Nyingma School of the Early Translations

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Old School of the Early Translations (snga 'gyur rnying ma). See Nyingma School.


Nyingma is also known as the Old School of the Early Translations. Although there were no new or old schools in India, these names are given to the early and later spread of the teachings in Tibet. Translations up to and including King Triral (866-901) are called the Nyingma School of Early Translations and later ones are known as the New Schools of Later Translations. Lord Atisha (982-1054) and Lochen Rinchen Sangpo (957-1055), respectively, are renowned as the first pandita and translator of the New Schools of Secret Mantra and they are noted as being contemporaries of the lord Smritijnana. Ratna’s History of the Dharma reports that Tsandraghirti (Chandrakirti) was the last translator of the Nyingma School while Lochen Rinchen Sangpo was the first of the Sarma Schools. [JOKYAB] [DKR]

The Nyingma School possesses three great transmissions: the extensive Kama, the profound Terma and the short lineage of Pure Vision. The extensive Kama is also called the long lineage, the profound Terma is called the short lineage, while Pure Vision is the extremely short lineage. [JOKYAB]

According to the view of Rongzom Chökyi Sangpo, the Early Translation School possess six superior qualities:

  1. the greatness of the benefactor who made the invitations,
  2. the greatness of the site where the teachings were translated,
  3. the greatness of the lotsawas who made the translations,
  4. the greatness of the panditas who clarified the translations,
  5. the greatness of the offerings and gifts, and
  6. the greatness of the translated teachings.

The Nyingma School of Secret Mantra, exalted by these six special qualities possesses also the three special qualities of transmission: The Kama lineage that is spoken orally, the Terma lineage that is bestowed subsequently, and the Pure Vision lineage that is given as blessings. [JOKYAB]

The three special qualities of the terma treasures can also be: the terma teaching possesses the great warmth of blessings because of having a close lineage; it is a pure source because of having the scriptural proof of the terma letters, and it is a never waning profound path because it appears at the appropriate time for those to be tamed. [DKR]

from Light of Wisdom, Volume 1, Erik Pema Kunsang