Nyingma tantras – Beyond the methods of Highest Yoga

EN English English

The doxography employed by the Nyingma tradition to categorize the whole of the Buddhist path is unique.

Nyingmapas’s division of Buddhist paths

Nyingmapas divide the Buddhist path into 3 sutra systems, 3 outer tantras and 3 inner tantras.

Sutra system

  • Śrāvakayāna
  • Pratyekabuddhayāna
  • Bodhisattvayāna

Outer tantras

  • Kriyā
  • Carya or Ubhaya
  • Yogatantra

Inner tantras

In the later schools the inner tantric teachings are known as Anuttarayoga Tantra, which corresponds to Mahayoga in the Nyingma system, while the Mahamudra teachings of the later schools are said to lead to similar results as the Dzogchen teachings.

The core scriptures of the teachings

The of the Ancients are an important collection of tantras in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.

They comprise the core scriptures of the “esoteric instruction series” (Menngagde) of Dzogchen teachings and are its most authoritative scriptures.

The Seventeen Tantras are part of the Vima Nyingthig (“Inner Essence of Vimalamitra”).

The Vima Nyingthig itself consists of ‘tantras’, ‘agamas’, and ‘upadeshas’.

The main Dzogchen sources (like the Seventeen tantras) are seen as communicating a path that goes beyond the methods of Highest Yoga Tantra.

The view of Dzogchen

The Seventeen Tantras explain the view of Dzogchen, the two main forms of Dzogchen meditation (sgom pa) – kadag trekchö (“the cutting through of primordial purity”), and lhündrub tögal (“the direct crossing of spontaneous presence”) – and the conduct (spyod pa) of a Dzogchen practitioner, along with other ancillary topics.

In this short video Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche explains in simple word what is the view of Dzogchen:

List of tantras in Nyingma teachings

This is a non-exhaustive list of tantras transmitted by Nyingma teachers to Tibetan Buddhism practitioners.


Mahāyoga is the designation of the first of the three Inner Tantras according to the ninefold division of practice used by the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Longchen Nyingthig

is a terma, revealed scripture, of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, which gives a systematic explanation of Dzogchen. It was revealed by Jigme Lingpa (1730-1798).


In Tibetan Buddhism and Bön, is the name referring to a cycle or mandala of 100 peaceful (zhi) and wrathful (khro) tantric deities and of a genre of scriptures and associated tantric practices which focus on those deities which represent the purified elements of the body and mind. These hundred peaceful and wrathful deities are believed to manifest to a deceased person following the dissolution of the body and consciousness in the intermediate state, or bardo, between death and rebirth. The best-known, though by no means only, example of this genre of texts and practices is commonly known as the Kar-ling Zhitro cycle after Karma Lingpa, the tertön who (re)discovered or revealed this collection of texts. The text which is well known in the west as “Tibetan Book of the Dead” forms one section of Karma Lingpa’s Zhitro cycle.

Guhyagarbha tantra

The is the main tantra of the Mahayoga class and the primary Tantric text studied in the Nyingma tradition as a key to understanding empowerment, samaya, mantras, mandalas and other Vajrayana topics.

The Maṇi Kambum is a Tibetan Buddhist terma text which contains teachings connected with the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. The Maṇi Kambum was composed over time by different hands. It was likely composed from the 12th century to the 13th century.

Nyingma Gyubum

is the Mahayoga, Anuyoga and Atiyoga Tantras of the Nyingma lineage.

Self-existing Perfection

is one of the Seventeen tantras of Dzogchen Upadesha.

Vima Nyingtik

vima nyingtik

Vima Nyingthig, “Seminal Heart of Vimalamitra”, is one of the two “seminal heart” collections of the menngagde cycle Dzogchen, the other one being “Seminal Heart of the Dakini”.

Traditionally the teachings are ascribed to Vimalamitra, but they were codified and collated by their Tibetan discoverers in the 11th and 12th century.

Union of the Sun and Moon

The is one of the Seventeen tantras of the esoteric instruction cycle which are a suite of tantras known variously as: Nyingtik, Upadesha or Menngagde within Dzogchen discourse.”This tantra shows which experience a person undergoes in the intermediate state, the bardo, after passing away. It teaches how to resolve one’s master’s oral instructions during the bardo of this life, how to stabilize awareness during the bardo of dying, how to attain enlightenment through recognizing awareness during the bardo of dharmata, and, if necessary, how to be assured a rebirth in a natural nirmanakaya realm during the bardo of becoming and there reveal buddhahood without further rebirths.”

The Mirror of the Mind of Samantabhadra

is one of the Seventeen tantras of Dzogchen Upadesha.

The Mirror of the Heart of Vajrasattva

is numbered amongst the ‘Seventeen Tantras of Menngagde’ within Dzogchen discourse and is part of the textual support for the .

Sixfold Expanse of Samantabhadra

The is one of the Seventeen tantras of Dzogchen Upadesha.

Shining Relics of Enlightened Body

is numbered amongst the ‘Seventeen Tantras of Menngagde’ within Dzogchen discourse and is part of the textual support for the Vima Nyingtik.

Seventeen tantras

In Tibetan Buddhism, specifically in the literature and practice of Dzogchen, the seventeen tantras of the esoteric instruction cycle are a collection of tantras belonging to the textual division known as the “esoteric instruction cycle”.

Array of Jewels

The is one of the Seventeen tantras of Dzogchen Upadesha.

Self-arising Primordial Awareness

Self- Arising Primordial Awareness is one of the Seventeen tantras of Dzogchen Upadesha.

Reverberation of Sound Tantra

The , is considered to be the root tantra of the seventeen tantras of the Menngagde class of the Tibetan Buddhist Dzogchen tradition.

Blazing Lamp

is one of the Seventeen tantras of Dzogchen Upadesha.

Necklace of Precious Pearls

The is one of the Seventeen tantras of Dzogchen Upadesha.

Lion’s Perfect Expressive Power

The Lion’s Perfect Expressive Power is one of the Seventeen tantras of Dzogchen Upadesha.

The Kulayarāja Tantra is a Buddhist Tantra extant in Tibetan which centers upon the direct teachings of the primordial, ultimate Buddha (Adibuddha), Samantabhadra. Samantabhadra is presented or personified in this tantric Buddhist text as bodhi-citta, the Awakened Mind, the “mind of perfect purity”. In the Kunjed Gyalpo, Samantabhadra discourses to Vajrasattva who asks questions in clarification. This tantric work is the principal ‘mind-series’ text of the Dzogchen view of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. Importantly, the Kunjed Gyalpo is the first text in the Tsamdrak edition of the Nyingma Gyubum.

Great Auspicious Beauty Tantra

The or Trashi Dzenden Chenpögyü is numbered amongst the ‘Seventeen Tantras of Menngagde’ within Dzogchen discourse and is part of the textual support for the Vima Nyingtik.

Direct Introduction (tantra)

Direct Introduction is one of the Seventeen tantras of Dzogchen Upadesha.

Piled Gems

, or Rinpo Chepungwa, is one of the Seventeen tantras of Dzogchen Upadesha.

Be the first to comment Here

Related posts

Phurba Gallery

The Tantric Phurba – A protective ritual dagger

The is a dagger used in practices. It is used to protect against negative energies and to promote positive change. The phurba is not to be used for or harm, and should only be used for ritual purposes. It is a powerful for protection and should be used with care and respect. Origin of Phurba in The renowned , who was initiated by the Indian sage Prabhahastin, is said .

Tibetan Mandala tantric practices & benefits

practices are used to cultivate and generate energy, and to bring about transformation and . Tibetan Mandala as a can be created with a variety of materials commonly including sand, paint or fabric (appliqué). According to the Tibetan the mandala is a tool for working with the energies of the cosmos including : the bodythe mindthe In other words, the mandala can help control inner by accessing and channeling .
A scroll painting of Saraha, surrounded by other Mahāsiddhas, probably 18th century and now in the British Museum

The Mahamudra Practice – Unveiling the True Nature of the Mind

is a form of that emphasizes the nature of . In Mahamudra, practitioners aim to see the true nature of their minds, which is said to be empty and open. Origin of the Mahamudra Practice The main text of Mahamudra is "The Root Text of the " by the Indian  (not to be confused with the earlier philosopher). The actual practice and lineage of mahāmudrā can be traced back to wandering  or great .
Chöd practice explained by Tsultrim Allione

Chöd practice explained by Tsultrim Allione

practice is a practice developed by a woman teacher named in the 11th century. What is Chöd? Chöd is a confrontation process with and then pushing through it to achieve . In other words, Chöd is a practice of feeding, not fighting, that which assails us. In the practice, you are transforming your into a nectar and then feeding it a series of guests (fears). Who can practice Chöd? The type of person .

Buddhist tantras – Manipulation of the subtle body

The Buddhist Tantras are a varied group of Indian and Tibetan texts which outline unique views and practices of the Buddhist tantra religious systems. Buddhist Tantric texts began appearing in the Gupta Empire period though there are texts with elements associated with Tantra that can be seen as early as the third century. By the eighth century, Tantra was a dominant force in North India and the number of texts increased with numerous Tantric pandits writing .

Kundalini yoga – A Tantric Yoga

is derived from which is defined in Vedantic as the energy that lies dormant at the base of the spine until it is activated and channeled upward through the in the process of spiritual perfection. Kundalini is believed to be power associated with the divine feminine. Kundalini as a school of yoga is influenced by Shaktism and schools of . It derives its name through a focus on .
Vajradhara Thangka

Interpreting Vajradhara – The Father of Tantras

According to the and schools of , is also known as the ultimate Primordial or Adi Buddha. Vajradhara displaced who remains the Primordial Buddha in the or School and the school. However, the two are metaphysically equivalent. The Esse of Vajradhara In this portion, we are going to learn about the ease of Vajradhara, after the short etymological description of the word Vajradhara itself. Etymology of Vajradhara Vajradhara is .
Eight Mahasiddhas

3 stages of Evolution of Tantric Buddhism

usually refers to a special esoteric school of , practice, and ‘based on treatises known as ’. It emerged in northeast during the fifth or sixth centuries CE and then formed its distinctive features around the seventh century CE. Afterward, it expanded geographically outward to the , East , and Southeast Asia. What Is Tantra? Countless practices of several Asian have been lumped together by western scholars under the heading "tantra." The .
Sri Yantra

Yantra, Shri Yantra, mandalas & importance of Shri Yantra

A is usually linked with a particular deity and is used for distinct purposes such as , pujas, , the attraction of and .  Numbers of geometric and images along with from the Yantra. The central point of almost all yantra is , a small red dot. The triangles are also important representing and . The concentric represents the manifestation. Here's what a great meditation , Ivan Rados has .

Tantra, its concept in East and West

Tantra is a word that can be broken into two sub-words: tan and tra Tan - meaning Tra - meaning translating into In other words, tantra is the tool of expansion. It is a purely . The way of practicing tantra is known as . There have been different concepts and practices of tantrism till the date. The practice of tantrism varies in the Eastern and Western world. Tantrism in Eastern World In the Eastern world, Tantrism is a .