4 Streams of Lineage

The indirect lineage of the Kagyu are the 
Four Special Transmission Lineages
 that were combined and transmitted by Tilopa

Tilopa received, condensed into one and transmitted four important transmission lineages in addition to his direct revelation from Vajradhara. Called the "four special transmission lineages," this transmission is known as the indirect lineage.

There are slightly different ways of looking at the details of the four special transmission lineages, including the two main sources reviewed here: the Third Karmapa Rangjung Dorje and Jamgon Kongtrul The Great.

The four special transmission lineages, according to the view of Third Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje, are: 1) Nagarjuna, Àryadeva, Chandrakirti, and Matangi are the southern special transmission; 2) Dombipa, Vinapa, Lvabapa (Kambala), and Indrabhâti are the western lineage; 3) Luyipa, Dengipa, Darikapa, and Sukhadhari are the northern lineage; 4) Sukhamahasiddhi, Thanglopa, Shinglopa, and Karnaripa are the eastern lineage. Jamgon Kongtrul explains that these four directions refer to the places from where these teachers came or where they manifested their activities.

According to Jamgon Kongtrul the Great, the four special transmission lineages, are: 1) the inner heat (San. candali; Tib. gtum mo) yoga lineage from Caryapada; 2) the illusory body (San. mayadeha; Tib. sgyu lus) and the luminosity (San. prabhasvara; Tib. 'od gsal) yoga lineage from Nagarjuna; 3) the dream (San. svapna; Tib. rmi lam) yoga lineage from Lvabapa (Kambala); and 4) the bardo (San. antarabhava; Tib. bar do) and the ejection of consciousness (San. samkranti; Tib. 'pho ba) yoga lineage from Sukhasiddhi. Tilopa also inherited other transmission lineages, such as the practice of the prajña consort (Tib. shes rab ma) from Indrabhuti; and the transference of consciousness (Tib. 'pho ba grong 'jug) from Matangi.

In addition to these sources, the view of Pawo Tsuklak Trengwa, second in the line of eminent Pawo incarnations and the "moon-like heart son" of the Eighth Gyalwang Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje, is primarily in accord with the Third Karmapa's, though there are some differences. See his Religious History: Banquet For The Scholars 740-744 (Beijing 1985).

Back to Tilopa  Naropa



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