“Lineage is very important in Buddhism. It is of particular importance in Vajrayana Buddhism and in the Nyingma school. Lineage is not only the historical record and genealogy of masters who have held a particular teaching, nor is it only the teaching itself expressed verbally or on a page. These are important, of course, but what is even more important is the spiritual vitality of that teaching as it is transmitted from mind-to-mind and heart-to-heart. In other words, the lineage lives in the thoughts, words, and deeds of persons who have received, cherished, practiced, and achieved it. Therefore, if you have a book of profound teachings, study and try to implement it. If you are not connected to a master who holds the lineage of that teaching, you will not get very far.
The Dzogchen lineage is called the “Stainless Golden Mountain Lineage,” or the “Stainless Golden Chain Lineage.” This lineage flows powerfully from the Buddha Samantabhadra; it flows eternally. The Buddha Samantabhadra is the true nature of your mind; it is the state of infinite love, compassion, wisdom, and power. The Dzogchen lineage has therefore always been with to you—it is you—but you have not yet realized it. You now have the opportunity to realize this lineage, and to become what you truly are. You do this by connecting to a master who has realized his or her mind to be the Buddha Samantabhadra, and by practicing as instructed by that master with devotion, courage, and commitment. This is how the teachings have been preserved, this is how they are transmitted, this is how they are practiced, and this is how enlightenment is attained.”
Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches
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