The Aro tradition and the Nyingma mainstream

Düdjom Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentsé Rinpoche—two of the greatest Nyingma Lamas of the 20th Century, and teachers of Ngak’chang Rinpoche

Düdjom Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentsé Rinpoche: epitomes of the Nyingma mainstream

The Aro gTér is an “unusual” lineage within the Nyingma tradition. Does it contradict other Nyingma teachings? No; none.

I am confident about this. I have read more than a hundred books on Tibetan Buddhism. I have attended teachings and retreats with dozens of teachers from many lineages. I have been an Aro apprentice since 1997. If something in the Aro gTér were wrong, I expect I would have found it by now.

The Aro gTér doctrines are all mainstream. As far as I know, it does not include any type of practice that is not found elsewhere. (I discuss this in more detail on a later page.)

What is unusual about the tradition is mainly not what it includes, but what it does not. Typically, Buddhist Tantra is presented as a system of ritual performance. Usually, the main ritual activity is chanting texts. In the Aro gTér, there is much less of this. Instead, it emphasizes silent meditation and non-ritual physical practices.

To the extent that what the Aro gTér includes is unusual, it is only in presenting the other yanas from the point of view of Dzogchen. This is orthodox in the Nyingma, but it is not common for it to be done so consistently. In fact, the more common presentation is the other way around. Dzogchen is more often presented from point of view of Mahayoga—that is, as a system of rituals and liturgy.

In fact, there are only two aspects of the Aro gTér that anyone has ever questioned. Those are the teachings on the nine bardos and on vajra romance. You can follow the links to find answers to those questions.