Lama Zopa Rinpoche giving an oral transmission from a Mahamudra text by Panchen Losang Chokyi Gyaltsen, Nalanda, India, January 2017. Photo by Ven. Losang Sherab.

A lung (pronounced loong) is the oral transmission of a text, mantra, or practice by an authorized holder. Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains more about lungs in a video below.

In Tibetan the word for oral transmission is spelled lung (ལུང). It should not be confused with a different word that sounds similar, lung meaning “wind,” spelled rlung (རླུང་) in Tibetan.

In the video, Lama Zopa Rinpoche emphasizes that lungs come in an unbroken lineage from the Buddha or Lama Tsongkhapa, which gives them blessings. He also mentions that he thinks practices are more effective after we receive a lung—especially if we pay attention while receiving them!

Calling lungs “powerful,” Rinpoche talks in this 9-minute video about the meaning and benefits of lungs and how to receive them. The video is an excerpt from his teachings at the 2016 Light of the Path retreat.

Subtitles of Rinpoche’s words appear in the video if you click “CC” in the bottom right corner, for “Closed Captions”.

Watch Lama Zopa Rinpoche on YouTube as he gives a short talk on lungs:

The complete teachings from the 2016 Light of the Path retreat can be found here:

Register for the 2017 Light of the Path retreat here:

Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), a Tibetan Buddhist organization dedicated to the transmission of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and values worldwide through teaching, meditation and community service.