Four Schools of Tibet
From the murals of Shechen Monastery. Used with permission of Rabjam Rinpoche.
The Four Dharma Traditions of the Land of Tibet
by Mipham Rinpoche
Nyingma followers of Secret Mantra emphasize the actual tantra.
They pursue the highest view and delight in conduct that is stable.
Many reach the vidyādhara levels and attain accomplishment,
And many are mantrins, whose power is greater than others.
Kagyü followers, the protectors of beings, emphasize devotion.
Many find that receiving the lineage's blessings is sufficient.
And many gain accomplishment through perseverance in the practice
They are similar to, and mix together with, the Nyingmapas.
The Riwo Gendenpas emphasize the ways of the learned.
They are fond of analytical meditation and delight in debate.
And they impress all with their elegant, exemplary conduct.
They are popular, prosperous, and put effort into learning.
The glorious Sakyapas emphasize approach and accomplishment.
Many are blessed through the power of recitation and visualisation,
They value their own ways and their regular practice is excellent.
When compared to any other school, they have something of them all.
Ema! All four dharma traditions of this land of Tibet
Have but one real source, even if they arose individually.
Whichever one you follow, if you practise it properly
It can bring the qualities of learning and accomplishment.
So, like children of the same father and same mother,
Cultivate mutual accord, devotion, and pure perception,
And, while focusing on your own tradition, avoid belittling others.
If you act in this way you will also be of service to the teachings.
I, Mipham, wrote this on the thirtieth day of the first month of the fire-monkey year (1896). Maṅgalam!
Translated by Adam Pearcey, 2016