Buddhism in Tibet


The general history of Tibetan Buddhism, especially Ngagyur Nyingmapa,

The history of the spread and flourishing of the teachings of Buddha, the King of the Shakyas, are shared throughout the universe and in particular in Tibet has been illuminated by many great scholars and masters of the past.
The great masters Khenpo Khenlop Chosum, Guru Padmasambhava and the Dharma-king Trisong Duetsen introduced the Ngagyur Nyingma tradition ( the Ancient Translation School) by first translating the entire sutras and tantras into the Tibetan language. Their blessed efforts enabled the teachings of the Buddha Dharma to flourish like the shining sun.

The Transmission and Experiential teachings and practice of Great Buddha in this fortunate eon spread in every corners of the noble land of India. Even though the Buddha did not come to the Land of Snow –Tibet in reality, and it was unfortunate of Tibet not to have his real presence, but there were emanations of Avalokiteshvara, Vajrapani and Manjushree, the Three Family Lords: Chogyal Moeyon Namsum, and the twenty five disciples of Guru Padmasambhava. They all vowed to nurture Tibet and brought the teachings of the Buddha into light.

As it is said in the Eight Thousand Verses of the Prajnaparamita Sutra:

“Shariputra, the teachings of the transcendental wisdom and its related sutra will flourish in the Southern province after the parinirvana of the Buddha and at the end when Dharma will diminish. From the South it will be brought to the barbaric land and from that barbaric land it will be brought to the Northern direction because the Vinaya teachings will not be their antidote.”

Also from the sutra requested by King Drimed states:

“2500 years after the parinirvana of the Buddha, the Dharma teachings will be flourished in the land of the red face, and so on and so forth.”

1. The Beginning of the Dharma
When Lhatho Thori Nyen Tsen, the incarnation of the Bodhisattva Kuntuzangpo was in Yumbu Lagang Palace, a golden casket landed on the rooftop of the palace. When he opened it he saw the Hundredfold Homage for Mending Breaches, Skt. Sakshi Purnam Sudraka. A mould engraved with the Dharanis of Chintamani. In it was the Sutra Designed as a Jewel Chest, Skt: Ratnakaranda Sutra; the Six Syllables and a Golden Stupa. The prophecy said that in five generations the meaning of those would be understood. This was the way the Dharma was first established.

2. The Tradition Established
It is said in the Root Manjushree Tantra:
In the land named as “Divine” (Lha),
Situated in the mountains of snow,
A king called as the Divine,
Will be born in the family of Litsabi.

Such as this and other similar prophecies, a great being, King Songtsen Gampo, an emanation of Avalokiteshvara was born. He was crowned as the King at the age of 13. Since there was no written language at that time in Tibet, he sent his wisest minister, Thonmi Sambhota to India to study the Sanskrit language. Thonmi Sambhota learned and mastered different fields and in particular, the art of language. He then created the Tibetan written language and composed the Eight Texts of Tibetan Language. He also translated the 21 sutras and tantras of Avalokiteshvara and so forth. The Dharma King Songtsen Gampo propagated the 10 wholesome actions and enforced the 16 pure humanitarian doctrines. From the heart of the sandalwood trees of southern India he revealed the Eleven-Face Avaloketishvara. He also revealed the other emanations of the Wrathful Mother: the Nepali Lady Thritsun, Buddha Akshobya (Lha Mikyod Dorje), Jampa Chhokhor, and a Mother Tara from a sandalwood and so forth. From China he invited Kong Jo, the emanation of Noble Mother Tara and a twelve-year-old Buddha Shakyamuni. And later built many monasteries for the vinaya practice. From India he invited the great master Kusara, and from China he invited the great scholar Hashang Mahayana and others. Having invited them, they began the Dharma teachings translating the Tripitakas and the Root tantras.

3. The Flourishment of the Dharma
Thrisong Duetsen, the emanation of Noble Manjushree inscribed the phophecy on a copper plate that during the period of the rule from his grandfather Srongtsen Gampo and to his great grandson Gyalpo De that Dharma would flourish. After the installation, all came true as Songtsen Gampo became the King when he was thirteen years old. Till he was 20 he flourished the Dharma and cultivating the precious mind to benefit all sentient beings.

King Songtsen Gampo invited the Zahor Khenpo Bodhisattva Shanta Rakshita to gave the teachings on the 10 virtuous actions and the 18 psychophysical constituents. During that time the demon and evil was hostile and forceful knowing that it was impossible to tame through peaceful manner, King Songtsen Gampo envisioned the powerful activity of Guru Pemasambhava, who was endowed with miraculous power and magical display. Subsequently, Guru Pemasambhava was invited as prophesized. He then subdued all evil and malicious beings and made them vow to protect the Buddha Dharma. Through his miraculous power he traveled all corners of Tibet and blessed each and every place he visited. Khenpo investigated the place, and Guru Pemasambhava brought all gods and demons under his power and control. Keeping in example of the Odantapuri temple, they built the Samye Temple.

Then Khenpo and Guru Pemasambhava translated many texts of Sutra and Tantras. Wishing to plant the foundation of Buddha Dharma, they trained the most intelligent children of Tibet to become translators. They invited holy masters and teachers from India and founded the vinaya tradition of the Buddha Dharma. Translators like Vairochana, Kawapeltseg and Chogro Luigyaltsen, who were the emanations of Manjushree, translated the Kangyur, the canon, and the Tangyur, the commentaries to the Buddha’s teachings.
In the snowy mountains, cliff hills and lakes Guru Pemasambhava buried treasure teachings and spread the glorious sun of the Buddha Dharma in every corners of Tibet. Although later, during the time of King Langdarma, the teachings of the sutra diminished yet great lamas like Gongpa Rabsel, Mar Yo and Tsang and other revived the Vinaya tradition and thus it was called the Latter Phase of Vinaya practice. The tradition of the Secret Tantra that is alive here in this present day is because of the kindness of Nubchen Sangyay Yeshe and so forth.

4. Specifying the Dharma Lineage of Ngagyur Nyingmapa in particular
In the Vajrayana tradition of the ancient translation school there are:
1. The extraordinary long (Kama) oral lineage;
2. The extraordinary direct revealed treasure lineage; and
3. The extraordinary profound pure vision lineage.

First, the Kama lineage is:
1. The wisdom mind lineage of the Buddhas;
2. The symbolic lineage of the awareness-holders; and
3. The person to person oral lineage.

Second, the direct Terma lineages:
In the degenerate time it might be possible that the blessings of the Kama lineage could become frail because of many interruptions in its stream, or veiled by broken commitments (samaya) and unadulterated by evil spirits. Revealed treasures are teachings revealed by Tertons or treasure revealers. They are emanations of the great Orgyen Guru. Their being are nurtured by him giving them empowerments and instructions of maturation and entrusted with the power to reveal the undiminished warm breath of the Dakinis. These are incomparable and powerful blessings of the direct lineage. These profound lineages are counted as six, seven and nine lineage traditions.

The six-lineages tradition:
1. The wisdom mind lineage of the Buddhas;
2. The symbolic lineage of the awareness-holders;
3. The person to person oral lineage;
4. The Dakini-entrusted lineage;
5. The lineage empowered by enlightened aspiration; and
6. The Whispered Oral Teachings lineage.

The seven-lineage tradition:
1. The wisdom mind lineage of the Buddhas;
2. The symbolic lineage of the awareness-holders;
3. The person to person oral lineage;
4. The Dakini-entrusted lineage;
5. The lineage empowered by enlightened aspiration;
6. The lineage of prophetically declared spiritual succession; and
7. The lineage of instruction of experience.

The nine-lineage tradition:
1. The wisdom mind lineage of the Buddhas;
2. The symbolic lineage of the awareness-holders;
3. The person to person oral lineage;
4. The Dakini-entrusted lineage;
5. The lineage empowered by enlightened aspiration;
6. The lineage of prophetically declared spiritual succession;
7. The lineage of instruction of experience;
8. The Red oral lineage; and
9. The enlightened activity practice lineage.

3. The classification or differentiation of the revealed treasure:
In general, there are infinite numbers of revealed treasure because of the different level of capacities of beings to be tamed, befitting them, that many treasures are there. Yet to specify them briefly:

First, the treasure classified through its origin are the treasure revealed from earth, rocks, mountains, cliffs, lakes and so forth are called the Earth Treasure.

Second, treasure left as magical letters in the sky, which cannot be destroyed or changed by elements, but later revealed to individual treasure revealers are called the Sky Treasures

Third, beings endowed with the utmost stability of their meditation on the luminosity of view, the profound dharma treasure that naturally erupts unceasingly from the great expanse are the Treasures of the Enlightened View, and
Fourth, when impure vision of deluded appearances are exhausted, the treasure revealed through the nature of pure vision is called the Profound Pure Vision Treasure.

Classification of Treasures as per their nature:
1. Because of the vast and profound nature in the aspect of the teachings of the Buddhas and the commentaries are called the Dharma Treasures;

2. The treasures found in as gold, silver, precious jewels and so forth are called the Wealth Treasures;

3. Treasure revealed in the form of amrita, nectar, Dharma medicine and so forth are the Sacred Holy Substance Treasures.

Classification of Treasures as per view of opinion or belief:
1. A complete source of unmistaken path taught for an individual toward enlightenment is called the Revealed Dharma Treasure;

2. Activities and applications shown in partial or in little pieces are called the Branch Treasures.

5. The Purpose of the Revealed Treasure:
As the master Jigme Lingpa said: “The purpose of the revealed treasure is so that dharma teachings will not disappear; that pith instructions will not be mistaken; that blessings will not fade, and the connection will be direct, and make the lineage closer.”

Merely revealing a treasure reduces the power of negativities of human and non-human beings. It develops the splendor and blessings of positive qualities. It pacifies the misfortune of sickness, famine, warfare, dispute and so forth. It is also said that it pacifies the obstacles in the life and enlightened activities of dharma lineage holders and immediately gives birth to good qualities. In brief, it multiplies in abundance of dharma, wealth and prosperity. It will bring wondrous excellence to the enlightened activities of the four liberations even at the peak of degenerate time when the vinaya does not exist. It will flourish the secret tantra without declining, and perpetuate the vast enlightened activities of liberating all sentient beings that are hard to be tamed. As the speech of Guru Rinpoche says: “In the time of degeneration, the doctrine of the Buddha will be nurtured by the Treasure teachings.” Like these precious words it is been said that till the teaching of the Buddha Maitreya appear and spread, the profound treasure of the Tantra will prevail without diminishing.

6. The Classification of the Profound Pure Vision Lineage
Although it is not necessary to classify the teachings of the Profound Pure Vision Lineage as all of these either fall into the Sky Treasure lineage or Enlightened Mind Treasure lineage, yet in the terms of Ancient Translation it is said: the distant lineage Kama; the closer lineage Terma; and the extremely closer lineage the Profound Pure Vision lineage.

Therefore, it is classified into the three-lineage tradition. Here it is described briefly the origination of the Profound Pure Vision lineage in two aspects:
1. Authenticated through the teachings and prophecies of the Enlightened Ones, and
2. How the Panditas of India and the accomplished masters of Tibet received these Heart Treasures, Enlightened Mind Treasures and the Sky Treasures they revealed.

As it is said in the Bodhisattva Sublime Aspirational Prayers:
May all sentient beings hear
The unceasing sound of Dharma
From birds, from trees,
From all the light and rays, and from the sky.

Like that, because sublime beings through the powerful aspiration of bodhicitta do not lack the absence of any phenomenon, they hear the unceasing sounds of Dharma from elements, wild animals, from the sky and so on. This aspect shows how the Enlightened Mind Treasures are revealed through the Profound Pure Vision. Moreover, because there is only pure vision in the sublime beings’ nature, not single impure phenomena arise. The vast appearances of the profound instructions arise from the ever-revolving wheel of eternity of past, present and future, which arises the continual wondrous and marvelous deities of the three roots and the teachings of dharma.

All these infinite treasures revealed from the vast expanse realization of Panditas of India and accomplished masters of Tibet, and Tertons (treasure revealers) and their mind treasure appropriate for beings depending on individual inspiration and intellectual capacities and fortunate beings that are worthy said from the sutra as:

When the confidence of certainty of the ultimate is found,
The myriads dharma treasures overflow in the mind.
Hence, the appearance of the profound pure vision dharma is proved through such statement.


from the nyidrag website http://www.nyidrakdrodulling.org

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