3rd Anniversary of the Parinirvana of H.H. the 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoché

Menri Monastery shrine dedicated to H.H. 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoché. Photo credit: Khenpo Nyima Künchap Rinpoché.

On the 24th day of the 7th lunar month in the Western year 2017, His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoché displayed his realization by passing into nirvana from his physical body. In 2020 this date coincides with September 11th. On this day, Yungdrung Bön religious centers worldwide will recognize this auspicious day with special prayers and rituals.

Golden statue of HH 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoché in his home village.

Supplication Prayer to H.H. the 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoché

“The omniscient wisdom of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions is condensed into a single essence in you, Highest One.

You carry out the enlightened activities of spreading the vast and profound teachings of Tönpa Shenrap.

To you, Lungtok Tenpé Nyima, I supplicate and pray.”

“EMAHO!

To the lama who is the embodiment of all of the Victors and spiritual masters,

who acts principally through the accomplishment of Bön for sentient beings who are as limitless as the sky,

I offer prostrations with my body, prostrating with my arms, legs and head!

I prostrate with my speech, chanting with a joyous and inspired melody!

I prostrate with my mind, prostrating with single-pointed motivation and devotion!

May the negative actions and defilements of my three doors become purified!”

— From Offerings for the Lama

All translations and content by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

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The Mind of Generosity

His Holiness 34th Menri Trizin Rinpoche and other Menri monks offering the mandala. Photo credit: Unknown

“OM

With devotion and non-attachment, and for their complete satisfaction,

I offer to the four supreme places a golden mandala of the three thousand-fold universe containing mountains, continents, and clouds of offerings filled with the riches of gods and humans.

May the abundant wealth and success of all migrating beings be established!”

— From the publication The Heartdrop of Jamma, the Loving Mother

For more information or to order the publication, see previous post: https://ravencypresswood.com/2019/07/20/the-practice-of-jamma-chenmo-the-great-loving-mother-2/

 

Practicing Generosity and Non-attachment

His Eminence Menri Ponlop Yangtön Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche being offered a mandala representing all inner and outer offerings. Photo credit: Unknown

“Mandala Offering

Emaho!

Within a golden mandala of a boundless buddha realm are arranged heaps of beautiful and brightly shining precious jewels.

These vast clouds of offerings, both real and imagined, that include the completely fulfilling and marvelous wealth and riches of both gods and humans,

I and all other sentient beings present this offering to the three precious jewels in order to perfect the two accumulations of merit and wisdom.

Please accept this with your compassionate blessings!”

— From The Accomplishment of Purifying Defilements with DU TRI SU, A Lamp that Clears Away the Darkness and Shakes the Depths of Cyclic Existence

All translations and content by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved.

No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

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Book: Nangshig – A Tibetan Bönpo Monastery and its Family in Amdo


Nangshig: A Tibetan Bönpo Monastery and its Family in Amdo is a 146 page study of the largest Yungdrung Bön monastery in Tibet as well as the family and reincarnation lineages associated with it. The chapters are short, concise and dense with information. It is written by Tsering Thar from information gathered during his fieldwork in Amdo that he performed on behalf of the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, Japan.

In the eleventh century, Do Phak Yönten Gyaltsen, a.k.a. Do Phak Chenpo, established a hermitage in Eastern Tibet in a region now known as Amdo. In 1168, this hermitage was expanded by his oldest son, Nyima Dzin, into Nangzhig Monastery. For over two centuries, Bön was the only religion in the area and the entire population were followers of the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition.

This book touches on the subject of Nangzhig’s history as both a religious temple and a center for education, the associated reincarnation and family lineages, the ritual services that are regularly performed, and the hierarchy and succession systems of the monastery. Although not an exhaustive study, it is broad enough in its scope to provide a solid overview of one of the most important Yungdrung Bön monasteries that continues to thrive to the present day.

“Nangzhig monastery is the largest monastic university of the Bön religion in the Tibetan cultural area. monastic education was by far the prevalent educational system in Tibet, and this system produced the great masters and scholars in Tibetan history. Even today, it continues to play a very important role in Tibetan education, especially in maintaining traditional culture. Monastic education in the Bön religion is an important and influential part of Tibetan monastic education. Its lineal succession system and method of teaching also influenced Tibetan Buddhism.”

— Extract from Nangshig: A Tibetan Bönpo Monastery and its Family in Amdo

Published and distributed by Vajra Books.

For more about Nangzhig Monastery, see previous post: https://ravencypresswood.com/2019/05/18/nangzhig-largest-yungdrung-bon-monastery-in-tibet/

Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

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Anniversary of the Birth of H.H. 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoché

H.H. 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoché. Photo credit: Unknown

H.H. 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoché was born in Tibet on the 15th day of the 5th lunar month in the Western year 1929 in the village of Kyongtsang in the far eastern province of Amdo. In 2020, this date corresponds with July 5th on the Western calendar.

When he was eight years old, his father took him to the nearby monastery of Phuntsok Dargyé Ling where he learned to read, write and chant. He completed his Geshé Degree at 25 under the guidance of Lopön Tenzin Lodro Gyatso Rinpoché. The following year he traveled South to the Bön province of Gyalrong, where he printed copies of the Bön Kanjur from traditional woodblocks. After gathering a vast amount of material and using mules to carry more than 100 volumes of the sacred texts, he made an arduous six-month journey back to his monastery.

In 1969, after extensive preparatory initiations, he assumed his duties as the 33rd Abbot of Menri Monastery and began leading the effort to re-establish Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India. After many years of indescribable and tireless efforts on behalf of the Yungdrung Bön tradition as well as the worldwide Bön community and all sentient beings, he displayed the truth of impermanence and passed into nirvana on the 27th day of the 7th lunar month in the Western year 2017.

The anniversary of his birth is a powerful day to engage in virtuous practice, recite prayers and mantra, and especially renew spiritual vows. In honor of the  extraordinary life and enlightened activity of His Holiness the 33rd holder of the golden throne of Tashi Menri Monastery Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoché, this Words of Truth Aspiration Prayer has been translated and is being made publicly available to the worldwide Yungdrung Bön community for their personal use. Follow this link to the Publications page and scroll down for the download link: https://ravencypresswood.com/publications/

 

Words of Truth Aspiration Prayer

“Through these unerring and interdependent words of truth,

may the banner of the teachings of sutra and mantra of the lords of the Land of Snow, the Menri Conquerors, be elevated, and may they remain for a very long time, until the end of existence!

The embodiment of all of the conquerors of our time is Nyammé Sherap Gyal

who was endowed with the three-fold trainings and the happiness of holding the yellow robe.

May the auspiciousness of your profound and wondrous enlightened activity increase in every direction like the waxing moon!

May the extraordinary sunlight of the Victor’s teachings radiate throughout hundreds of directions!

May the victory banner of Bön be properly established, and may the teachings blaze for a very long time!

Mother Sipé Gyalmo, Protector Midü and brother and sister protectors who act to accomplish whatever kind of enlightened activity to uphold the white hat tradition,

may you raise the banner of the teachings! Oh listen!

Thus, this secret mantra Words of Truth Aspiration Prayer was composed by the distinguished Yungdrung Gyaltsen.

Virtue!”

— Composed by H.H. 11th Menri Trizin Yungdrung Gyaltsen Rinpoché

All translations by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

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Aspiration Prayer for the Continuation of the Yungdrung Bön Teachings: Publicly Offered Translation

Lighting a candle offering at Menri Monastery. Photo credit: Unknown

The practice of making aspirational prayers is one of the ten perfections. The Tibetan word for this is mönlam, wylie: smon lam. This is a compound of the two words “mön” meaning aspiration or wish, and “lam” meaning path. The mönlam is a kind of spiritual mission statement that invokes the truth of the words of the buddhas and the truth of the ultimate nature of reality. These aspirations can spontaneously manifest as we purify our obscurations and develop our wisdom and positive qualities.

The Aspiration Prayer for the Continuation of the Teachings, also known as the Tengyé Mönlam, is a well-known and commonly practiced aspiration prayer within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition. It is especially sung at the conclusion of special events and gatherings at Tashi Menri Monastery in India, the mother monastery of the Yungdrung Bön community.

“May the lotus feet of the incomparable lamas who hold, sustain and increase the tradition remain steadfast!

May the completely upright community flourish, and may great, resounding acclaim for them fill the land!

Depending upon these aspirations and although having eliminated all illness, hunger and violence for all migrating beings who are as vast as the sky,

and a hundred thousand auspicious suns of benefit and happiness having arisen,

ultimately may everyone have the auspiciousness of attaining complete buddhahood!”

— Extract from Aspiration Prayer for the Continuation of the Teachings

The English language translation of the prayer can be downloaded from this page: https://ravencypresswood.com/publications/

To hear this prayer sung by His Eminence Menri Pönlop Yangtön Thrinley Nyima Rinpoché, click on the link below. He begins the prayer at approximately 13:10.

https://cybersangha.net/prayer-for-pandemic/

All translations and content by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

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Transforming Body and Mind with the Wise Loving Mother

Sherap Jamma, the Wise Loving Mother, is a Buddha who manifests as a loving mother who cares for each and every sentient being as though they were her only child. The Heartdrop of Jamma is an aural transmission given by Khandro Sherap Lopelma, an emanation of Jamma, to His Holiness 22nd Menri Trizin Sonam Lodro Rinpoché. Lama Tsultrim Nyima, the abbot of the 1st Yungdrung Bön temple in exile in Dhorpatan, Nepal, advised the Bönpo refugees to recite The Heartdrop of Jamma together as a family every evening after dinner. This evening recitation continues to this very day among many Bönpo families.

This text is the heart essence of Buddha Sherap Jamma’s qualities of perfected wisdom and complete realization. In this practice, every aspect of the mind, consciousness and physical body are transformed into a manifestation of Buddha Sherap Jamma through the power of the syllables of her essence mantra. In this way, our wisdom, realization and positive qualities increase and our attachment to a rigid, self-focused identity decreases.

Links to purchase the complete English and Spanish language translations of The Heartdrop of Jamma are available on this page: https://ravencypresswood.com/publications/

“From the É MA at the twenty fingers and toes manifests the outer retinue.

I prostrate to the thirty-two Mothers!

From the sixteen letters HO at the soles of the feet,

the palms of the hands,

the two forearms,

the two shins,

the two thighs,

the upper arms,

and inside the four organs manifests the four outer, four inner, four secret, and the four innermost secret doorkeepers.

I prostrate to the manifestations who open the doors to realization, methods of practice, abiding, and to the path!”

— Extract from The Heartdrop of Jamma

All translations and content by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

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The Sadak Nye Lam Dé Zhi Ritual: Restoring Environmental Peace & Harmony

Mandala palace for the Sadak Nye Lam Dé Zhi ritual.

At Triten Norbutse Monastery each year during fourth lunar month from the 12th – 16th lunar days the Sadak Nye Lam Dé Zhi ritual is performed. In 2020, these dates coincide with June 3rd-6th. This ritual is performed in both monasteries and households throughout Tibet and His Eminence Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoché has established this ritual as part of the yearly religious calendar at Triten Norbutsé Monastery. It is more commonly referred to by its shortened name “Nye Lam Dé Zhi” and monks often refer to it simply as “the Summer ritual.” The literal English translation of “Sadak Nye Lam Dé Zhi” could be rendered as “the four kinds of shortcut to the sadak.” The term “sadak” means rulers of the earth and the ritual primarily addresses four specific groups of sadak within this broad category: 1) the lu [Sanskrit: naga] who are associated with bodies of water, 2: a subgroup of sadak that are associated with the earth and soil 3) nyen who are associated with open fields and the sky, and 4) tö who are associated with boulders and cliffs especially red boulders and rocks. The purpose of the ritual is to appease, restore and cleanse all the worldly spirits due to disturbances caused by humanity. Thereby, it restores harmony between us and heals the natural environment and its elements of earth, water, fire, and wind. The Nye Lam Dé Zhi text that is used for the ritual was discovered as a terma, or hidden treasure, by Pönsé Khyunggö Tsal in the 12th or 13th century at Mt. Tisé [a.k.a Mt. Kailash.]

The Nye Lam Dé Zhi ritual includes prayers of apology to the four groups of worldly spirits for disturbing them by cutting trees, interfering with the natural course of waterways, digging into the earth, destroying or moving rocks, and generally causing the destruction of the natural environment. Our manipulation and control of these natural systems causes imbalances and disharmony between the elements and becomes a source of disruption, illness and upset for these worldly spirits. Therefore, we are subjected to epidemics, droughts, failing crops, increasing violence and military conflicts, as well as natural disasters from the elements such as floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and landslides.

Namkha and offerings for the Sadak Nye Lam Dé Zhi. Photo credit: Unknown

Through their acceptance of our offerings and our heartfelt words of apology during the Nye Lam Dé Zhi ritual, we request that they stop causing or supporting the occurrence of epidemics, natural disasters, droughts, military conflicts, accidents, and misfortune etc. This ritual action combined with meditative focus has the power to pacify the vengeful and aggrieved minds of these spirits and therefore avert any further harm or injury caused by them. Additionally, these spirits will act to support and increase our prosperity, protect and increase crops and domestic animals, protect us from danger and accidents, and generally act on our behalf.

In general, it takes many monks for four full days to complete the preparations for the size of the ritual performed at the monastery. The construction of the dö, which represents the entire universe, begins with the creation of a sand mandala which is an architectural representation of the immeasurable palace within which the enlightened deities and worldly deities will be ritually invited to reside and stay during the ritual presentation of the offerings.

Yungdrung Bön monks creating the sadak nyelam sand mandala at Gyalshen Institute. Photo credit: Unknown.

In the center of the mandala upon four petals are the four seed syllables of the four principal enlightened lords of the Yungdrung Bön tradition: 1) Satrik Érsang, 2) Tönpa Shenrap, 3) Sangpo Bumtri, and 4) Shenlha Ökar. (For more information, see previous article: https://ravencypresswood.com/2016/08/20/the-four-principal-enlightened-ones/ ) Just beyond that is the four seed syllables of the four principal ones that subdue the four kinds of worldly spirits and the seed syllables for the four subduing garudas. Beyond that in the outer corners of the mandala are the seed syllables for the four kinds of worldly spirits which are the primary focus of the offerings and recitations. Beyond that are the four gateways in each of the four directions which are the entrances into the mandala palace. This palace is then filled with thread-crosses and torma that act as a support for the presence of the deities and worldly guests. It is then ornamented with greenery, grains, and other precious substances. Surrounding it are the various offerings that will be presented.

The actual ritual begins with the usual preliminaries which purify and consecrate all of the offerings, ritual implements and participants. Then, a brief ritual is performed in order to ask the earth goddess, Sayi Lhamo, for her permission and blessing to perform the Sadak Nye Lam Dé Zhi. Then, a ritual boundary is established that will remain until the conclusion of the ritual. These preliminaries are only necessary at the beginning and will not be performed again in the following days. After the preliminaries, the enlightened deities are invited to take their seats within the mandala palace, their respective mantras are recited and offerings are presented to them. Similarly, the subduers and the worldly spirits are invited. This too only needs to be performed once. Now that the presence of the deities is within the mandala palace, no one is allowed to come near the ritual dö unless it is to present offerings or pay homage. Much of the rest of the ritual recitations such as praising the qualities of the deities and the respective prayers for presenting each type of offering are repeated throughout the course of each of the days of the ritual. In conclusion, the four groups of spirits having become completely satisfied and happy with the ritual are asked to return to their respective homes. Then, prayers of aspiration for health, happiness, prosperity and good fortune are recited with the final prayer being that of dedicating the merit of the virtuous ritual activity for the benefit of all suffering beings. During this multi-day ritual performance, the specific texts associated with the lu, sadak, nyen and tö [Lu Bum, Sadak Bum, Nyen Bum, and Tö Bum] are continually recited by groups of monks in ancillary rooms.

In addition to the elaborate ritual of the Sadak Nye Lam Dé Zhi, there is much guidance and skillful methods for our interactions with the worldly spirits within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition. Following these instructions prevents us from disturbing the spirits within the environment or creating an imbalance of the natural elements while still providing for ourselves from the earth’s resources. For example, before beginning the construction of a building, it is important to examine the characteristics of the land in order to locate the appropriate place to dig into the earth. Traditionally, areas of land are seen in the form of a turtle. If you build upon the turtle’s ‘head’, then the spirit of the land will die and the soil will become barren and empty. The best is to build within the area of the turtle’s ‘stomach’ because there is more empty space in this area and no ‘major organs’ will be disturbed. Once the appropriate location has been determined, it is then important to communicate with the spirits residing at that location and to assure them that you mean no harm to them and that you apologize in advance for any disturbance created by the construction. In this way, we maintain a harmonious relationship with the environment and its inhabitants while also mindfully providing for our needs as human beings.

A ritual often used for groundbreaking is entitled Nang Sa Nang Gyé Düs Pa and referred to simply as Nang Sa, Permission for the Land. 

“AH OM HUNG

To the gods above, the lu below, and the nyen in-between, 

to the thirty nyenpo above, the nine kinds of yen töpo in-between and the eleven greater yen upon the earth,

to the local spirit owners of this mountainous area and to the eight classes of gods and demons of this isolated place,

accept this torma made of the essence of grain together with this golden drink.

Now, because of my melody and offering this precious torma, whatever my activities upon this land or wherever I travel in any direction upon this land, don’t become jealous or upset.”  

— Condensed extract from Permission for Using Land from the Eight Classes of Gods and Demons

All translations and content by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

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Dispelling the Darkness

 

Butter lamp offering at Menri Monastery. Photo credit: Unknown

“How wonderful!

Within these small, circular containers is placed a wick of twisted gauze.

They are filled with clarified melted butter which is a divine, concentrated essence.

By lighting these bright offering lamps, the fire of the lamps clears away darkness and obscurations, and radiates throughout the vast, clear space of the sky.

Performing these activities mainly for our kind mothers and fathers who are the sentient beings within the three realms of cyclic existence,

and with compassion for those who have passed away into the realm between this life and the next,

may all of them be liberated from cyclic existence!”

— Extract from Raising a Victory Banner of Butter Lamps

Tibetan translation by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

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