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I had heard Padmasambhava referred to as a semi-mythic figure. Some of his reputed activities would fit a mythic character. However to what extent is he also a historical figure. What do we know about the historic as opposed to mythic Padmasambhava and what if any historic sources do we have about him and his activities.

  • Wikipedia says, "nothing is known ... apart from him helping the construction of a temple at Samye at the behest of Trisong Detsen and shortly being chased out of Tibet." – ChrisW Nov 9 '14 at 23:11
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The Tibetans think of Padmasambhava as the second most important person for their lineage.

http://www.dharmafellowship.org/biographies/historicalsaints/lord-padmasambhava.htm

Here is a sample from the link above - more is available for your reading or study

There is no doubt in the mind of every practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism that the second most unique and extraordinary exemplar of our whole lineage after Pramodavajra himself, was the powerful Lord Padmasambhava, the Wisdom Master who was chiefly instrumental in bringing the tradition to Tibet. Known as the Lotus Guru (padma-guru), the Saint Lama (guru Rinpoche) of Tibet, and as a "second Buddha", Padmasambhava1 shines with the incomparable brightness of the morning star in the world's firmament of stellar saints. Long before he was born, mystics and prophets were signaling his advent. During his life he drew the respect and veneration of kings and emperors and after his death the multitude made his memory into an imperishable icon of the Absolute.

The history offered is extensive so will let this quote be the introduction to a very long web page.

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