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Nyingma: The Old Translation School

Although the name Nyingma or "Old School" is a retrospective label, the Nyingma historians recognize the Indian mystic Padmasambhava who came to Tibet in the 9th century as the School's real founder. Central to the Nyingma tradition is a set of scriptures recognized as terma, or "treasure texts". These are works believed to be written by Padmasambhava and hidden as spiritual treasures to be discovered by specially blessed masters when the time is most ripe for their reception.

Thus, according to the Nyingma tradition, there are three streams of transmission of spiritual teachings. These are:

1. The distant canonical lineage that traces its origin to the words of the historical Buddha,

2. The close lineage of the revealed treasures,

3. The profound lineage of pure visions that are said to emerge from spontaneous mystical experiences.

The best known of this school's teachings are the meditative practices related to Dzogchen, the so-called Great Perfection.

See also: Tibetan Buddhism