Nyingma traditional histories consider their teachings to trace back to the first Buddha Samantabhadra (Güntu Sangpo) and Indian mahasiddhas such as Garab Dorjé, Śrī Siṃha and Jñānasūtra.
Traditional sources trace the origin of the Nyingma order in Tibet to figures associated with the initial introduction of Buddhism in the 8th century, such as Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyal, Vimalamitra, Vairotsana, Buddhaguhya and Shantaraksita.
Nyingma teachings are also known for having been passed down through networks of lay practitioners .
Mahasiddha is a term for someone who embodies and cultivates the "siddhi of perfection".
A siddha is an individual who, through the practice of sādhanā, attains the realization of siddhis, psychic and spiritual abilities and powers.
Mahasiddhas were practitioners of yoga and tantra, or tantrikas.
The Mahasiddhas are the founders of Vajrayana traditions and lineages such as Dzogchen and Mahamudra.
There is a symbiotic relationship between Tantric Buddhist communities and the Buddhist monastic university such as Nalanda .