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When the Buddha's outer teachings were collected together and formalized, they were arranged into three lots which were called the "Three Baskets". The Tantric esoteric teachings - “gyud” were considered then as a "Fourth Basket".

  1. "The Basket of Discipline" - "Vinaya-pitaka" - “Dul-wa’í de-nöd”The Vinaya-pitaka containing the codes of disciplines for lay practitioners and monastics, though it is mainly taken up with the latter since they are much more extensive than the former;
  2. "The Basket of Discourses" - "Sutra-pitaka” - “Do-de’i de-nöd”The sutra pitaka containing the general discourses of the Buddha;
  3. "The Basket of Abhidharma" - "abhidharmapitaka" - “Chö-ngön-pa’i de-nöd”: The Abhidharma-pitaka containing the metaphysical teachings.

When the esoteric teachings are spoken of in relation to the exoteric teachings, all three baskets are summed up and called the sutra section and the tantras are called the tantra section; the "sutra section" in that case should not be confused with the sutra pitaka as one of the three baskets. The tantra-pitaka is referred to as the fourth basket.

Before proceeding to the explanation of the Buddhist transmission lineages of Tibet, one should pay attention to the fact that although Tibetan Buddhism is comprised of the most complete record of Buddhist Teachings and commentaries, this would not have been possibel without the earlier presence of a series of outstanding Great Indian Masters, known as "The Six Ornaments of Jambuvipa": Six particularly greatmasters of the Buddhist tradition taken from among all of the masters who appeared while Buddhism flourished in India.

1. 'lu drub' - Nagarjuna

Nagarjuna was born of a Brahmin family in the region calledVedarva in South India approximately 400 yearsafter the Buddha's parinirvana. He studied all of thesutras and tantras from anearly age, becoming very expert in them. He took ordination from Saraha at Nalanda Monastic University. He published many treatises on the intent ofthe Buddha both sutra and tantra as wellas many, many books on subjects of medicine and alchemy.

Nagarjuna's dharma works are usuallyput into groups called 'Collections'. They are commonly listed as three but there is also a listing as four:

The three collections are:

1.'tam tshog' -'Collected Stories'. These texts address the issues of the First Turning of thewheel of Dharma. They are called'stories' because it is regarded that many of the teachings of the First Turning of the wheel were given in the manner of a story being told to childrenin order to get them to turn away from cyclic existence;

2.'rig tshog' -'Collected Reasonings'. A grouping of texts related to the second turn of theWheel fo Dharma that rely on reasoning to establish the view of Madhyamaka; Amongst them 'rig-pa'i tshog-drug' - 'The Six Collections on Reasoning'. A group made up of the following six texts:

1. 'u ma tsa wa'i tshig le'ur jay pa shey rabzhey ja wa' - prajñanama mulamadhyamakakarika -'The Root Verses of the Middle Way called Prajña';

2. 'zhib mo nam thag' - vaidalya sutra - 'The Fine Weaving';

3. 'tsöd pa dog pa'i tshig le'ur jay pa' - vigrahavyavartanikarika - 'The Verses WhichTurn Away Opposing Arguments';

4. 'tong pa nyid dün chu pa'i tshig le'ur jay pa'- shunyata saptatikarika - 'The Seventy Verses on Emptiness';

5. 'rig pa drug chu pa'i tshig le'ur jay pa' - [yuktirhastikakarika] - 'The Sixty Verses on Reasoning';

6. 'rin chen threng wa' - [Ratnavali] - 'The Precious Garland of Advice to a King'.

3. 'töd tshog' - 'CollectedPraises'. The set consists of a text called , Géc-NqÉEc-T¤éN-R, - 'chö ying töd pa'- [dharmadhatu stotra] - 'In Praise of the Dharmadhatu'. The text is important because,unlike any of his other texts, it explicitly shows the meaning of the third turningof the wheel of dharma;

4. 'de kho na nyid tshog' - 'Suchness Collection'. These texts concern tantricpractice. Amongst them are the 'Four Mudras' and the 'Five stages'.

Although Nagarjuna was a great tantric master, he is particularly famous as one of the two greatest codifiers of the Buddha's Mahayana teaching, the other being Asaoga. Of the two, he is the one who set in place the system of the 'zab mo ta wa'i srol' - 'profound view of Mahayana', the understanding of emptiness through reasoning and who set in motion the tradition of the Buddha's understanding according tothe Mañjushri (intellect) style ofteaching. In doing so, he became the founder of the Madhyamaka Buddhist philosophical system.

He and his work were prophesied by the Buddha in one of the Agamas:

"In the south, in the countryof Veta, a bhikrhu renowned as very glorious,

Called by the name 'Naga', Destroyer of the sides of existence and non-existence..".

2. 'phag pa lha' - Aryadeva

Aryadeva, the principal disciple ofNagarjuna, was a great Indian master ofBuddhism. He had the fourth type of birth,  'dzü te kyey pa', a miraculous birth, which was from a lotus in his case. He was sent by Nagarjuna to debate with 'lob pön pa wo' - 'Acharya Vira' and became famous for defeating him. Later, he became the first holder of Nagarjuna's lineage of Madhyamaka Prasaogika teachings. He wrote several of his own texts on the subject such as the 'FourHundred Verses on the Middle Way'.

3. 'thog med' - Asanga

Asanga was born about 900 years after the Buddha's nirvana (approx. 5th centuryAD) as the son of a Brahmin called 'Suprakashashila'. As an adult he went to 'riwo ja kang' - 'Birdsfoot Peak' and practised there for twelve years attempting to meet , 'jam pa' - 'Maitreya', the coming buddha, face to face. He finally did so and was taken by Maitreya to Turhita Heaven where he received extensive teachings on the concealed meaning of Mahayana. He returned to earth and wrote the teachings down in a set of five major texts which are called the 'jam-chö de-nga' - 'The Five Dharmas of Maitreya'. He wrote many other texts on the Mahayana, too. His brother Vasubhandu, a Shravaka monk who thoroughlyrejected the Mahayana teachings, was against him atfirst. However, Vasubhandu later recanted and, at the urging of Asanga, in order to overcome the negativity which he had created towards the Mahayana, wrote profound commentaries on Asanga's works.

Asanga thus became the second of the "the two who set great traditions in motion". He set in place the 'gya-chen chöd-pa'i srol' - 'system of the vast conduct of Mahayana'. Thus he set in motion the tradition of theBuddha's understanding according to the Maitreya (skilful means) style of the teaching. His system became the source of general teachings on the vast conduct of Mahayana, the general system called 'sem-tsam'- 'Mind-only', and the profound Madhyamaka system called 'zhän-tong' - 'Other Emptiness'.

In particular, he and his lineage, which started with Vasubhandu, differentiated the Buddha's teachings into 'drang-dön' - 'provisional meaning' and 'ngeydön' - 'definitive meaning'. This was prophesied by the Buddha in one of theAgamas:

"A bhikhu who will be called 'Asanga', expert in the meaning of the shastras,

Will thoroughly distinguish many aspects of provisional and definitive meaning in the Sutra."

He was regarded as having attained the third bodhisatva bhumi. Because of his attainment of the bodhisatva bhumis, he is usually referred to as 'phag pa thog med' - 'Arya Asanga'.

4. 'yig nyen' - Vasubhandu

Vasubandhu, brother of Asanga, came to be his lineageholder. Early in life he was a Buddhist monk who followed the Hinayana vehicle only and who disparaged the Mahayana greatly out of contempt for it. Later, due to the influence of his brother, Asanga, he realized that the Mahayana was the teaching of the Buddha and embraced it. His brother instructed him to write treatises on the dharma in order to atone for his previous negativity. Because of that, he wrote a series of works called 'prakarana de-gyäd' "The Eight Prakarana".

5. 'chog gi lang po' - Dignaga

Dignaga, great master of the 6th century AD. It is commonly stated that he is the means by which the lineage of pramana was propagated fully. However, there are two lineages of pramana, his being the most commonly known. His main text is the 'tshäd- ma kun-lay tü-pa - "Compendium of Pramana".

His writings were amplified by the student of his lineage, 'chö kyi drag pa' - Dharmakirti.

Dignaga was born in Southern India in the royal caste. He took ordination from Upadhyaya Rajeshvara and, by attending Vasubhandu, became extremely expert in pramana. Gathering together various scattered treatises on the subject, he composed the great, complete textbook, the Compendium of Pramana, both root and commentary, as well as many other texts, including the 'mig-pa tag-pa' root text and commentary, as well as 'dü-sum tag-pa',  'rig-pa la jug-pa', - 'chog chö gu'i khorlo', and so on, th ereby becoming the founder of the Buddhist tradition of logic.

6. 'chö drag' - Dharmakirti

A great Buddhist logician of the 7th century in India, he expanded his master Dignaga's works in the form of a set of seven texts about pramana: 'tshädma de dün', taken as the standard texts on the subject.

The approach of these texts basically follows the tenet system of the Sautrantrika system.

These seven treatises consist of:

1. a full commentary on the subject, 'tshäd-ma nam-drel' - Pramanavartika;

2. a medium length work on the subject, 'tshäd-ma nam-par ngey-pa' - Pramanavinishcaya;

3. a condensed work on the subject, 'rig pa'i thig pa' - Nyaya-bindu, the three main texts and :

4. 'tän tshig thig pa'- Hetu-bindu;

5. 'drel-wa tag-pa' -Sambandha-parakirha;

6. 'gyüd-zhän drub-pa'- Samtanantara-siddhi;

7. 'tsöd pa'i rig pa'- Vada-nyaya; which are like its limbs."

LEGAL SETUP

All Religious activities held at "TNG Centre®" are operated under a French Cultual Association 1905. All other non-religious activities such as hosting cultural events and seminars, are operated by Association 1901 DRA TAGPA RITRU®, legally registered and audited since February 2000.

VISITING US

TNG-Centre® is located in the South of France, near FOURTOU, a village of the "Haute Vallée des Corbières" in the French department of Aude.

Looking for MAP location?  Click HERE.

CREDITS

Concept : Philippe DANAUX aka Lama SANGYAY TENDZIN - BRUSSELS - B

Graphic design : Davide OPPIZZI - Dcube Agency® - Geneva - CH

Last Edit : February 2017 Laughing