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Lama (Tib. བླ་མ་, Wyl. bla ma as the contraction of Tib. བླ་ན་མེད་པ་, Wyl. bla na med pa; Skt. guru) — a spiritual teacher in the Vajrayana.


There exists several categorizations, such as the four kinds of teacher:

  1. the individual teacher who is the holder of the lineage (Tib. གང་ཟག་བརྒྱུད་པའི་བླ་མ་, gangzak gyüpé lama, Wyl. gang zag brgyud pa'i bla ma)
  2. the teacher which is the word of the buddhas (Tib. རྒྱལ་བ་བཀའ་ཡི་བླ་མ་, gyalwa ka yi lama, Wyl. rgyal ba bka' yi bla ma)
  3. the symbolic teacher of all appearances (Tib. སྣང་བ་བརྡ་ཡི་བླ་མ་, nangwa da yi lama, Wyl. snang ba brda yi bla ma)
  4. the absolute teacher, which is rigpa, the true nature of mind (Tib. རིག་པ་དོན་གྱི་བླ་མ་, rigpa dön gyi lama, Wyl. rig pa don gyi bla ma)

Or the six kinds of teacher:

  1. the universal (or general) teacher
  2. the teacher who gives access to the Dharma
  3. teacher who gives empowerments and samayas
  4. vow-restoring teacher
  5. the mind-liberating teacher (who explains the tantras)
  6. the teacher who grants pith instructions

Alternative Translations

  • spiritual mentor (Wallace)

Teachings Given to the Rigpa Sangha

  • Sogyal Rinpoche, Paris, 31 October 2011
  • Sogyal Rinpoche, Paris, 13 November 2016

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