Nyingma

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padmasambhava-statue-tso-prema-india.jpg

Padmasambhava -- Guru Rinpoche -- Statue
Padmasambhava -- Guru Rinpoche -- Statue

1. Nyingma

The Nyingma School is the oldest of the 5 major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by Vajrayāna revealer Guru Padmasambhava.

"Nyingma" literally means "ancient," and is often referred to as Ngangyur, "school of the ancient translations" or "old school".

The Nyingma School is founded on the first translations of Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into Old Tibetan in the 8th century, during the reign of King Trisong Detsen. The Tibetan alphabet and grammar was created for this endeavour.

The Vajrayāna or Tantra of the Nyingma School traces its origins to an emanation of Amitābha and of Avalokiteśvara, Guru Padmasambhava, whose coming and activities were predicted by Buddha Śākyamuni, which supports the school's view that Padmasambhava is the 2nd Buddha.

Nyingma origins are also traced to Garab Dorje and to Yeshe Tsogyal.

The Nyingma School has a Kama or oral lineage and a Terma lineage.

It is believed that from the time of Guru Padmasambhava and for at least 3 centuries afterwards, everyone who attained enlightenment in Tibet did so by practicing the Kama lineage teachings of the Nyingma School.

The Kama lineage remained predominant from the 8th - 11th century, and Kama masters taught from the lineage's teachings.

The Terma lineage is the revealed transmission lineage where Tertons, or treasure revealers, realize the teachings:

The arising of the Terma lineage began in the 11th century, and by the 14th century Tertons were more sought as teachers than Kama masters.

The Terma lineage was established by Guru Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal, through the hiding of teachings for the purpose of future discovery.

The Kama is the basis of the Terma.

The Nyingma Kama lineage begins with Padmasambhava, Śāntarakṣita, Vimalamitra, and Vairocana.

The Nyingma Dzogchen lineage was transmitted directly from Garab Dorje to Padmasambhava.

The Nyingma School arose as the first Tibetan Buddhist School, in the atmosphere of Bon practices which had previously formed the primary basis of Tibetan spiritual beliefs.

Nyingmapa teachings advanced orally among a loose network of lay practitioners.

Monasteries with monks and nuns, ordained lay people, along with widespread recognition of reincarnated spiritual teachers, are considered by some as later adaptations,

but ex-army personnel were ordained at Samye, the first Buddhist and Nyingma monastery in Tibet, soon after its consecration in 779.

The Nyingma's Six Mother Monasteries are located across Tibet while institutions have been centred in Kham.

Many monasteries were destroyed before and after the Cultural Revolution.

Nyingma monasteries have been rebuilt in Nepal and throughout India, while the Tibetan diaspora has also spread Nyingma Vajrayāna masters to the west and in Europe and the Americas.

It has also been associated with the Rimé movement.

2. Myths

The Nyingma school recognizes Samantabhadra (Küntu Sangpo), the "Primordial Buddha" (Ādi Buddha) as an embodiment of the Dharmakāya, the "truth body" of all Buddhas.

The Nyingma School sees the Dharmakāya as inseparable from both the Saṁbhogakāya and the Nirmaņakāya.

Nyingma also sees Vajradhara (an emanation of Samantabhadra) and other Buddhas as teachers of their many doctrines.

Samantabhadra's wisdom and compassion spontaneously radiates myriad teachings, all appropriate to the capacities of different beings and entrusts them to "knowledge holders" (Vidyādharas),

the chief of which is Dorje Chörap, who gives them to Vajrasattva and the Ḍākinī Legi Wangmoche, who in turn disseminate them among human siddhas.

The first human teacher of the tradition was said to be Garab Dorje (b. 55 C.E.), who had visions of Vajrasattva.

Padmasambhava is the most famous and revered figure of the early human teachers and there are many legends about him, making it difficult to separate history from myth.

Other early teachers include Vimalamitra, Jambel She Nyen, Sri Simha, and Jñanasūtra.

Most of these figures are associated with the Indian region of Oḍḍiyāna.

3. Historical origins

Samye Monastery of Nyingma
1stBuddhist Monastery in Tibet

Buddhism existed in Tibet at least from the time of King Thothori Nyantsen (fl.173?-300? CE), especially in the Eastern regions.

The reign of Songtsen Gampo (ca.617-649/50) saw an expansion of Tibetan power, the adoption of a writing system and promotion of Buddhism.

Around 760, Trisong Detsen invited Padmasambhava and the Nālanda abbot Śāntarakṣita to Tibet to introduce Buddhism to the "Land of Snows."

Trisong Detsen ordered the translation of all Buddhist texts into Tibetan.

Padmasambhava, Śāntarakṣita, 108 translators, and 25 of Padmasambhava's nearest disciples worked for many years in a gigantic translation-project.

The translations from this period formed the base for the large scriptural transmission of Dharma teachings into Tibet and are known as the "Old Translations" and as the "Early Translation School".

Padmasambhava supervised mainly the translation of Tantras;
Śāntarakṣita concentrated on the Sūtras.

Padmasambhava and Śāntarakṣita also founded the first Buddhist monastery in Tibet: Samye.

The early Vajrayāna that was transmitted from India to Tibet may be differentiated by the specific term "Mantrayāna":

"Mantrayāna" is the Sanskrit of what became rendered in Tibetan as "Secret Mantra": this is the self-identifying term employed in the earliest literature.

4. Persecution

From this basis, Vajrayāna was established in its entirety in Tibet.

From the 8th until the 11th century, this textual tradition (which was later identified as 'Nyingma') was the only form of Buddhism in Tibet.

With the reign of King Langdarma (836–842), the brother of King Rapalchen, a time of political instability ensued which continued over the next 300 years,

during which time Buddhism was persecuted and largely forced underground because the King saw it as a threat to the indigenous Bön tradition.

Langdarma persecuted monks and nuns, and attempted to wipe out Buddhism.

His efforts, however, were not successful. A few monks escaped to Amdo in the northeast of Tibet, where they preserved the lineage of monastic ordination.

The period of the 9-10th centuries also saw increasing popularity of a new class of texts which would later be classified as the Dzogchen "Mind series":

Some of these texts present themselves as translations of Indian works, though most are original Tibetan compositions:

These texts promote the view that True Nature of the Mind is Empty and luminous and seem to reject traditional forms of practice.

An emphasis on the Dzogchen textual tradition is a central feature of the Nyingma School.

5. Second dissemination and New translations

From the 11th century onward, there was an attempt to reintroduce Vajrayāna Buddhism to Tibet.

This saw new translation efforts which led to the foundation of new Vajrayāna schools which are collectively known as the Sarma "New translation" schools because they reject the old translations of the Nyingma canon.

It was at that time that Nyingmapa began to see themselves as a distinct group and the term "Nyingma" came into usage to refer to those who continued to use the "Old" or "Ancient" translations.

Nyingma writers such as Rongzom (ca. 11th century) and Nyangrel were instrumental in defending the old texts from the critiques of the Sarma translators and in establishing a foundation for the mythology and philosophy of the Nyingma tradition.

Rongzom Chokyi Zangpo was the most influential of the 11th century Nyingma authors, writing "extensive exoteric and esoteric commentaries."

He upheld the view that Sūtra teachings such as Mādhyamika were ultimately inferior to the teachings found in the Buddhist Tantras and Dzogchen.

Rongzom also wrote a commentary on the Guhyāgarbha Tantra, which is the main tantra in the Nyingma tradition.

The period of the New Dissemination of Buddhism which saw the rise of the Sarma schools also saw the proliferation of fresh Nyingma Dzogchen texts with fresh doctrines and meditative practices, mainly the 'Space class' (longde) and the 'Instruction class' (Menngagde) (11th-14th century), particularly important were the 17 Tantras.

To vitalize the legitimacy of these new texts against the criticism of the Sarma schools,

the Nyingma School expanded the tradition of the "Terma", which are said to be revealed treasure texts by ancient masters, usually Padmasambhava, which had been hidden away and then discovered by Tertöns (treasure revealers).

The first Tertöns dating to the 11th century were Sangye Lama and Drapa Ngönshe.

Another important Tertön, Nyangrel Nyima Özer (1136-1204), was the principal promulgator of the Padmasambhava myths.

Guru Chöwang (1212–70) was also influential in developing the myths of Padmasambhava.

Nyangrel and Chögi Wangchuk (1212–1270) are known as the "sun and moon" of Tertöns, and along with Rikdsin Gödem (1337–1409), are called the "3 grand Tertöns".

By this period we see the establishment of 3 major classes of Nyingma literature:

1) texts translated and transmitted without interruption from the beginning of the Buddhist dissemination are called "transmitted precepts" (Kama),

2) the hidden "treasures" are called Terma

3) collected works of individual Tibetan authors.

6. Systematization and growth

Longchen Rabjampa (Longchenpa, 1308-1364, possibly 1369) is a central thinker and poet in Nyingma thought and Tibetan Buddhist philosophy:

He is mainly known for his systematized integration and exposition of the major textual cycles such as the Menngagde in his various writings, which by his time had become central texts in the Nyingma tradition.

His main writings include:

  1. the Seven Treasuries,
  2. the "Trilogy of Natural Freedom",
  3. the "Trilogy that Clears Darkness",
  4. the Trilogy of Natural Ease.

The 14th and 15th centuries saw the work of many Tertöns such as Orgyen Lingpa (1323–1360), Pema Lingpa (1346–1405), Sangye Lingpa (1340–1396) and Ratna Lingpa (1403–1479).

Another key figure was Karma Lingpa (1326–1386), who wrote down an important work called "Profound Dharma of Self-Liberation through the Intention of the Peaceful and Wrathful Ones" which includes the 2 texts of the Bardo Thödol, the "Tibetan Book of the Dead".

Lochen Dharmaśrī (1654–1717) wrote important commentaries on the Guhyāgarbha Tantra and his brother Terdak Lingpa (1646–1714) was the founder of the Mindrolling Monastery in 1670, one of the 6 major Nyingma monasteries.

A later seminal figure in the development of the Nyingma system was Jigme Lingpa (1730-1798) "the greatest treasure finder of the 18th century",

whose Longchen Nyingthig ("The Heart-essence of the Vast Expanse") is a systematization of the path which is one of the most widely used Nyingma Dzogchen teachings today.

7. Rime and the rise of scholasticism

In 1848, the Nyingma monastic college of Dzogchen Shri Sengha, was founded in Kham by a charismatic teacher, Zhanphan Thaye (1800-), in association with the active participation of Do Khyentse:

The Nyingma School had traditionally relied on non-ordained tantric practitioners to transmit its teachings through authorized lineages.

The foundation of this monastic school was a major shift in the Nyingma tradition, and is seen as a response to the growth of the Gelug School’s hegemony which was based on a well-organized system of monastic scholasticism and education.

The sort of study and learning in this monastery was mostly based on exegetical commentary, a contrast to the more debate based Gelug education.

In this way, the Nyingma School revitalized itself and presented itself as a legitimate rival to the Gelug School.

The 19th century also saw the rise of the non-sectarian Rime movement, led by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820-1892) and Jamgön Kongtrül (1813-1899)

which sought to collect and print the teachings of the Sakya, Kagyu and Nyingma schools in response to the hegemonic influence of the Gelug school.

Jamgon Ju Mipham Gyatso ("Mipham the Great", 1846-1912) was born into an aristocratic family in 1846 in Kham, a province of eastern Tibet.

Mipham was a student of Rime scholars like Kongtrül.

Mipham composed authoritative works on both the Sūtra and Vajrayāna teachings as understood in the Nyingma tradition, writing extensively on Dzogchen and Mādhyamika.

Mipham's works have become the foundation of study for not only the Nyingma lineage, but the Kagyu lineage as well. They hold a central position in all Nyingma monasteries and monastic colleges.

Following in the footsteps of Mipham, Khenpo Shenga was also an important figure in the revitalization of Nyingma monastic education

by establishing the study of exoteric philosophy at Dzogchen Shri Sengha through the use of classic Indian texts, which include the major works of Asaṅga, Nāgārjuna and Āryadeva.

Khenpo Shenga composed commentaries on these key texts and scholastic textbooks.

He focused on the study of these texts as a way to avoid sectarian disputes by appealing to classic Indian material.

The 19th century also saw the production of new Terma texts, particularly by Orgyen Chokgyur Lingpa (1829-1870), Pema Ösel Dongak Lingpa (1820–1892), and Dudjom Lingpa (1835–1904).

Another important figure is Patrul Rinpoche (b. 1808), who wrote The Words of My Perfect Teacher, a key text on Nyingma preliminaries.

8. Dzogchen

Dzogchen ("Great Perfection") is the central distinctive practice and view which is the focus of Nyingma and it is seen by this school as the supreme practice.

It is seen as the ultimate understanding of the nature of mind, which is known as Rigpa.

Dzogchen seeks to understand the nature of mind without the subtle body practices and visualizations of other tantric forms,

and Dzogchen Tantras state that visualization practices are inferior to Dzogchen, which directly works with the nature of the mind itself.

A main feature of Dzogchen is the practice of "cutting through" the everyday mind and its obscurations to reach the primordial nature of mind or Rigpa, which is essential purity and spontaneity, and is associated with emptiness (śūnyatā).

The second form of Dzogchen practice is referred to as "direct approach" and involves making an effort at recognizing spontaneity through the use of visions or appearances. This is said to be associated with skilful means (Upāya)

9. Practices

Preliminary practices

Like in other schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Nyingma teaches various forms of Ngöndro, or preliminary practices which help prepare the mind for later meditations.

These include the cultivation of "bodhicitta", the "4 thoughts that turn the mind", and Vajrasattva purification practice.

Yidam practice and protectors

Deity Yoga is also a feature of Nyingma:

The foremost deities (yidam) practiced by the Nyingma masters are Vajrakīla (Tib. Dorje Phurba) and Vajra Heruka (Tib. Yangdak Tratung,), the 3rd of the 8 Herukas who closely resembles Śrī Heruka of the Cakrasaṁvara tantra.

The 3 principle protectors of the Nyingma lineage are said to be Ekajaṭī, Rāhula and Dorje Legpa (Sanskrit: Vajrasādhu).

Other practices

Other forms of practice like Lojong and subtle body practices such as Trul khor are also taught in Nyingma.

10. Nine Yānas

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

Nyingmapa divide the Buddhist path into 9 Yānas, as follows:

Sūtra system

  1. Śrāvakayāna, the Vehicle of the Listeners or disciples.
  2. Pratyekabuddhayāna (Hīnayāna) the Vehicle of the Solitary Buddhas, the way of solitary meditation.
  3. Bodhisattvayāna (Mahāyāna) the Great or Causal Vehicle, the Vehicle of Enlightened Beings, is the way of those who seek or attain enlightenment for the sake or intention of liberating not just oneself, but all sentient beings from Saṃsāra.

Outer tantras

  1. Kriyā Tantra of Action which involves ritual, mantra repetition and visualization.
  2. Caryā or Ubhaya Tantra of Conduct — equal amounts of meditation and symbolic rituals.
  3. Yogatantra Tantra of Union

Inner tantras

  1. Mahāyoga Great Yoga
  2. Anuyoga Subsequent Yoga — controlling breathing and energy (nervous and sexual).
  3. Atiyoga (Dzogchen) Ultimate Yoga; The Great Perfection — often practised in monasteries kept specially for this purpose.

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

The 1-2 of the 9 vehicles are seen as Hīnayāna, the 3rd as Mahāyāna and the remaining 6 as specifically Vajrayāna.

11. Scriptural canon

With the advent of the transmission of Sarma traditions into Tibet, various proponents of the new systems cast aspersions on the Indic origins of much of the Nyingma esoteric corpus:

Indic origin was an important component of perceived legitimacy at the time.

As a result, much of the Nyingma esoteric corpus was excluded from the Tengyur, a compilation of texts by Butön Rinchen Drub that became the established Canon for the Sarma traditions.

This means that while Nyingma accept the Tengyur scriptures,

they also include writings that other schools reject as not being authentic for having no Indic sources—though Sanskrit originals of some have been discovered in Nepal.

12. Nyingma Gyubum

Nyingmapa organized their esoteric corpus, comprising mostly Mahāyoga, Atiyoga (Dzogchen) Mind class Semde and Space Class (Longde) texts, into an alternate collection, called the Nyingma Gyubum (the Hundred Thousand Tantras of the Ancient School).

Generally, the Gyubum contains Kama and very little Terma.

The 3rd class of Atiyoga, the Secret Oral Instructions (Menngagde), are mostly Terma texts.

Various editions of the Gyubum are extant, but one typical version is the 36 Tibetan-language folio volumes published by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche in New Delhi, 1974.

It contains:

  1. 10 volumes of Ati Yoga (Dzogchen)
  2. 3 volumes of Anu Yoga
  3. 6 volumes of the tantra Section of Mahāyoga
  4. 13 volumes of the sādhana Section of Mahāyoga
  5. 1 volume of protector tantras
  6. 3 volumes of catalogues and historical background

13. Mahāyoga

There are 18 great Tantras at the heart of the 'Mahāyoga' tradition, grouped into:

  1. 5 root tantras,
  2. 5 practice tantras,
  3. 5 activity tantras,
  4. 2 supplementary tantras.

Together they are known as the Māyājāla.

The Guhyāgarbha Tantra is the foremost of all of these and it abridges the content of the seventeen others.

14. Dzogchen texts

Dzogchen literature is usually divided into 3 categories, which more or less reflect the historical development of Dzogchen:

1) Semde (Skt: cittavarga), the "Mind Series"; this category contains the earliest Dzogchen teachings from the 9th century and later.

2) Longde (Skt: abhyantaravarga), the series of Space; dating from the 11th-14th centuries. These texts emphasize Emptiness (Śūnyatā) or spaciousness.

The most important text in this division is "Samantabhadra’s Royal Tantra of All-Inclusive Vastness".

3) Menngagde (Skt: upadeśavarga), the series of Secret Oral Instructions, 11th-14th centuries.

This division, including the important "17 tantras", focuses on 2 major forms of practice:

  1. kadag trekchö, "the cutting through of primordial purity",
  2. lhündrub tögal, "the direct crossing of spontaneous presence."

15. Termas

Stupa in Samye Monastery

According to the Nyingma-tradition, Padmasambhava and his main disciples hid hundreds of scriptures, ritual objects and relics in secret places

to protect Buddhism during the time of decline, under King Langdarma, and for occasion when the dharma would need revitalizing in the future.

These Termas were later rediscovered.

The Rinchen Terdzod is the most important collection of terma treasure to Nyingmapa today:

This collection is the assemblage of thousands of the most important Terma texts from all across Tibet made by Jamgon Kongtrül Lodro Thaye, at the behest of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo in the 19th century.

16. Political history

The Nyingma School considers itself non-political. In contrast to the other 3 main Tibetan schools, the Nyingma tradition has never been the dominant political power in Tibet.

As is common, practitioners were not completely removed from the political machinations of Tibet, and also of neighbouring Bhutan.

Unlike the other 3 schools, the Nyingma School does not incorporate a spiritual leader of the school, but rather organizes itself with autonomous monasteries which coordinate activities when necessary.

17. Internal administration

The Nyingma traditionally had no centralized authority or Nyingma-wide hierarchy:

There was never a single "head of the lineage" in the manner of either the Ganden Tripa of the Gelug, the Karmapa of the Karma Kagyu or the Sakya Trizin of the Sakya.

After the Tibetan diaspora following the Chinese invasion of Tibet, the Nyingma temporarily had a head of the school, at the request of the 14th Dalai Lama, and of Dudjom Rinpoche whom lead efforts to stabilize the exile community and gather Tibetan Buddhist texts.

The position was largely administrative, but the Rinpoches who have served in this role are among the most universally highly regarded. They include:

  1. Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche (c. 1904–1987), served from the 1960s until his death.
  2. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (c. 1910–1991), served from 1987 until his death.
  3. Penor Rinpoche (1932–2009) served from 1991 until retirement in 2003.
  4. Mindrolling Trichen Rinpoche (c. 1930–2008), served from 2003 until his death.
  5. Trulshik Rinpoche (1923–2011), served from 2010 until his death on September 2, 2011. Selected after Chatral Rinpoche declined the position.
  6. Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche (1926-2015), served from 2012 until his death.

Afterwards, it was unanimously decided that the internal administration would revolve between the head lamas of the 6 principle Nyingma monasteries:

  1. Kathok
  2. Dzogchen,
  3. Shechen,
  4. Mindrolling,
  5. Dorje Drak
  6. Palyul.

The representatives were appointed for 3-year terms at the annual Nyingma Monlam. They include:

1) Katok Getse Rinpoche (1954-2018), appointed during the 29th Nyingma Monlam in Bodh Gaya in January 2018, served until his death in November 2018.

2) Dzogchen Rinpoche (born 1964) appointed during the 30th Nyingma Monlam in Bodh Gaya, India on 15 January 2019. Rinpoche declined the position, owing to his health concerns.

The internal administration is changing:

During the 31st Nyingma Monlam in 2020, Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche was requested to accept the position:

Rinpoche did not accept, and expressed his concerns about how the continued appointment of a "head of the tradition" would be problematic.

Upon his suggestion, the representatives of major Nyingma monasteries decided that the position of "head of Nyingma tradition" would thenceforth not be selected.

Instead, representatives would be selected for the Nyingma Monlam Committee, which would look after the welfare of the tradition.

The Nyingma tradition is therefore decentralized and often individual monastery administration decisions are made by the community of the lamas together with senior saṅgha members.

Nyingmapa are also historically characterized and distinguished by this decentralization and by their general wider political disinterest.

Their monasteries and Saṅghas, and wider communities, consist of a blend of monastic vow holders, of vow holding Ngagpa householders, and of Yogis.

18. Tertons

The appearance of Terma ("hidden treasures") is of particular significance to the Nyingma tradition.

Although there have been a few Kagyupa "Tertöns" (treasure revealers) and the practice is endemic to the Bönpo as well,

- the vast majority of Tibetan Buddhist Tertöns have been Nyingmapa.

It is held that past masters, principally Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal, secreted objects and hid teachings for discovery by later Tertöns at appropriate and auspicious times such that the teaching would be beneficial.

These teachings may be physically discovered, often in rocks and caves, or they may be "Mind Terma," appearing directly within the mind-stream of the Tertön.

Special Terma lineages were established throughout Tibet.

Out of this activity developed, especially within the Nyingma tradition, 2 ways of dharma transmission:

1) the so-called "long" oral transmission from teacher to student in unbroken lineages

2) the "short" transmission of "hidden treasures".

The foremost revealers of these Termas were the 5 Tertön kings and the 8 Lingpas.

The Terma tradition had antecedents in India:

Nāgārjuna, for example, rediscovered the last part of the "Prajñāpāramitā-Sūtra in 100 thousand verses" in the realm of the Nāgas, where it had been kept since the time of Buddha Śākyamuni.

According to Nyingma tradition, Tertöns are often mind-stream emanations of the 25 main disciples of Padmasambhava.

A vast system of transmission lineages developed through the ages:

Nyingma scriptures were updated when the time was appropriate. Terma teachings guided many Buddhist practitioners to realisation and enlightenment.

The rediscovering of terma began with the 1st Tertön, Sangye Lama (1000–1080).

19. Recent and contemporary lineage teachers.

Contemporary Nyingma lineages include ethnic Tibetan and other Himalayan teachers as well as Western lamas, and their students.

Some of these organizations are international networks of dharma centres and monasteries in the West and in Asia.

Some of the largest international Nyingma organizations are Namkhai Norbu's Dzogchen community and Sogyal Rinpoche's Rigpa organization.

Besides the major monasteries in Tibet, there are also now various Nyingma institutions of the Tibetan exile community in India.

20. Six Mother Monasteries

Of great importance to the Nyingma lineage is Samye monastery, (787), the 1st Tibetan and Nyingma monastery, which was founded by Śāntarakṣita.

In addition, the Nyingma tradition has held that there were also "Six Mother Monasteries" out of which developed a large number of branch monasteries throughout Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal.

Of these 6, Katok Monastery is credited with being the original monastery, after which the 5 grew.

There have been slightly different formulations of the 6.

At one time they included:

  1. Dorje Drak Monastery, (14th century, relocated 1632),
  2. Mindrolling Monastery, (1676),
  3. Palri Monastery (1571;);
  4. Katok Monastery, (1159),
  5. Palyul Monastery, (1665),
  6. Dzogchen Monastery, (1684),.

After the decline of Palri and the flourishing of Shechen Monastery, (1695), the Six Mother Monasteries included that instead of Palri Monastery.

Shechen Monastery was rebuilt in Nepal in 1985, after the Chinese destroyed the monastery in Tibet during the 1950's.