The Treasury of Lives

The religious traditions of Tibet include both Bon, the indigenous tradition, and the myriad Buddhist teaching lineages and institutions. Several schema have been developed over the centuries to classify these. Bon has been divided (not always without condemnation) into "Black Bon" and "White Bon," as well as "Old and New Bon," the latter of which refers to the Bon treasure tradition. Probably most widely known of the Buddhist categories is the group of four traditions: Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, and Gelug, although this ignores many independent teaching lineages and independent monastic institutions. A more inclusive system is the "eight chariots of practice lineage" (sgrub brgyud shing rta chen po brgyad): Nyingma, Kadam, Marpa Kagyu, Shangpa Kagyu, Lamdre/Sakya, Shije and Cho, Kalacakra, and Orgyen Nyendrub, with Kadam representing the later Gelug tradition as well. Chinese attempts at understanding Tibetan religion resulted in the "colored-hat" groupings – "yellow hat" being the Gelug, "red hat" referring to Nyingma, Kagyu, and Sakya. The later two are occasionally referred to as "black hat" and "gray hat" respectively.

Users to this site can browse according to "primary" and "secondary" tradition affiliation. For example, the Fifth Dalai Lama's primary affiliation is Gelug, although he was also active in the Bon and the Nyingma, and had relations through birth with the Drukpa Kagyu, and so will appear in browse results for lamas of those tradition when the "secondary" affiliation option is active.


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