The Nyingma Tradition

The Nyingma tradition, the old Secret Tantra, classifies the Buddha's Dharm a into nine successive Vehicles, collectively contained in the Cause Vehicle and the Result Vehicle of Tantra. The Cause Vehicle has three divisions: the Hinayana Vehicle of the Sravakas, the Hinayana Vehicle of Pratyekabuddhas and the Mahayana Vehicle of the Bodhisattvas. In the Result Vehicle of Tantra there are two divisions: the three Outer Tantric Vehicles, and the three great methods of the Inner Tantric Class. All these have a great many definitions and explanations concerning their view, meditation, action and result, but it is not possible to write these explanations here.

There are three lineages in the old translations of the Nyingma Tantras: the 'Distant Oral Lineage' (Tibetan: Ring.rGyud.bKah.ma from the direct oral teachings of the Buddha); the 'Near Treasure Lineage' (Tib: Nye.rGud.gTer.ma - from teachings of discovered treasure texts, written and concealed in holy places by Guru Rinpoche, Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal and others, for the benefit of future generations), and the 'Lineage of Profound Pure Visions' (Tib: Zab.mo.dag.sNang - from teachings received by various Saints during visions in meditation and post-meditation).

The Kadam Tradition
The Sarma Tradition of new translations of the Tantras is also called the Jowo Kadam tradition. This tradition had innumerable Dharma holders. These include Atisha, Gyalwa Dromotonba, the Three Brothers, etc. The old Kadampa spread into the Sakya and Kagyud Lineages.

The Gelug Tradition
Manjushri Tzong Kapa (founder of the Gelug tradition, sometimes called the new Kadampa) firmly established himself in the old Kadampa and propagated the teachings of the Vinaya, Sutra, Madhyamika, Prajnaparamita, Secret Tantra, etc. His vast tradition came to cover the entire earth. He explained his view of the meanings of the Sutras and Tantras with the aid of his special Deity and his own analytical wisdom, which came from the treasure chest of very deep wisdom. Many of the unique qualities of his teachings can be clearly seen in his excellent explanations.

The Sakya Tradition
The Sakya tradition was established by the Five Great Masters (Tib:r.Je.tzun.gong. ma.lnga), who based their teachings on those of the conquering Yogi, the Great Virupa. They also followed the teachings of Naropa and Dorje Denpa etc. and held the Sutra and Tantra lineages of many other great Indian scholars and Saints. The Sakya tradition also came to practise some of the Nyingma 'old' translations of the Tantras, such as Yang.dag.phur.ba (Pure Dagger), which became part of the Khon tradition. Similarly, many other extraordinary and sublime teachings still exist today, their lineages unbroken.

Sakya Pandita, the crowning ornament of all the Learned Ones of this earth, is famous for having defeated Trogje Gawo (the non-Buddhist Indian scholar) in debate. Except for this outstanding example, no other masters are known for having done likewise at that time.

There are three traditions holding the lineage of Sakya Pandita: the Sakya, the Ngor and the Tshar. From the root of the Sakya tradition came the three renowned lineages of Bulug, Jonang and Bodong. From all these, a few minor differences in their views of the Sutras and Tantras have emerged from their explanations.

The Kagyud Tradition
The Kagyud tradition developed from the teachings of Naropa and Maitripa. The main founders of all the sects of the Kagyud are the three Great Masters: Marpa, Milarepa and Gampopa. From these three Masters the Kagyud Lineage scattered into the four major and eight minor Lineages. It was from Gampopa's disciple, Phagmo Drupa that most of these lineages of the Kagyud tradition came,



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