Seventeen Tantras

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Seventeen Tantras (Wyl. rgyud bcu bdun) of the Category of Pith Instructions, which were brought to Tibet by Vimalamitra and Guru Padmasambhava. Each tantra is not dependent upon the others but complete in itself.

  1. Self-existing Perfection (rdzogs pa rang byung)
  2. Without Letters (yi ge med pa)
  3. Self-arising Primordial Awareness (rig pa rang shar)
  4. Self-liberated Primordial Awareness (rig pa rang grol)
  5. Piled Gems (rin po che spung ba)
  6. Shining Relics of Enlightened Body (sku gdung 'bar ba)
  7. Reverberation of Sound (Tib. Dra Talgyur; Wyl. sgra thal 'gyur), the root tantra (rtsa rgyud) of these seventeen tantras
  8. Great Auspicious Beauty (bkra shis mdzes ldan)
  9. The Mirror of the Heart of Vajrasattva (rdo rje sems dpa' snying gi me long)
  10. The Mirror of the Mind of Samantabhadra (kun tu bzang po thugs kyi me long)
  11. Direct Introduction (ngo sprod spras pa)
  12. Necklace of Precious Pearls (mu tig rin po che'i phreng ba)
  13. Sixfold Expanse of Samantabhadra (kun tu bzang po klong drug)
  14. Blazing Lamp (sgron ma 'bar ba)
  15. Union of the Sun and Moon (nyi zla kha sbyor)
  16. Lion's Perfect Expressive Power (Tib. Sengé Tsaldzog; Wyl. seng ge rtsal rdzogs)
  17. Array of Jewels (nor bu phra bkod)

The tradition of Vimalamitra adds to them the Tantra of the Wrathful Mother, Protectress of Mantras (ngak sung tröma), to make eighteen in all, while the tradition of Padmasambhava also arrives at a total of eighteen by adding the Tantra of the Blazing Expanse of Luminosity (longsal barma). Generally, however, both the Tantra of the Wrathful Mother, Protectress of Mantras, from Vimalamitra’s tradition and the Tantra of the Blazing Expanse of Luminosity from Padmasambhava’s tradition are added to the Seventeen Tantras of the Innermost Secret Nyingtik Cycle, making a total of nineteen altogether.

Further Reading