Buddhism was first introduced to Tibet in the eighth century when King Trisong Detsen invited the Indian master Santaraksita to teach the sacred Dharma to the Tibetan people. When Santaraksita arrived and he and the king began to build the first monastery, resentful mountain spirits interfered and created many obstacles. Realizing that the help of a realized master with control over physical reality was needed, the king invited Guru Padmasambhava to come and tame the angry spirits of Tibet.
Guru Padmasambhava, regarded as an emanation of Buddha Amitabha, was born miraculously from a lotus blossom in the land of Oddiyana located in present-day Pakistan. He was known far and wide for his miracle powers, including his ability to subdue spirits. At the request of the king, Guru Padmasambhava journeyed to Tibet and engaged the local nature spirits in magical combat. Conquering these spirits, he bound them by oath to protect the Dharma for all time. Evidence of his victories in these battles can still be seen throughout the valleys and villages of Tibet, where he is affectionately known as “Guru Padmasambhava,” meaning “Precious Master.”