From Encyclopedia of Buddhism
(Redirected from Nyingmapa)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Padmasambhava. Wall painting at Paro bridge (Bhutan).

Nyingma (Tib. རྙིང་མ་, Wyl. rnying ma) — the Nyingma, or Ancient school of Tibetan Buddhism is the name given to the followers of those original translations of the teachings of the Buddha into Tibetan which were carried out up until the time of the Indian translator Smrtijñanakirti in the late tenth century. They are known as the ‘Earlier Translation School‘, Ngagyur Nyingma (Wyl. snga 'gyur rnying ma), distinguishing them from the ‘New Schools’, Sarma, such as the Kadam, Kagyü, Sakya, and eventually Gelug, which followed the later translations made from the time of the great translator Rinchen Zangpo (958-1055) onwards.


Padmasambhava was a tantric Buddhist master from India who is central to the lineage of the Nyingma tradition. Padmasambhava was invited to Tibet by King Trisong Detsen in the eighth century, and he is said to have stayed in Tibet for more than half a century.

Padmasambhava, together with King Trisong Detsen and the abbot Shantarakshita, founded the first monastic university of Samye, where many Indian panditas, such as Vimalamitra, came together with Tibetan translators to translate texts from India into the Tibetan language. Also at Samye, the first group of Tibetans were ordained as monks.

Teachings of the Nyingma School

The Nyingma teachings are divided into the Long Transmission (Tib. ring gyü) of Kama and the Short Transmission (Tib. nyé gyü) of Terma; other teachings were received by masters directly in Pure Visions (Tib. dak nang) from deities or gurus, in experiences or in dreams.

Particular to the Nyingma school is the division of the teachings into nine yanas (nine vehicles).


The special tantras of the Nyingmapas are the three inner tantras of Mahayoga, Anuyoga and Atiyoga or Dzogchen. Some of these appear in the Tibetan Kangyur, but most of the Nyingma tantras are included in a separate collection, known as the Nyingma Gyübum.

The Nyingma Gyübum was first compiled by the great tertön Ratna Lingpa (1403–78) after similar compilations of texts made in the 14th century, such as the Kangyur and the Tengyur, had omitted many of the Nyingma tantras.

External links

This article includes content from Nyingma on Rigpawiki (view authors). Licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0 RW icon height 18px.png