranean region at the peak of the jewel mountain,
She manifested as a nagini to cure all rampant diseases among nagas.
Known as Dharmindra, she placed all the nagas on the path to enlightenment!
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

As an emanation of the princess of demigods,
She tamed the hordes of jealous demigods,
As the one known as Samantabadri, she brought the hosts of demonic demigods to maturity and liberation.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

In the presence of Buddha Kashyapa,
She generated the bodhicitta and emanated as the daughter of
King Sukhapala named Shri Sagara.
She was responsible for the perfect enlightenment of one hundred thousand nuns.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

During the time of Shakyamuni Buddha,
She manifested herself twenty-five times; her further emanations are utterly inconceivable,
Such a one opening the door to the path of the secret mantra vehicle.
To the feet of Mandarava, I pray!

Then, in the western paradise of Sukhavati,
Here a million manifestations reveal the secret mantra,
Her dakini emanation appears with each of them!
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

Light from the five places of the supreme consort Pandaravasini
Radiated into all the paradises to become the manifestations of the five dakinis of the sphere of truth.
Blessing and empowering the syllable HRIH, this light emanated into the land of Zahor.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

Through her miraculous powers, her father and mother, the king and queen, had astonishing indications in their dreams.
In the male wood-horse year, on the tenth day of the month,
She was born and immediately recited the sounds of the vowels and consonants!
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

At the very moment of birth, she prostrated to her parents to repay their kindness,
And sang a pleasing song for all who had gathered.
The gods came to bathe her, and her fame encompassed this world.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

Seeing the suffering of birth, old age, sickness, and death, she felt deep repulsion,
Her mind turned from samsara, and became well-trained
In the five sciences of the holy Dharma.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

Into the land of Gautala, in accordance with the prophecies of
Master Drime and Vajravarahi, she debated the heretic Kyabsel.
She defeated and subjugated all heretics at that time.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

In the land of Zahor, she brought three hundred women to the path
and transformed the suffering of the king and queen at the death of Prince Palde.
She discovered the flesh of the holy sage, which became the chief object of the people’s devotion.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

She reconciled Bheta and Zahor, ending their war.
in accordance with the prophecy of Pandaravasini, she brought her entourage to the Dharma.
She generated fervent prayers to remain in samsara for the welfare of others.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

Meeting with the king, she discussed the requests for her hand in marriage from the royal suitors of every direction.
Without attachment to samsara, she received a prophecy from Vajrasattva.
Skillfully escaping, she took the vows of ordination before the Abbot preceptor.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

Thoroughly investigating the scriptures, she studied the Tripitaka,
And in the pleasure grove she taught the Dharma to her five hundred attendants.
She received prophecy directly from the emanation of Guru Padmasambhava.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

Arriving in the flower garden, she actually met face to face with the guru.
When she invited him to her palace to teach Dharma, a wandering cowherd took notice.
Rumors ensued, and the king took action to punish them.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

Despite the king and queen’s attempt to burn Guru Padmasambhava alive, he revealed his miraculous powers.
The king and ministers were filled with deep remorse.
The guru stayed with the king and queen, at which time the king formally offered Mandarava as the consort of the guru of Oddiyana.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

All the males in the land of Oddiyana became disciples of the guru;
And Mandarava revealed the Dharma to all the females, who achieved liberation.
She reached perfect maturity through receiving the master’s pointing-out instructions.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

Receiving the profound Dharma of indication,
She went to Maratika cave together with the guru
And truly accomplished the deathless state of becoming an immortal pure awareness holder.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

In the land of Kotala, she tamed the beings through miraculous means
And achieved great victory over the magic of heretics,
In the charnel ground of Yogndu, she placed the hordes of obstructors under oath.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

In accordance with the prophecy of Padmasambhava,
She went to the land of Chamara, where she placed all the male and female cannibals upon the Dharma path.
They accomplished the rainbow body, and the entire country was emptied!
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

In Ngampatsal and the eight great countries,
And in Kailadrog and the eight minor power places,
She revealed eight major and minor miraculous, enlightened physical deeds.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

Then the Guru Padmasambhava and consort went together
To the land of Oddiyana to banish all perverted views through skillful means.
They turned the wheel of Dharma, and everyone was liberated in the rainbow-light body.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

In accordance with the prophecy of the guru,
She went to Shambhala and, with her great skillful means, tamed beings in the twenty-five paradises.
One million, three hundred thousand fortunate disciples were liberated in the rainbow body.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

Then she traveled to the peak of the highest mountain in Bheche, India.
Where all remaining transmissions, without exception, were given.
She manifested herself as two utpal flowers of white and red — one in Tibet and one in Nepal.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

Dissolving in the expanse of space like a rainbow, without remains,
She departed to the Akanishta Paradise of Padmavyuha.
She transformed into the embodiment of the supreme consort, the secret primordial wisdom dakini.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

Together with nine hundred pure awareness holder disciples,
After dissolving into a rainbow body, she manifested herself once again for the benefit of others.
Mandarava emanated unceasingly, manifesting herself as a dakini to tame the minds of beings in every essential way.
To the feet of Mandarava, I supplicate!

In the Realm of Great Bliss, she is known as the secret wisdom consort Pandaravasini;
In the realm of Khechari, as Natyendri;
And in Zahor, as Dungmen Karmo.
To the feet of Mandrava, I supplicate!

A True Dakini

HH Kusum Lingpa and Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

On May 3, 1994 His Holiness Kusum Lingpa gave this commentary on the Long Life Prayer for Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo that he wrote for her.

I wrote this longevity prayer on the day that I arrived here.  The first human rebirth of Ahkon Lhamo occurred some 300-400 years ago in Degii, which is the eastern country of Kham.  She was born as the sister of the Vidyadhara Kunzang Sherab who was the founder of the Palyul lineage.  And her name was Ahkon Chang Chub Lhamo.   She was a true Dakini.  At that time in her life she didn’t have a lot of wealth or a lot of ordained sangha followers per se in a monastic type of situation, but she was a great practitioner and she had tens of thousands of disciples.  She was able to spread forth the doctrine in an amazing way.  Previously, she was Mandarava, Lamchen Mandarava, who was the Indian consort of Guru Padmasambhava.  Mandarava was well known of the 21 Taras to be the emanation of White Tara and Drolma Karmo.

Now she has once again arisen from the sphere of the Three Kayas and the name that I have mentioned for her is also her name in this lifetime, Lhamo Metog Dron, which appears throughout this prayer.  She has come to you as a true guide and object of your devotion to lead you on the path to liberation so you should always have strong faith and devotion in her and receive her spiritual instructions.

She is one who is destined to work for the doctrine and the purpose of sentient beings and won’t have a lot of time for retreat or extensive accomplishment practices, because her commitment is to spread forth the doctrine and work for sentient beings directly through activities in the same way as leaders like His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who always shows the amazing example of someone who is solely concerned for the purpose of benefiting all people of all nations in the world, but of course primarily as his responsibility, he is the spiritual and secular leader of all of the six million Tibetan people.

The Dalai Lama himself is always circling the globe in pursuit of bringing the message of freedom and peace of mind to all beings, so he is a supreme example of someone who untiringly and unceasingly works for the benefit of parent sentient beings and the doctrine through his activities.

Similarly, His Holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche has undergone incredible hardships and difficulties to establish the doctrine in India and in Western countries.  He has thousands of ordained sangha members surrounding him and is the upholder of the supreme Nyingma School at this time, a great example of someone who unceasingly works to spread the doctrine and benefit beings in this world.

Similarly, the great Dodrupchen Rinpoche who is one of the great masters of all time, an emanation of Guru Rinpoche, has thousands of monk followers and is someone who supports all of his sangha, even right down to giving them the food that they eat.  And so, he has had to take it on as his own responsibility to support all of those who have chosen the path of renunciation and who wear the golden robes of the ordained sangha.

Now, for myself, even though I also do have a fairly large institution, I myself really don’t even eat food that is that good and I always try to give better food to my community.  I consider myself to be a servant of sentient beings.  I try not to stay in a high place with a lot of elaborations.

In fact, the way to be of the greatest benefit to others is to personally remain low and humble.  This is the way that the Dakini always remains as well.  And so, I would like to make it the first priority of Dakini Ahkon Lhamo and the sangha to always honor the sovereign of your Buddha family, His Holiness Pema Norbu Rinpoche until the time of your death.  He is truly your leader and your root teacher, the head of your lineage.  There is nothing else that you need to do.  There is no other place that you need to go other than to be right here to propagate the doctrine that he has so securely established here.  If it were I, I certainly would be 100 percent satisfied to be under the guidance of such a great realized being.

In terms of this Palyul lineage, since Ahkon Lhamo herself is the reincarnated sister of the founder of the Palyul tradition, Vidyadhara Kunzang Sherab, then clearly this is your own spiritual tradition.  Except for Palyul, it is not so important to pursue other traditions because primarily you should be propagating the Palyul tradition.  It should certainly never, ever be forgotten.  Ahkon Lhamo must continue to propagate it and never forget it, even at the cost of her life.

And so, primarily then, Pema Norbu Rinpoche is your sovereign, your supreme root teacher, whom you should always honor above and beyond all else and you should always uphold the Palyul lineage and doctrine and see that it is propagated in this Western land.  All of you disciples should take care of your precious teacher and she will always take care of you in assisting one another to accomplish these goals in this land.

His Holiness Kusum Lingpa and Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo wearing Green and White Terton Robes

Subduing the King with Miracles: From the Lives and Liberation of Princess Mandarava

The following is respectfully quoted from “The Lives and Liberation of Princess Mandarava” translated by Lama Chonam and Sangye Khandro:

Then, just as teh vajra master was extremely pleased with the progress of the teachings being given to the princess and her retinue, and ominous sign occurred. A very unsavory, antagonistic cowherd caught sight of them while they were in a state of complete joy, receiving teachings from Guru Padmasambhava and celebrating the occasion. While the cowherd was returning home he heard many of the villagers praising Princess Mandarava and her female followers. Then he began gossiping slanderously about what he had witnessed, which of course gave rise to more gossip. The rumor spread, eventually reaching the ears of the outer ministers of the king’s palace. Then it passed to the inner ministers who, in turn, mentioned it to the queen. The youngest queen then went to the king and said, “Your daughter Mandarava is now living with an ordinary laymen with a shaved head.”

Upon hearing this, the king became very angry and scolded the younger queen for her slanderous words: “What you have said is idiotic and crazy. Your mouth is like a storehouse of negativity. A woman like you, who yearns to whisper such deceitful rhetoric, is nothing less than a demoness. My daughter, Princess Mandarava, was ordained in the presence of the great abbot. She had no attachment to any of the kings who came for her hand from every direction. It is impossible that she would care to stay in the company of an ordinary man. This talk is incredible! Even if it were a consideration, it is physically impossible because she lives in the center of a five-winged enclosure with five rings of five hundred attendants residing there. Who could pass by them without being noticed? Even if one of them kept such an intrusion a secret, surely not all of the many attendants would be able to remain silent! I demand to know who started this rumor! See to it that this person is brought to me!”

The queen returned to the seven inner ministers. They went to the outer ministers from whom they had heard the rumor. In vain they sought the source of this vicious slander. The principle ministers then returned to the king, unable to fulfill his wish. The king was furious. He reprimanded them and cautioned them to keep their thoughts silent in the future. Reminding them that many important people had great desire for the princess and that the kings of the surrounding directions would become upset, he them them all behind bars.

Gathering together much wealth, he ordered all the people of the kingdom of Zahor to congregate. Then, in the presence of all the subjects, he made the following announcement: “Kye ho! Inhabitants of the kingdom of Zahor, listen closely! Princess Mandarava has abandoned ordinary life to pursue the path of Dharma. It has been said that she is staying with a young monk. Whoever claims to have witnessed this should come forward, and this bounty of gathered wealth will be his or her reward.” Despite this amazing offer, not a single person came forward to claim the reward. News of this public announcement spread far and wide. The kings of the surrounding countries sent spies to find out if this was true, each inquiring as to the whereabouts of the princess. Unable to discover anything unusual, they eventually returned to their own countries.

Then the wives of the imprisoned men went to the cowherd and offered him a great deal of money to speak up. Offering to tend his herd, they encouraged him to tell the king immediately that he was the one who had seen the young man with the princess. The cowherd set out for town. Along the way, he encountered nine unpleasant signs. Upon arriving in the marketplace, he loudly addressed the townsfolk, “Kye! Listen to me, all you citizens of the kingdom! I am the one who will receive the reward offered by our king! I am the one who saw Mandarava in the company of a young man. You may check and see for yourselves if my words are true or false.” With that, he collected his reward and returned home to his herd.

Hearing the news, the king ordered his ministers to go to Mandarava’s palace and investigate. The queen, however, insisted that she should go instead — and so it was decided. When the queen arrived, she was refused entrance and fainted on the spot. News of this was then taken to the king. Outraged, he ordered that the queen return to him and that they break down the door to Mandarava’s quarters and bring the man in her presence to him immediately.

The ministers complied, yet when they entered the inner chambers, much to their amazement, they saw a magnificent young man seated upon a jeweled throne. His body was the very picture of dignity, blazing with luminous light. Princess Mandarava and her assembly were all seated on the floor before him, their palms pressed together in reverence as they carefully absorbed every word. Unable to accomplish the king’s command, the ministers returned to report what they had seen: “Kye ma! The bhikshu man in the company of the princess and her assembly is not of the ranks of ordinary men! Either he is a son of the god of wealth or the son of the god Brahma, the king of the gods. Otherwise, he must be a buddha who has emanated into the world of human beings. When we saw that he was the spiritual teacher of the princess, we were unable to disturb them. It is important to examine him carefully before reacting. It is possible that if a mistake is made concerning his being, irreversible negative karma may be accrued. Such an accumulation could be difficult to purify or confess.”

Hearing their words, the king was outraged. He jumped up unexpectedly from his throne. “You ministers are willing to break the law that I have enforced! Any ordinary man who would dishonor my daughter like this must be punished accordingly. Seize this lowly vagabond, bind him, and burn him alive in a pyre of tala wood. As for Mandarava, she refused to go into a family of honor according to my wishes, and now she stays with a common vagrant. Throw her into a pit of thorns, where she shall remain for twenty-five human years without seeing the light of day. Place her two main attendants in darkness and the remaining five hundred servants in confinement! Make certain that they never even hear the sound of a male voice.” After this command, the ministers who had been put behind bars were released.

News of all this spread to the bordering countries. They were angry that the king of Zahor had deceived them and began to prepare their armies for battle. Princess Mandarava and her two main attendants were captured and punished according to the king’s command. The princess was so distraught over what the ministers were doing to the precious guru that she shamed them in front of all her servants: “Are you not afraid of such intensely negative karmic accumulations, which cause unlimited rebirths in the lowest hell realms?” But there was nothing that they could do.

Meanwhile, the vajra master displayed his enlightened miraculous pwoers. Numerous deities appeared in space, and rain showers suddenly fell. The pyre became like a lake of sesame oil. In its center bloomed a marvelous, huge lotus flower surrounded by rainbows and lofty, massing clouds. The king, ministers, and all the people in the kingdom could clearly hear auspicious words and songs resounding throughout space. The entire lake and its flower were now surrounded by a ring of fire. Seated on the very center of the lotus was the Vajra Guru Padmasambhava as an eight-year-old-youth, with all the marks of perfection. A normal fire would have burned out in seven days, leaving no trace of smoke. But what a display of fire remained! The air was filled with rainbows, the sound of instruments, and the scent of pure incense.

Everyone then knew beyond a trace of doubt that this young man was indeed a nirmanakaya buddha. The king met with all his ministers. Then he sent the head minister Choden to the scene, where this minister astonishingly beheld the transformed fire and the magnificent lake with its lotus in full bloom. Upon it sat the great vajra master, whose amazing, sublime appearance was like Buddha Amitabha. Surrounding him were five maidens, each as beautiful as Mandarava, holding the five offerings. Imbued with profound faith, the minister ran back to report all of this to the king.

The king went immediately with his entourage to see for himself. Wherever he gazed in the four directions, all he could see was clear light. His astonishment left him speechless. At that moment, the amazing youth, Padmasambhava, spoke to him: “Has the negative king finally come? He who attempts to burn alive the guru who is the nature of the buddhas of the three times? Has the king with tremendous attachment to the deceptions of this world, who imposes laws that are based on meaningless delusion, finally arrived? Has the king with the greatest sense of inflated pride, who wages war on his innocent daughter, finally joined us? The root of the five passions is ignorance. Has the negative king who lacks recognition  now and in the future finally come? Has the king with the intention to deceive sentient beings, the king of non-virtue — the evil king and his minister of non-virtue — finally come?”

After the guru had thus spoken, the king was so distraught with remorse that he fell to the ground unconscious. Then, coming to his senses, he lamented: “How could I have thought of accumulating such negative karma as this? Although my daughter has found a living buddha, I perceived with such wrong view! Oh, how could I think to be so negative? Kye ma! Kye hu!” He cried in despair and began pulling his hair out, scratching and marring his face while rolling and thrashing on the ground in an emotional uproar.

The principle ministers were filled with remorse and began proclaiming their deep regret. In their duress, they supplicated their leader, the king: “Listen, great king, lord of men! Although we cautioned you to examine this young man more closely, it was to no avail. Now you must offer confession, offerings, and supplication prayers.” This time, the king took their advice to heart. The people of Zahor were asked to assemble, regardless of race, class, age or creed. Countless in number they arrived to bear witness. The king stood up among them and began offering many full-length prostrations to Guru Padmasambhava. With the sound of strong remorse in his trembling voice, he offered this supplication prayer:

“Kye ma! O buddha of the three times, please listen to me! The remorse I now feel in my heart is unbearable. When I attempt to burn one such as you in the hottest of fires, you transformed the flames into a lake of sesame oil. Then, in the center of this magnificent lake, you appeared in full glory, seated upon the stamen of a lotus flower in full bloom. O faultlessly pure one, master of transformation, I prostrate and render praise to you, the self-originating immortal Padmasambhava! I openly confess with deep remorse and regret any harm I have brought upon your sacred, enlightened body, and I beg your forbearance for my misdeeds! I humbly offer you my kingdom, and I pray you will accept it now. I, King Indra Viharadhara, will remain as your follower, and I pray that you will dispel the ignorance in the minds of beings! Please come now to take your seat in the palace.”

As the king made this offering and request, everyone present could see the gods, nagas, dakinis, emanations of the guru, and the buddhas within the massing clouds and rainbows. Then the lovely sound of a fine vina could be heard, accompanying the verses of praise: “Hrih! Praise to the body of the great Padmasambhava, unattached and untainted by impurity!” Many such verses of praise could be clearly heard. Then everything dissolved into space, and the people of the kingdom were overcome with devotion and faith.

The great vajra master himself spoke again: “E ma ho! O great king and your hosts of subjects, please pay heed! I am the nature of the buddhas of the three times! Unstained by the womb, I have self-originated from a lotus. My background is like the nature of space, unaffected by happiness or displeasure. My body, stainless in nature, cannot be harmed by elements of fire. The workings of positive and negative karmic accumulations do not affect me in the slightest, but sentient beings will surely make mistakes because of confused perception. Your noble qualities, O king, are like the greatest of mountains, Mount Meru. All of this has occurred in order to guide you to the path of the Buddha. O king, do not despair; I accept your offer. Now I shall go to the palace as you have requested.”

The king was overwhelmed with joy. He ordered all the ministers to depart at once for the palace and to bring his newest and finest brocade silk cloak, articles of clothing, and crown. He also ordered that they return with seven of the finest carriages, adorned with various flags and victory banners. They quickly departed to accomplish his wishes. When they returned, a silk brocade throne was prepared on the most splendid carriage, and the vajra master took his seat, surrounded by silken flags and banners of victory and good fortune. The king then offered each of his royal articles of brocade clothing to the master, who carefully put on each one. He also donned the crown and boots of the king. Then the king himself hung the yoke of the carriage around his own neck and, replacing the horses, began pulling the carriage to the palace. This was witnessed by all the people of the kingdom, who surrounded the carriage in a great parade, offering unceasing prostrations and prayers with fervent faith and devotion. Upon arriving at the palace, the great vajra master entered the inner chambers and took his seat upon the throne of seven precious jewels.

Then the king asked that Princess Mandarava be brought to him. When the ministers went to open the pit into which she had been thrown, they told her of the miracles that the great vajra master had performed. Showing her the king’s golden parchment letter requesting her to come to the palace, they begged her over and over to respond. She remained silent.

When the ministers returned without success, the king then told the queen to go and convince Mandarava to come and join them. The queen gathered the silken garments of the princess, hoping that she would wear them and return. When she met her daughter and begged her to reconsider, Mandarava replied: “No matter what happens, I intend to remain here for the duration of twenty-five human years. I shall never disobey the command of my father the king. However, you and my father have only one daughter like me. How could you do what you did to my guru, who is the actual buddha of the three times?” Mandarava then broke down in tears and fell into the arms of her mother. They both wept uncontrollably.

In a short time, all the women in the country of Zahor began to weep, and the king feared that the princess had passed away. He rushed to the pit. To his relief, he found her still alive, and he begged her to return to the palace to see for herself what had transpired. Breaking down in tears, he said, “O daughter, I never intended to create such an obstacles to your Dharma. This father of yours feels deep regret for what he has done. Thinking myself so high, I have now fallen so low. My meaningless behavior has brought you such grief. Please forgive me.” Then he took her hands and kissed her, and her mother caressed her.

As she consented to join them and return to the palace, both the king and queen were crying. Mandarava was reunited with the vajra master, to whom she prostrated as he wiped away her tears. She praised him with this song of heartfelt devotion:

“You, the enlightened one, came to this continent of nonvirtue. Fearlessly powerful, you came with neither expectation nor apprehension. Embodiment of miraculous enlightened activities, may there be the good fortune of the unceasing radiance of your enlightened display! Born from the lotus, your body is a radiant hue of white and red. You are adorned with the sublime marks of excellence, and your thirty-two major marks are resplendent to behold. The noble qualities of the lotus-born buddha of the three times are beyond the limits of the mind. With faith I bow down to you, the embodiment who is one with the buddhas of the three times. As the embodiment of rapture with major and minor marks, your form is as great and perfectly proportioned as Mount Meru. Shaped like the king of all mountains, you have a head round as a vase; your hair is lovely as the blooming udumbara flower. Your nose is perfectly proportioned; your upper and lower lips are like the petals of a lotus flower. Your tongue is long, thick, and red like a lotus. Your array of fifty-eight teeth glow white, like a range of snow mountains. Your face is peaceful. Your neck and chin are endowed with the richness of youth. The sound of your voice is as resplendent as the kalapanga bird. Your black mustache and beard are like the fur of a magnificent black bear. Your coloring is like a white conch shell that has been delicately painted with vermillion. Your perfect neck is shaped like a lovely vase. Praise to your presence! You are like a grand snow lion poised in full glory. Your shoulders are broad and arched in perfect proportion. Your toes and fingers are long and webbed. Your nails are the color of copper-red crystal, your navel attractive, like the stem of the lotus. Your male organ is drawn in and contracted, completely concealed like that of an elephant or horse. Your calves are like the legs of a deer, and your lotus feet are rich and fleshy. You pass through space in the flash of an instant, like a rainbow. Your ever-youthful presence supports limbs that are full and strong. When you smile, you are so attractive that not a fault can be found. Your presence is so pleasing that one cannot gaze upon you enough. your radiance blazes like an orb of light. To touch your skin brings unique vajra-bliss to everyone. You, Padmaasambhava, are the one who displays these marks of sublime excellence. Praise to the body of the buddhas that displays the thirty-two major marks.” Thus she offered prostrations and rendered praise with great devotion.

The vajra master was very pleased, and he offered the princess this response: “E ma! Your present relatives cannot be called loving relatives. The truly loving relative is the precious spiritual guide who leads one upon the true path, revealing the virtuous path and causing one to turn from the harmful path. Your present blood relatives are now objects of compassion and mercy, and ordinary relatives will only encourage you to pursue that which is other than the spiritual path. Count the many examples of this, and you will clearly see that this is indeed the cycle of existence.

“Unable to satisfy their endless needs and desires, beings suffer unceasingly. This is not the meaning of wealth and endowment at all. What you have finally found is the treasure of true wealth. The seven-fold wealth of the aryas is wealth that cannot be found externally. Except for that, all other attempts to acquire and maintain ordinary wealth are the cause of suffering. That which we call wealth is not found in existence or quiescence — it is instead your indwelling precious buddha nature. This is not widely recognized, and not recognizing it causes it to be wasted. Even if it is recognized, it is wasted if it is not sustained. The time has come to understand that negative circumstances can be transformed into spiritual power and attainment, and to make use of this truth. Utilize adversities and obstacles as the path!” Just by hearing these words, Princess Mandarava was naturally liberated.

King Viharadhara then offered to his daughter the flesh of a holy man, a wish-fulfilling jewel, and the wealth of the kingdom without exception. he supplicated the guru to transmit his noble qualities to him until the end of his life. He requested the vajra master to stay in the land of Zahor until all the people were led to fruition. For the next three years the vajra master turned the wheel of the vast ocean of the Buddha’s teachings.

When the kings of all directions heard the news that Mandarava had been offered to the vajra master, they felt deceived and angrily prepared their armies for war, aggressively advancing on the kingdom of Zahor from the four directions. The general Mahabala entered Zahor through a narrow ravine and captured some small villages. The vajra master intervened, using his miraculous powers against the enemies. In particular, he released the mandalas of the eight herukas, turning the aggressors back so that they all returned to their countries.

The vajra master gathered together the three hundred and sixty ministers of the king, the five queens, the five hundred servants of Mandarava, and one hundred and eight monks in his assembly, and turned the Dharma wheel for them. He taught the eight volumes on the sacred utterance and guardians, the five tantras on the condensed utterance of the Great Perfection, four volumes on the Heart Essence doctrine, five other titles, twenty tantras, and forty-two volumes of esoteric instructions.

Each and every one of his disciples was brought to fruition, and twelve becamemahasiddhas. All were established irreversibly on the spiritual path. The doctrine of Avalokiteshvara spread throughout the land of Zahor, and all its inhabitants were brought to fruition. The king eliminated all heretics from the kingdom, and his heir, the Vajra Guru Padmasambhava, took his seat on the throne to govern the entire kingdom thereafter.