Presented by Nicolas Sihlé.
Discussants: Mona Schrempf and Liu Kuo-Wei.
Facilitator: Benjamin Bogin or Elena Pakhoutova
As the Tibetan Buddhist traditions continue to spread beyond the Himalayas and Tibetan regions to mainland China, Taiwan, and around the world, Padmasambhava’s mastery of tantric ritual is celebrated as much as his teachings. In particular, the tenth day of each lunar month is devoted to the worship of the Lotus-born Guru. This is an occasion for village communal rituals as well as key gatherings for the non-monastic specialists of tantric ritual (ngakpa).
In contemporary Bhutan, some tantric healers, called “treasure lords,” perform rites invoking the origin narratives about Padmasambhava’s powers as a healer, while lay pilgrims visit his meditation and treasure sites where they seek blessings, fertility, and healing from the Guru’s traces and relics in the natural environment.
Contemporary Buddhist centers whose charismatic Tibetan teachers trace their lineages to Padmasambhava’s teachings, such as distinctive traditions from the eastern Tibetan Kham region, became prevalent in Taiwan. These networked centers engage both in meditative contemplation and ritual in new and engaging ways that invite diverse following.