The image of Padma Sambhava is located at the right side of the cathedral. In the 8th century, during the reign of King Trisong Duetsen of Tibet, When the cathedral of Samye was built, Padma Sambhava, whom Tibetan reverently address as Guru Rinpoche subdued all the enemies of the Dharma.
Inspired by an indomitable will and motivated with boundless benevolence, he laid the foundation for a secure flourishing of the Buddha Dharma in Tibet. The greatness of Padma Sambhava can be gauged from the paraphrase of homage made by His Holiness Gendun Gyatso, the second Dalai Lama. He says “I genuflect with sincere respect to the accomplished Tantric Sage, Guru Padma Sambhava who manifested different forms of reincarnation of supreme enlightened personalities, such as revered Vajra Pani rJe Tsongkhapa and the glorious Atisha, the precious crown Jewel of 500 wise men”.
Panchen Rinpoche (Lobsang choe kyi gyaltsen Pal Sangpo) has also paid tribute to Padma Sambhava in identical terms. “In the old times, Padma Sambhava lived as the accomplished tantric sage, and later, as glorious Atisha, Dipankar shri gyan, he appeared as the father of all rJe Tsongkhapa, in this decadent period, performing various emanations of scholar and adept through miraculous Dharmakaya”.
Tibetan people have a special reverence for him and look upon him with gratitude for the many deeds and great performances displayed for him by the sake of Buddhism and for the happiness of living beings dwelling in the land of snow. His protection and blessing are specially needed at the time when Tibet is suffering so much under the aggressor’s barbarian rule. May his blessing and energy act to dispel all hindrances in the manner as a heap of sand dissolves itself. Then cool, solace –providing image of Padma Sambhava measures over 12 feet high from the lotus seat and is made of gilded bronze polished with gold. Located on the western side of the cathedral, the image is seen facing towards Tibet.