(1) Lama - the peaceful and wrathful sadhanas on Guru Rinpoche, usually divided up into outer, inner, secret and innermost secret cycles;
(2) Dzogchen - teachings on Ati-yoga (Dzogpa Chenpo); and
(3) Thugje Chenpo (La Dzog Tuk Sum) - sadhanas of the Great Compassionate One, Avalokiteshvara.

Those Tertons who have discovered and revealed all the three parts of Tercho are considered as Great Tertons, while those who have discovered and revealed only one or two parts of Tercho are considered as Minor Tertons. It was prophesized by Guru Rinpoche that there will be more than one hundred Great Tertons and hundreds of Minor Tertons.

The following verses came from "The Text of Wonder Ocean : An Explanation of the Dharma Treasure Tradition"(gTer Gyi rNam bShad) by the Third Dodrupchen Rinpoche, Jigme Tenpe Nyima (one of the eight sons of Dudjom Lingpa) and is translated by Ven. Tulku Thondup Rinpoche. In a prophetic introduction (kha byang) of Dor Sam (Vajrasattva) discovered from O kar trag, it is mentioned :

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"The master Padmasambhava In the land of the red-faced ones (Tibet) Lit the lamp of the esoteric and exoteric Dharma, Dispelled the darkness of defiled emotions. Since the people of the future will be loose-disciplined, They will practice the teachings with selfish view and in a narrow-minded manner. At that time, The effect of the general teachings and practices will have disappeared. Even if they do practice it will be fruitless and tiring. Therefore the Omniscient One (Guru Rinpoche), with his wisdom for Helping living beings, have All the profound teachings Sealed with his command and concealed as the Termas. When the various signs (for discovering) and the Disciples have appeared, Those concealed teachings will appear gradually and will benefit people. For this purpose, He made the aspirations and entrustments."

[Tulku Thondup Rinpoche, 1986. Edited by Harold Talbott. Reprinted from Hidden Teachings of Tibet with permission of Wisdom Publications, 199 Elm St., Somerville, MA.02144, U.S.A., www.wisdompubs.org, pp.145-6.]

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In this way, the Terma teachings are first concealed, and then later to be revealed by the predicted Tertons, are all due to the great power of aspirations made by the assembly of Guru Rinpoche, the King and the subjects, for the benefit of the future beings of the Dark Age, and also because of the power of the blessings of Dakas and Dakinis. This is the reason why just by the revelation and discovery of the Termas that various important results would occur.The power of evil human and non-human beings will decline, while the radiance of virtuous beings will increase, and the degenerations of the Dark Age ( i.e. diseases, famine, wars and so on ) will be pacified. They will also help to extend the duration of life of the Canonical Transmission" (Kama), as well as to dispel the obstructions to the lives and activities of the Masters of the Holy Doctrine.

In short, the concealment of the Termas has four great purposes, as mentioned by Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa in his Explanation of the Empowerment of Trol-thig:

(1) to prevent the doctrine from disappearing;
(2) to prevent the teaching from being contaminated;
(3) to prevent the power of blessing from disappearing;
(4) to shorten the lineage of transmission.

Also, Guru Rinpoche knew that, from time to time, numerous fears of various kinds, such as factional fighting, disease, political disorders, and the destruction of the Dharma by powerful kings and ministers would occur. And so, for the purpose of pacifying all these obstructions, Guru Rinpoche blessed and prophesized accomplished Tertons to appear at different times, who would discover various teachings of practices on appropriate deities, mantras and activities at the proper moment, just as different medicine is given to different illnesses (like the "time capsule"of today). These Dharma Treasures (Terchos) are the teachings which possess the "warm breath"of Guru Rinpoche himself. As there are no contaminations and errors in them, and so they are extremely powerful, they have almost no obstructions for the practices, their accomplishments are easy to attain, and their fruits are swiftly achieved.

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