]] Tibetan Buddhism is practised throughout the Himalayan region, and, indeed, throughout the world. It dates back to the royal period of the so-called 'Yarlung dynasty', especially the time of King Trisong Detsen, during whose reign great Indian Buddhist masters like Shantarakshita, Guru Padmasambhava and Vimalamitra were invited to Tibet, and the country's first monastery was founded at Samyé. Several schools developed over the following centuries, the foremost among them being the Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyü and Gelug.
As His Holiness the Dalai Lama explains:<ref>Based on a teaching given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Finland, 1988. Published in Dzogchen and Padmasambhava, in the nine yanas chapter.</ref>
:Four major traditions—Nyingma, Kagyü, Sakya and Gelug—emerged as a result of the earlier and later dissemination of the Buddhist teachings in Tibet, and also because of the emphasis placed by great masters of the past on different scriptures, techniques of meditation and, in some cases, terms used to express particular experiences. :What is common to all the four major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism is their emphasis on the practice of the entire structure of the Buddhist path, which comprises the essence of not only the Vajrayana teachings, but also the Mahayana practices of the bodhisattvas, and the basic practices of the Fundamental Vehicle. In India, based on differences in philosophical standpoint, four major Buddhist schools of thought emerged: Vaibhashika, Sautrantika, Yogachara and Madhyamika. All four major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, however, uphold the philosophical standpoint of the Madhyamika school, and to that extent, there are no fundamental philosophical differences between them.