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Lineage (brgyud pa)

  • The term "lineage" (Skt. paraṃparā) refers to an unbroken line of succesive teachers through whom the Buddhist, medical or divinatory teachings are transmitted. According to the rNying-ma tradition, six spiritual lineages have been identified: 1) the intentional lineage of the conquerors (rgyal ba'i dgongs brgyud), through which the buddha-body of actual reality telepathically communicates the teachings to the buddha-body of perfect resource; 2) the symbolic lineage of the awareness-holders (rig 'dzin brda'i brgyud pa), through which non-human and human awareness-holders of the highest spiritual accomplishments symbolically transmit the teachings to bodhisattvas of the tenth level; 3) the aural lineage of authoritative personages (gang zag snyan khung gi brgyud pa), through which accomplished masters orally transmit the teachings from one generation to the next; 4) the lineage empowered by enlightened aspiration (smon lam dbang bskur gyi brgyud pa), through which a treasure-finder of concealed texts is identified by their concealer's solemn affirmation, 5) the lineage of prophetically declared spiritual succession (bka' babs lung bstan gyi brgyud pa), through which a treasure-finder of concealed texts is identified from the authoritative prophesies of Padmasambhava, and 6) the lineage of the ḍākinis' seal of entrustment (mkha' 'gro gtad rgya'i brgyud pa), through which a treasure-finder is granted codified teachings by the lords of the treasure in fulfilment of the concealer's former aspiration. It is important for the continuity of the teachings and their efficacy, that they are correctly received and imparted by authoritative lineage-holders. GD (from the Glossary to Tibetan Elemental Divination Paintings)