Chart of Tibetan Buddhist Traditions

NYINGMA (Old School; School of the Ancient Ones)

  • FOUNDER: Padmasambhava 9th century
  • LINEAGES: Mindroling, Palyul, Dorje Trak, Shechen, Dzogchen, Kathok
  • CENTRAL TEACHINGS: Kama and Terma; Nyin-Thig
  • MAIN TANTRIC PRACTICE: 3 Innermost Tantras = Mahayoga/Anuyoga/Atiyoga (Dzogchen)
  • HEAD OF NYINGMA: H.H. Penor Rinpoche
  • LITERARY WORKS: Tibetan Book of the Dead, Rin-chen Ter-dzod
  • LAMAS: Sogyal Rinpoche (Rigpa), Chagdud Tulku and Chagdud Khandro, Jigme Khyentse Rinpoche

SAR (New Translation Schools)

  • FOUNDERS: Tilopa (988-1069), Naropa (1016-1100), Marpa (1012-1096) & Gampopa (1079-1153)
  • LINEAGES: Marpa / Dagpo / Rechung / Shangpa / Karma / Tsalpa / Barom/ Phagmo / Drikung / Taglung / Trophu / Lingre / / Martsang/ Yelpa / Yazang / Shugseb / Drukpa
  • MAIN TANTRIC PRACTICE: Six Yogas of Naropa/Chakrasambhava/Mahakala
  • SPIRITUAL HEADS: H.H. XVII Karmapa Orgyen Thrinley Rinpoche (Karma Kagyu), H.H. XVII Karmapa Thaye Dorje Rinpoche (Karma Kagyu), H.H. Drikung Chetsang Rinpoche (Drikung), H.H. Drikung Chuntsang (Drikung), H.H. Taglung Shabrung (Taglung), H.H. the Gyalwang Drukpa (Drukpa)
  • LITERARY WORKS: Jewel Ornament of Liberation (Gampopa),
  • LAMAS : H.E. Shamar Rinpoche (Karma Kagyu), H.E. Pawo Rinpoche (Karma Kagyu), H.E. IX Choegon Rinpoche Chokyi Sengye (Drukpa), H.E. IX Choegon Rinpoche Tenzin Chokyi Gyatsho (Drukpa), H.E. Tai Situ Rinpoche (Karma
    Kagyu), H.E. Thuksey Rinpoche (Drukpa)…many can be found in the websites of individual lineages such as for Drikung ( and others.

SAKYA (School that came from the monastery with grey earth walls)

  • FOUNDER: Khon Konchok Gyelpo 1034-1102
  • LINEAGES: Ngor, Tsarpa, Ngorpa
  • MAIN TANTRIC PRACTICE: (Anuttarayogatantra) Hevajra/Mahakala/Chakrasambhava
  • HEADS OF SAKYA TRADITION: Ngawang Kunga / Sakya Trizin
  • LAMAS: H.E. Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche
  • LITERARY WORKS: Discrimination of the 3 vows/Treasury of Logic on Valid Cognition
    and works of Gorampa Sonam Sengey and others.

GELUGPA (School that came from Gaden Monastery)

  • FOUNDERS: Atisha 982-1054, Tsongkhapa 1355-1417
  • LINEAGES: Gaden, Gyume, Drepung, Sera, Tashi Lhunpo and Gyuto
  • CENTRAL TEACHINGS: Chakrasamvara, Vajrayogini, Kalachakra
  • HEAD: Ven. Ganden Tripa Rinpoche
  • LAMAS: HH the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama/ Ven Yeshi Dhondup, Lama Zopa.
  • LITERARY WORKS: Lam Rim / Works by Tsongkhapa