Padma Sambhava was invited to preach Buddhism in Tibet in the eighth century, was most influential in this role and subsequently deified. In the present thanka he is depicted at Samye monastery, founded by King Trisong Detsen in 775. Samye, like many other temple and monastery complexes, symbolizes the Buddhist universe in its mandala plan and the three stories of the central building were intended to be in three styles: Tibetan, Indian and Chinese. For a thanka illustrating a similar scene, but as a detail within a large portrait of Padma Sambhava, in the R. H. Ellsworth Collection, see Rhie and Thurman, Wisdom and Compassion, 1996, cat. no. 49.