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Terma (Tib. gter ma) - Spiritual treasures hidden by Guru Rinpoche and Yeshe Tsogyal in the earth and in the minds of disciples to be revealed at the appropriate time by ‘treasure revealers’ or tertöns. Many of these Ter were collected by Jamgön Kongtrul and Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo into more than sixty volumes, the Rinchen Terdzö, Precious Treasury of Terma. Termas can be divided into ‘Earth Termas’ (sa ter), which employ physical objects, and ‘Mind Termas’ (gong ter), discovered within the mindstream of the tertön.

Tulku Thondup writes:

“In order to prevent the deep teachings and sacred objects of tantra from becoming mixed, diluted, or lost in the distant future, and in order to maintain their blessing powers afresh for future followers, Guru Rinpoche and Yeshe Tsogyal concealed them. They are discovered at the appropriate time by realized masters through their enlightened power.”[1]


  1. Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Tulku Thondup Rinpoche

Further Reading

  • Aris, Michael, Hidden Treasures and Secret Lives, Motilal Banarsidass, 1988
  • Doctor, Andreas, Tibetan Treasure Literature: Revelation, Tradition and Accomplishment in Visionary Buddhism, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2005
  • Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, Boston: Wisdom, revised edition 2002
  • Tulku Thondup, Hidden Teachings of Tibet: An Explanation of the Terma Tradition of the Nyingma School of Buddhism, Boston: Wisdom, reprint edition 1997

External Links