The Palyul Lineage
is part of the Nyingma
School, which is the oldest tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Its origins
go back to the eighth century reign of the Dharma King Trisong Deutsen
in Tibet. During this time, with the help of Acharya Padmasambhava
and Bodhisativa Shantarakshita, the teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha and
commentaries of the Indian scholars of Nalanda University were translated
in very pure form at Samye, the first Tibetan monastery.
The Nyingma teachings are uniquely categorized in nine yanas, or vehicles.
The main practices are emphasized in the three inner tantras of Maha Yoga,
Anu Yoga, and Ati Yoga. Ati Yoga is also known as the Great Perfection,
Dzogpa Chenpo, or simply as Dzogchen. The practice of Dzogchen is the
heart of the Nyingma tradition. It is the most ancient and direct stream
of wisdom within the teachings of Buddhism. Mipham Rinpoche (1846-1912),
one of the greatest scholars and masters of Tibet, wrote:
"Crowning the banner of the complete
teaching of Buddha is the beautiful ornament of the
clear light teachings of Dzogpa Chenpo."
Through the practice and realization of these
teachings, tens of thousands of beings have become
enlightened. The Dzogchen teachings are the
clearest, most effective and most relevant for the needs of aspirants
today. As Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche said:
"Due to the degeneration of time, human
beings' minds have become more complex and deluded in
their attachment to the external world. So, this age
of extreme confusion demands a teaching of comparably
extreme power and clarity. "
The Dzogchen teachings have been passed down in
an unbroken line from teacher to student from the
Primordial Buddha Samatabhadra to the present day,
retaining all their freshness, immediacy and power.
As HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche further explains:
The Nyingma school particularly places an emphasis on practice. His Holiness Penor Rinpoche similarly places this emphasis in the retreat environment. To read more about His Holiness Penor Rinpoche's training, click here To read about The Palyul Lineage, click here.
"Dzogchen is a state, the primordial
state, that state of total awakening that is the heart-essence of all buddhas and all spiritual paths, and the summit of an individual's spiritual evolution. "
Historically, the Land of Snows had many Dharma kings who were manifestations
of the Three Classes of Deities: Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri, and Vajrapani. The
dharma first originated during the reign of the 28th King, Lha-Tho-Tho-Ri-Nyentsen.
In 433 A.D. when he was 60, a Buddhist scripture called Pang Kong Chag Gya Pa
fell onto his palace rooftops, along with a few other religious objects. During
the reign of Songtsen Gampo (617-698), the 33rd King of Tibet, the Tibetan Script
was created, and hundreds of temples were built, including Rasa Thrulnang. Scores
of sutra teachings were translated and the rules of the divine doctrine of ten
virtuous actions and the sixteen worldly principles were laid down. Tibetan history
considers this period as the time when Buddhadharma was firmly established in
History of the Nyingmapa
The 38th King, Trisong Deutsen (790-858), fully propagated the Buddha’s
teaching in the whole of Tibet by inviting one hundred and eight eminent
scholars and masters from India, the Land of the Aryas, including Guru
Padmasambhava, Acharya Shantarakshita, Pandita Vimalamitra and so on.
Vairocana, Kawa Peltseg, Chogro Lui Gyaltsen, Shang Yeshe De and many
other outstanding translators translated most of the sutra and tantra
teachings prevalent in India at that time. Guru Rinpoche brought through
his supernatural powers, many esoteric teachings of the Unsurpassed
Tantra from various places, including countries other than India and
even non-human areas, for the benefit of beings in Tibet. Thus the
teachings of Nine Yanas spread throughout all of Tibet like the rays
of sun. During the rule of Tri Relpachen (866-901) the 41st King, the
previously translated works were edited. At this time recognition was
given to two classes of sangha: monks, those who wear maroon robes,
and lay practitioners, who wear white clothes and long hair.
Gradually many scholars and masters who held this tradition came to
Tibet, and until the present day the teachings of sutra and tantra
continue to be practiced without degeneration. Due to differences in
translation between the period of the first or earlier translations
and the later translations, there came about in Tibet the traditions
of the Nyingmapa (the ‘old ones’) and the Sarmapa (the ‘new
ones’). What has been mentioned above is a brief account of the
origination of the earlier translations in the beginning, then its
subsequent establishment, and finally its dispersion throughout the
The Nyingma tradition includes two types of teachings: Kama and terma.
Kama teachings are preserved through the lineage of teachers and students.
Terma teachings are those which were concealed by Guru Rinpoche for
the benefit of future beings and were later revealed by accomplished
masters. Large monasteries that practiced both kama and terma teachings
came to be known as ‘ma-gon’ or mother monasteries. Smaller
monasteries originating from these are called ‘bu-gon’,
son monasteries. From these as well small monasteries were born, which
are called ‘yang-gon’ or additional monasteries.
Historically, there have been two different listings of the six mother
Nyingma monasteries. Earlier they included Dorje Drag, Mindroling and
Palri Monasteries in Upper Tibet; and Kathok, Palyul and Dzogchen monasteries
in Lower Tibet. Following the decline of Chongye Palri Thegchog Ling
monastery and the flourishing of Shechen Monastery, the mother monasteries
became Dorje Drag and Mindroling in the upper region, Shechen and Dzogchen
in the center, and Kathok and Palyul in the lower part of Tibet. These
six great mother monasteries uphold the distinct Nyingma teachings
to this day and their reputation reaches far and wide.