Lineage: Love, Transformation, Action by Namdrol Miranda Adams
One of my first experiences with lineage was in 1997, in New York City, at the end of a three day teaching on the Perfection of Wisdom Sutras and Buddhist Refuge with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. At the end of the teachings, His Holiness and an entourage of about twelve Tibetan monks were packing up to leave. I remember remaining in the theater, watching them until the last, and walking outside to see them exit the stage doors with their belongings, get into cars, and drive away. One of them saw me watching and stopped, looked deeply and kindly at me, and smiled. Then he continued loading up the cars. As they pulled away from the theater, I was crying.
I remember a distinct, powerful, and quite surprising longing that arose as foremost in my mind and heart at that time: I wanted so much to go with them. Actually, I felt as if I should be with them…
…In retrospect, this was an early experience with a connection to a Buddhist lineage. Formally, a Buddhist lineage is a line of transmission of the Buddhist teaching that is traced back generations to Buddha himself. There is a great deal of conversation, debate, and discussion about lineage in Buddhism, and in Tibetan Buddhism it is particularly important.