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Kama (Tib. བཀའ་མ་, Wyl. bka' ma) means ”the words of the Buddha". In general, it refers to all the teachings given by the Buddha, in the form of Buddha Shakyamuni, but also Samantabhadra, Vajradhara and so on, and that have transmitted orally from master to student from the buddha to the present day.

All Buddhist traditions transmit the teachings of the words of the Buddha orally, from teacher to student. However, teachings of the Nyingma tradition of Tibet, principally, are also transmitted in a more direct way called terma that mostly originated, but not exclusively, with Guru Rinpoche, the ‘second buddha’.

Therefore, the Nyingmapa tradition speaks of the kama and terma as the two main sets of teachings. Their kama teachings have been gathered in the Nyingma Kama collection, and the termas in the Treasury of Precious Termas.

Alternative translations

  • Spoken teachings (Jacob Dalton)