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Religious Traditions Grouped by Relationship (21st Century)

Religious Traditions Grouped by Relationship | Religions & Traditions Main Page

Subjects & Topics:
- Religious Traditions Grouped By Relationship (below)
- Traditions & Dates
- Religious Traditions Outline 1
- Religious Traditions Outline 2
- Religious Systems & Common Categories
- Confusions
- Others...

Buddhist Religious Traditions Grouped According to Relationship:

The Buddhist religious traditions discussed below are currently extant in the 21st century. The purpose of this page is to link and associate the relationships between the various schools and arrange them into their natural groupings.


The Nyingma Tradition prior to the 17th century was a large but loose grouping of independent family lineages with some small monasteries and hermitages. After the 17th century large monastic institutions were created with a number of them funded and supported by the 5th Dalai Lama. The Nyingma Tradition is doctrinally closest with the various Marpa Kagyu Traditions.

The Kagyu Tradition after Marpa and Milarepa branched into dozens of smaller schools with most over time becoming absorbed into Drugpa, Karma Kamtsang, Taglung or Drigung. The Drugpa Kagyu is the largest with the most followers followed by the Karma Kamtsang. The Nedo and Surmang are sub-schools of Karma Kamtsang. All of the existing Marpa Kagyu Traditions have a very close relationship with the lineages and doctrines of the Nyingma Tradition. In the 19th century Jamgon Kongtrul partially revived the Shangpa Tradition (unrelated to Marpa Kagyu) primarily based on the Shangpa lineages descending through the Jonangpa and the writings of Taranata.

Nyingma Traditions:

- Katog Monastery
- Dorje Drag Monastery
- Payul Monastery
- Mindrolling Monastery
- Dzogchen Monastery
- Shechen Monastery
- Independent Lineages

Kagyu Traditions:

- Drugpa Kagyu
- Drugpa Kagyu (Bhutan)
- Karma Kagyu (Kamtsang)
- Taglung Kagyu
- Drigung Kagyu
- Nedo Kagyu (Kamtsang)
- Surmang Kagyu (Kamtsang)
- Martsang Kagyu
Sakya and the Tsang Matrix: Traditions of the Tsang Province in Tibet, each having a unique founding history and mother monastery, that are doctrinally related by Lineage, Family Line, Tantric Cycles of Practice, and Protector Deities but administratively independent. In addition the Khon family of Sakya maintains their own independent lineage of Nyingma practice that descends from Padmasambhava. The Khon lineage of Nyingma can also be found in some of these other related traditions such as Jonang. The Shangpa Kagyu school (unrelated to the Marpa Kagyu) prior to the 17th was very much associated with the Sakya, Jonang, Bulug/Shalu and Bodong Traditions of Tsang Province.

- Sakya
- Dzongpa (Gongkar), Sakya
- Ngor, Sakya
- Tsar, Sakya
- Bulug/Shalu
- Bodong
- Jonang
- Shangpa Kagyu
- Chagzampa
The Gelug, or Gandenpa, Tradition promoted the early Mahayana traditions of the Kadam School and incorporated the Tantric Teachings of Sakya, Kagyu, Cho, Rwa Lug and others.

- Gelug
- Mongolian Buddhism
- Chinese Lamaism
Lineages of teaching that have been absorbed and preserved in the other traditions that continue into the 21st century. The Kadam teachings are preserved in the Sakya, Marpa Kagyu, Jonang and Gelug Traditions. The Shangpa is preserved in the Sakya, Jonang, Gelug and Karma Kagyu Traditions. The Cho and Zhije are primarily preserved in the Nyingma, Kagyu and Gelug Traditions. The Rwalug practices are preserved in the Sakya, Kagyu, Jonang and Gelug Traditions.

- Kadam
- Shangpa Kagyu
- Cho & Zhije
- Rwa-lug
(See a list of Founding Teachers and Hierarchy in the Buddhist Traditions).

Jeff Watt 4-2014