This page is intended as a resource for those who read a book by a master, see or hear him/her in the media, and wish to find out more. It is a guide to some of the more important masters, particularly those operating in the West, and to the organisations they create: the places you can go to find out more or practise their teachings. To be included, a master must usually have at least five centres or five commercially-published books.

Ajahn Maha Boowa
Ajahn Sumedho
Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw
Ven. Maha Ghosananda
Sayadaw U Janaka
Sayadaw U Pandita
Sayadaw Pa-Auk Tawya
Ven. Ayya Khema
Sayagyi U Ba Khin
Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh
Ven. Seung Sahn Soen-sa
Ven. Master Hsing Yun
Ven. Master Chin Kung
Ven. Master Hsuan Hua
Ven. Master Sheng Yen
Taisen Deshimaru, Roshi
Rev. Jiyu-Kennett, Roshi
Robert Aiken, Roshi
Phillip Kapleau, Roshi

H.H. Dalai Lama
Lama Gangchen
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Karma Thinley Rinpoche
Sogyal Rinpoche
Chogyam Trungpa
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
H.E. Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
H.H. the Gyalwang Drukpa
Tarthang Tulku
Penor Rinpoche
Choegyal Namkhai Norbu
Chime Ridzin Lama
Chagdud Tulku
Kalu Rinpoche
Dr Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Ven. Ani Tendzin Palmo
Bikshuni Pema Chodron
Lama Ole Nydahl
NB: Some of these masters are deceased but they are listed because they have created an active organisation which is still functioning.

You are welcome to submit details of your own organisation. Please note that Buddhanet writes its own biographies and tries to get information from a variety of sources. If you wish to send information: text and/or images via email attachment (see the example of Mahasi and Ole Nydahl) please e-mail the webmaster.

You can find out more about Lineages on the Schools and Lineages section.

A lineage is a group of teachings or practises handed down from teachers to their students, who become teachers in their own right. There are also ordination lineages: that is the line or ordination (monks and nuns) which is always traceable back to the Buddha.

Lineage is considered important in Buddhism, particularly in the Zen and Tibetan tradition where the master or guru occupies the main role in spiritual development. There are some practices, meditations and texts which may be learnt from secondary sources, such as books, and some which must be given directly. But before teaching any of these, a person should have received authorisation or permission to teach. The giving of this permission is dependent on spiritual understanding and attainment: almost never is it a political or allegiance matter. Lineages are traceable back to the Buddha or sometimes, to a great and acknowledged master. New lineages are started by people who are regarded as masters by those few masters in each generation who are considered extraordinary.

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