THE 4 SCHOOLS OF TIBETAN BUDDHISM
* Nyingmapa: This is the oldest sect of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by Padmasambhava and noted in the West for the teachings of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
* Kagyupa: Founded by Tilopa (998 -1069) Kagyupa tradition is headed by the Karmapa. Important Kagyupa teachers include Naropa, Marpa, and Milarepa.
* Sakyapa: Created by Gonchok Gyelpo (1034-1102) and his son Gunga Nyingpo (1092-1158).
* Gelugpa: (The Virtuous School) Founded by Tsong Khapa Lobsang Drakpa (also called Je Rinpoche) (1357 – 1419), this tradition is headed by the Dalai Lama.
In Tibetan Buddhism, you will hear phrases like Lama and Rinpoche.
Tibetan Buddhism believes that we are all reborn over and over until we can free ourselves from the cycle of Samsara. This is the state of being trapped in ignorance, anger & attachment.
If someone is a Rinpoche (pronounced Rin po chay) he is the reincarnation of a Tibetan Lama.
A Lama is a teacher. They are often a senior member of a monastic community – a monk or a nun – but lay people and married people can also be lamas. They are very often reincarnations of previous lamas.
As well as being very learned in Buddhist texts and philosophy, lamas often have particular skills in ritual. Lamas have usually spent many years studying all aspects of Buddhism and not just their own school of beliefs.
There is also a more recent School becoming increasingly popular here in the West as Buddhism & Mindfulness based practice becomes more favoured.
* New Kadampa Tradition: one of the major Buddhist schools in the UK, founded by the Tibetan-born Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Some Buddhists and non-Buddhists regard the NKT as outside the mainstream tradition.
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