These seven lines are said to have originated as a supplication given to the Buddhist scholars at Nalanda by the vajra dakinis as a means of inviting Padmakara to preside over the assembly and enable them to defeat the heretics present. Padmakara gave this supplication to King Trisong Detsen and his subjects upon coming to Tibet. He also hid this in many termas and so it was repeatedly discovered by many tertöns (“treasure discoverers”) in later centuries.
In the Nyingma tradition, this supplication is recited three times at the beginning of any practice. It is also very often used among Kagyüpas and Sakyapas. More information on the chant can be found in Tulku Thondup’s Commentary on the Seven Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche (Mahasiddha Nyingmapa Center, 1979).
Padmakara (“Lotus Born”), also known as Guru Rinpoche or Padmasambhava, was the Indian master who helped to establish the Buddhist teachings in Tibet during the eighth century, founding the Nyingma (“ancient”) lineage. He overcame numerous obstacles and conquered the local Tibetan deities, binding them as guardians of the Buddhist teachings. Through his activity, the founding of Samye, Tibet’s first monastery, became possible.
The symbol at the end of each line shows that it is a line of terma, or discovered text, originally concealed by Padmakara himself for the benefit of future practitioners.
HUM: A seed syllable that invokes the mind of Padmakara. It represents the mind of all the buddhas.
Uddiyana: Birthplace of Padmasambhava; also regarded as the realm of the dakinis.
lotus flower: Padmasambhava is said to have been born from a lotus, a symbol of purity rising out of the mud of confusion.
siddhi: Yogic achievement, ordinary or supreme. Ordinary siddhis involve mastery over the phenomenal world; the supreme siddhi is enlightenment.
dakini: A wrathful or semiwrathful feminine deity, embodying the qualities of emptiness and prajna. Dakinis are tricky and playful, representing the fertile space out of which the play of samsara and nirvana arises.
GURU (Tib. lama): teacher or spiritual guide; the one to whom no one is superior.
PADMA: That is, Padmakara.
GURU-PADMA-SIDDHI HUM: The Sanskrit mantra means “[Grant me] the accom-plishment of Guru Padmakara HUM.