Kunkhyen Drimed Ozer Longchen Rabjampa (1308-1363), the great Omniscient Lord of Dharma (Kunkhyen Choje), was one of the greatest Dzogchen masters in the Nyingma tradition, and also the most brilliant and original writer. He was the author of about 270 works, of which only about twenty-five survive, and amongst which the "Seven Treasuries" (Dzo Dun) and the "Three Trilogies" are most well-known to this very day. Longchenpa's "Seven Treasuries" were written to elucidate the extraordinarily profound meanings of the Seventeen Main Tantras of Dzogpa Chenpo and of the Nine Yanas. In order to transmit the actual practice of Dzogchen, Longchenpa collected his own terma teachings, together with those of Chetsun Senge Wangchuk and of Pema Ledreltsal ( the immediate previous incarnation of Longchenpa himself ), into five sets of "Nyingthig Yabzhi" in which he synthesized the "Khandro Nyingthig" of Guru Rinpoche and the "Vima Nyingthig" of Vimalamitra, and explained all the practical details in light of his own realizations as the " Three Inner Essences" ( the Lama Yangtik, the Khandro Yangtik and the Zabmo Yangtik ).

The "Canonical Teachings" (Kama) have thus been transmitted in an unbroken lineage directly from the Primordial Buddha Samantabhadra, all the way down to the present day. The Kama teachings that were collected by Terdak Lingpa (1646-1714, founder of the Mindroling Monastery) and his brother Lochen Dharma Shri (1654-1717), was later re-edited (and published in fifty-eight volumes) by the late Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche Jigdral Yeshe Dorje as the "Nyingma Kama"

The Short Transmission of the Terma Tradition

The Terma teachings are well known to have six lineages, since they possess three special lineages over and above the above-mentioned lineages. These are the lineage enpowered by enlightened aspirations, the lineage of prophetically declared spiritual succession, and the lineage of the dakinis' seal of entrustment. A more detailed description of these lineages can be found in Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche's The Fundamentals and History of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism (with the English translation by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein and published by Wisdom Publications, 199 Elm St., Somerville, MA.02144, U.S.A., 1990, pp.745-749).

These Terma teachings were concealed mainly by Guru Rinpoche and his spiritual consort Yeshe Tsogyal, to be revealed at the time most appropriate for their discovery by prophesized "Treasure Revealers"(Tertons), who are themselves incarnations of realized disciples of Guru Rinpoche. Guru Rinpoche first formulated the secret teachings by showing the method of attaining perfection (drub-t'ah) through the Tantras, the method of achieving the core techniques (men-ngag) through perfection, and instruction on how to put these core techniques into practice (lag-len). With the blessings (mon-lam), the authority of initiation (wang-kur), credentials of authority (te-gya), future prophecy (lung-ten),and so on, those secret teachings were then concealed in small boxes as Termas.Termas can be divided into Earth Termas (Sa-Ter) which usually employ physical objects, and Mind Termas (Gong-Ter) which are discovered within the mindstream of the Terton, through three different means: (a) the highest means-direct insight while in awakened state (tog-pa); (b) the medium means-through experiential knowledge; and (c) the lowest means-through dreams.

Furthermore, Terma teachings (Tercho) can be classified into three main types :

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