Kama (Tibetan Buddhism)

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Kama (Tib. བཀའ་མ་, Wyl. bka' ma), in the Tibetan language, means ”the words of the Buddha". In general, it refers to all the teachings given by the Buddha--in the Tibetan tradition, this includes teachings given by the Buddha in the form of Buddha Shakyamuni, but also Samantabhadra, Vajradhara and so on, and that have transmitted orally from master to student from the buddha to the present day.

All Buddhist traditions transmit the teachings of the words of the Buddha orally, from teacher to student. However, the Nyingma tradition of Tibet also recognizes a category of teachings called terma. The terma teachings are said to have been hidden by Guru Rinpoche during the 8th century, so that they might be "re-discovered" for future generations, by the appropriate teacher at the appropriate time.

Therefore, the Nyingmapa tradition speaks of the kama and terma as the two main sets of teachings. Their kama teachings have been gathered in the Nyingma Kama collection, and the termas in the Treasury of Precious Termas.

Alternative translations

  • Spoken teachings (Jacob Dalton)
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