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The 8 Practice Lineages

The practice of Buddhism in Tibet is encompassed by the eight major practice traditions called in Tibet the Eight Chariots of the Practice Lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. The Eight Chariots, or conveyances, refer to the eight major practice lineages of Tibetan learning and attainment, traditions which can be traced directly back through the centuries of the history of Tibet and beyond that into India. These traditions encompass the major schools and lineages within Tibet.

The Eight Traditions, with their key scriptural sources, are as follows:

1) NYINGMA LINEAGE
The main doctrinal lineage of Kama, the Ancient Translation School known as Nyingmapa: (Key scriptural sources include: 1) Scripture of the Great Assemblage (‘dus pa mdo), 2) Guhyagarbha Tantra (sgyu ‘phrul drwa ba), 3) Mind Section (sems sde). In addition, the Eight Sadhanas Sections (sgrub pa sde brgyad), and the core of Dzogchen, The Heart Essence (snying thig).) More on the Nyingma lineage

2) KADAMPA LINEAGE
Atisha’s lineage, the Old Kadampa School (Key scriptural sources include: The Graded Path for the Three Types of Individuals: Lamp of the Path of Enlightenment (byang chub lam sgron), Key Instructions of the Practices of Sixteen Spheres (thig le bcu drug), and similar texts. Tsongkhapa and his lineage, the New Kadampa School emphasizes philosophical doctrine.)

3) SAKYA LINEAGE
Lineage of the glorious Sakyapa: (Key scriptural sources include: The Instruction on the Nine-fold Path and Result (lam ‘bras).)

4) MARPA KAGYÜ LINEAGE
The Four Major Schools and Eight Minor Schools of the lineage of the Marpa Kagyü Tradition (Key scriptural sources include: The Four Transmitted Precepts Consolidated in One, The Path of Skillful Means, The Six Dharmas of Naropa, and The Path of Liberation Mahamudra.)

5) SHANGPA KAGYÜ LINEAGE
The Shangpa Kagyü: (Key scriptural sources include: The Lineage of Yogi Khyungpo Naljor, and The Teachings of the Five-fold Ultimate Reality, (mthar thug lnga ldan gyi chos skor).)

6) Shije and Chö Lineages: “Pacification of Suffering” and “Genuine Dharma of Severance”

Phadampa Sangye’s and Machik Lapdron’s lineage: (Key scriptural sources include: Pacification of Suffering (zhi byed), and its branch teaching Genuine Dharma of Severance (gcod), and related texts.)

7) JODRUK LINEAGE: “SIX APPLICATIONS”
Vajra Yoga Instruction Lineage, (Key scriptural sources include: the intention of the root Tantras, essence of all completion stage practice (sampanakrama), Six Applications of Kalachakra (sbyor ba yan lag drug).)

8) NYENDRUB LINEAGE: “FOUR BRANCHES OF APPROACH AND ACCOMPLISHMENT”
The Great Yogi Orgyenpa Rinchenpal’s Lineage: (Key scriptural sources include: the Three Vajra Instructions of Body, Speech, and Mind (rdo rje gsum gyi bsnyen sgrub).)

Buddhism in Tibet Nyingma Kagyu Sakya Geluk