According to generally accepted history, the rediscovering of terma began with the first tertön, Sangye Lama (1000–1080).

Throughout the centuries, many Nyingmapas were known as tertöns. Five of them were widely recognized as very important ones and called the "five tertön kings:"

The Drikung Kagyu also have a Dzogchen terma tradition, the Yangzab Dzogchen, based on termas revealed by Rinchen Phuntsog (16th century).