The Power of Aspiration

Yungdrung Bön nun circumambulates. Photo credit: Mary Ellen McCourt

“Never being separate from the divine places of refuge and having brought together the causes and conditions of faith and compassion, may I generate the mind of enlightenment for the benefit of all migrating beings!

With the establishment of mindfulness as well as a vast and pure renunciation, and through the four kinds of miraculous abilities along the path of accumulation, and because of these roots of virtue which are in accord with the path of liberation, may my mind-stream become ripened!

Instantly having perceived the clearly manifest meaning of the essential nature which is non-dual clarity and emptiness, may I be free from the activities of this world and obtain the ground beyond only having a mere taste of experience!

Unwavering from the state of pure space and having accomplished benefit for others through the unsurpassed ten perfections, may I proceed along the path of meditation and fulfill the two accumulations!”

— Extract from The Eight-branched Aspiration Prayer

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 Fifth Way: In the Service of Virtue

Central Figure of the Tibetan Thangkha Painting Related to The Fifth Way

Within the Nine Ways of Bön, the Fifth Way is called The Way of the Virtuous Lay Practitioners and specifies the proper conduct and commitments of a lay person taking vows. This Fifth Way is the first of the Nine Ways classified as ‘Ways of the Result’ or ‘Bön of the Fruit.’ In the Tibetan language, a lay practitioner is called ‘gen nyen’ [Tib. dge bsnyen] which literally translates as ‘one who serves virtue’ or ‘one who draws near to virtue.’ When asked the meaning of these concepts, the enlightened all-knowing teacher, Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwo answered,

“Virtuous means without negative actions. This is one who is committed to serve virtue through their body, speech and mind. Service means serving without holding contradictory views and properly remaining steadfast in service to virtue.”

In general, the lay practitioner commits to practicing the ten virtuous actions and renounces the ten non-virtuous actions of body, speech and mind.  Buddha Tönpa Shenrap defines this kind of renunciation as 1) not performing the actions, 2) not requesting or encouraging others to perform them and 3) not feeling pleased that others have performed the negative actions. Similarly, one commits to 1) acting according to the ten virtuous actions, 2) encouraging others to participate in these activities and 3) feeling joy that others have performed virtuous actions. This is the inner practice.

The Three Virtuous Actions of the Body:

  1. Rather than killing, protecting the life of other beings.
  2. Rather than stealing, practicing generosity.
  3. Rather than engaging in sexual misconduct or causing others to break their vows, keeping one’s own vows and respecting the vows of others.

The Four Virtuous Actions of Speech:

  1. Rather than lying, speaking the truth.
  2. Rather than creating discord, speaking in a way that brings people together.
  3. Rather than using hurtful speech, speaking gently and kindly.
  4. Rather than gossiping or mindlessly talking, speaking in a useful way or reciting prayers.

The Three Virtuous Actions of the Mind:

  1. Rather than coveting the possessions and accomplishments of others, being generous and open.
  2. Rather than wishing harm to others or feeling resentful, cultivating the desire to help others.
  3. Rather than holding wrong views, practicing the teachings of Yungdrung Bön and establishing a true and authentic view.

When asked to teach the outward form of the lay practitioner, The All-knowing Teacher, Tönpa Shenrap first instructed the gathered assembly to construct the first Elegant Yungdrung Chorten [Sanskrit: stupa] according to his detailed instructions. Once completed, he consecrated the chorten and then began teaching the outer forms and behavior of a gen nyen or lay practitioner.

Elegant Yungdrung Bon Chorten edit

The Elegant Yungdrung Chorten which represents the stages of enlightenment

The practitioner must go before a pure lama who guides disciples and take the appropriate vows. According to a commentary written by the 23rd abbot of Menri Monastery, His Holiness Nyima Tenzin Rinpoché:

“As for the vows of a gen nyen: There are five kinds of lifetime vows.  To abandon killing, to abandon taking what is not given, to abandon impure, wrong kinds of sexual conduct, and to abandon false speech are four.  Abandoning one of the four kinds of food is the fifth.  Some people have taught abandoning alcohol as a branch vow.

This is the gen nyen of completely renouncing according to the five kinds of established laws.  Because of that, the gen nyen of pure behavior has renounced the basic kinds of impure activity.”

As for killing, one must abandon killing in anger especially another human being. One must abandon stealing, especially when it is driven by desire. One must avoid sexual contact that is damaging or abusive, one must avoid harmful speech especially if it creates a division within the spiritual community, and one must avoid lying especially about one’s spiritual experiences and attainments. As for the fifth which is a branch vow, one renounces either one of the four kinds of food. In this context, the four kinds of food are 1) meat, 2) garlic, 3) solid food after the mid-day meal, and 4) intoxicants such as drugs and alcohol. Regarding drugs and alcohol, the deeper meaning is the renunciation of intoxication which is an obstacle to mindfulness and incites negative behavior.

According to Buddha Tönpa Shenrap in The Nine Ways of Bön,

“As for the lifelong inner rules, one must abandon killing due to the influence of anger, abandon taking what is not given due to the influence of desire or attachment, abandon acting secretly to get what one wants without consideration of cause and effect due to the influence of ignorance, abandon performing unclean work due to the influence of pride, and abandon rough and abusive speech, meaningless talk, and telling lies. One must apply one’s self to their opposites.”

The Buddha goes on to describe the outer practices.

“As for the five intermediate principles, one should perform pure water-cleansing rites, perform prostrations and circumambulations with devotion and aspiration, create and place tsa tsa, and offer torma. Presenting offerings is a branch of gathering the [two] accumulations.”

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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Lunar Calendar: The Day to Practice Drenpa Namkha & Tséwang Rikdzin

Drenpa Namkha edited(As a meditational deity, Drenpa Namkha is most often depicted in a semi-wrathful form, blue in color and holding a yungdrung in his right hand.)

According to the lunar calendar of the Yungdrung Bön, the 10th day of each month is the day set aside for the practice of the three sages: Drenpa Namkha and his two twin sons, Tséwang Rikdzin and Pema Tongdrul.   On this day, it is appropriate to pay homage and make offerings to these lamas as well as to recite the mantras associated with their respective practices. During the month of November 2019, this day is November 6th.

“Now during this negative time, instances of virtue decrease and the opportunities for good fortune, prosperity and nutrition for the destitute diminishes.  You are surrounded by the wealth deities and their retinues.  I pray to the Great Lama and his two sons, to the subduer of demons Drenpa Namkha, bestow a treasury of riches and prosperity!

Look upon me with your unbiased compassion morning and night during the past, present and future.  Turn back both seen and unseen enemies! My present and future Refuge and Protector, bless me to accomplish my intentions!”

~From the Prayer of Fourteen Stanzas to Drenpa Namkha, translated by Raven Cypress Wood

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To Act with Compassion

An older horse that has been protected and blessed through the Tshe Thar ritual in honor of HE Menri Ponlop Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche. Photo credit: Unknown

Within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, there is a ritual for protecting the life of animals that are destined to be killed. This ritual is known as Tshe Thar, life release or freeing life. In Tibet, it is common to purchase live fish just after they have been caught and release them back into the lakes or to purchase yaks and allow them to live out the full length of their life span.

HH 34th Menri Trizin, Latri Nyima Dakpa Rinpoche, and Geshe Nyima Künchap Rinpoche performing the Tshe Thar ritual for a fish release. Photo credit: Angel R. Torres

An individual or group requests a lama to perform the tshe thar ritual either as a general practice of compassion, on a particular auspicious day, as a method to protect the longevity of a lama, or to prolong the life-span of an ill person, etc.

“Marvelous source of the teachings who holds the treasury of all exalted qualities, the lama has the control of discipline through many activities.

He is the unequaled lord of the teachings and the ornament of the crown of the head.”

— Extract from The Skillful Method of Saving the Life of Beings and Setting Them Free

The ritual begins with the usual preliminary practices of taking refuge in the places of wisdom and enlightenment, generating a fervent intent towards enlightenment for one’s self and others, admitting and purifying non-virtue that one has committed, and setting a boundary to prevent disturbances to the ritual. Then, the lama generates their body, speech and mind as the enlightened body, speech and mind of the wisdom deity and bestows blessings and empowerment upon the animals. To mark this and to indicate that the animals are forever protected, a sacred badge containing the mantric syllables of the wisdom deity is affixed to the animals. In conclusion, prayers of good fortune and aspiration are performed and the virtue of the activity is dedicated for the benefit of all sentient beings.

“Although it is difficult to produce the four kinds of thoughts of enlightenment,

compassion is easy if one’s self is used as an example.”

— Words of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché from The Fifth Way: The Way of Those Who Follow Virtue

A yak in Dolpo, Nepal that has been protected and blessed through the Tshe Thar ritual. Photo credit: Geshe Tenzin Yangtön

“Through the blessings of saving the life of these beings and setting them free for the benefit of pacifying the obstacles of the sponsors, may obstacles be pacified!

May the lifespan be undiminished! May the lifespan not be lost! May the lifespan be long!  

You, animals whose lives have been saved, having attained a precious human body in the future, may you have the good fortune of practicing the Yungdrung Bön!

— Extract from The Skillful Method of Saving the Life of Beings and Setting Them Free

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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Praise to the Unsurpassed Teacher!

The enlightened Lord Tonpa Shenrap Miwoche. Photo credit: Khedup Gyatso.

“EMAHO!

Even though he had gathered the two accumulations of merit and wisdom over three incalculable eons and had become omniscient and an unsurpassed teacher,

and although he had perfectly fulfilled renunciation and realization and had manifested as an enlightened being,

he mercifully perceived migrating beings and set the intention to be born as a son to King Mugyal Thökar in order to guide sentient beings.

I pay homage to the deed of accepting rebirth!”

— Excerpt from Praise of the Twelve Deeds of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché

For more information about Buddha’s deed of being born, see the previous article: https://ravencypresswood.com/2013/09/19/buddha-tonpa-shenraps-1st-deed-birth/

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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Rites of Wisdom and Protection

The enlightened protector Walchen Gekhö

On the Tibetan lunar calendar, the 23rd-29th of the 8th month is designated as the time for the intensive retreat and practice of the deity Gekhö at Menri Monastery. In 2019, these lunar dates coincide with October 21st-27th on the Western calendar.

The deity Gekhö is closely associated with Mt. Tisé (A.k.a Mt. Kailash) and the ancient land of Zhang Zhung. Among the 360 emanations of this deity is the protector associated with the Aural Transmission of Zhang Zhung, Zhang Zhung Meri. This enlightened deity has both a tantric and a dzogchen empowerment. He is the primary yidam of the Yangtön lineage of lamas which includes the current Menri Pönlop Yangtön Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche.

The enlightened protector Zhang Zhung Meri

“Through the truth of pacification and through these forceful wrathful means, those who are untamed will be tamed. 

Just like adding firewood to a fire, through the afflictions themselves the afflictions are subdued and the demon of mistaken conceptuality is dispelled.”

—Extract from Practice of the Essence of the Fierce Champion Zhang Zhung Meri

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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Clearing Away the Darkness

Butter lamp offering. Photo credit: Unknown

“EMAHO!

Throughout the ten directions of the immeasurable three thousand-fold universe are many kinds of goddesses including the butter lamp offering goddesses.

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.

I offer this fire which has manifested from the vast space of wisdom to the dimension of the divine assembly of peaceful deities.

And may this offering fulfill my sacred vows with the divine assembly of wrathful deities.

Please accept this enjoyable offering!”

— Extract from Raising a Victory Banner of Butter Lamps

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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Offering Everything that is Good

Women of Lubrak, Mustang symbolically offering the entire internal and external universe to the places of refuge. Photo credit: Unknown.

“EMAHO!

To the great, unmatched lama possessing characteristics,

I present unequaled external, internal, and secret offerings.

Externally, I offer the environment and the beings within it.

Furthermore, I offer my own body and its vitality as an ornament.

I present these offerings with non-attachment.

Internally, I offer the arising of my mental and physical aggregates.

I offer my accumulated realization that whatever arises as subject and object is illusory.

Furthermore, I present these offerings within the vast space of self-liberation.

Secretly, I offer the natural radiance of my unborn mind, which is

unceasing and understands whatever arises as enlightened manifestation and wisdom.

Furthermore, I present these offerings within a completely vast and all-pervasive space.”

— Extract 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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Homage to the Spiritual Master

Monks at Menri Monastery welcome HH 34th Menri Trizin Rinpoche upon his return to the monastery. Photo credit: Unknown.

“Above the crown of my head upon a throne of a lotus, sun and moon is the essence of all victorious ones, my kind lama.

I pray to those who have the ability to lead beings out of cyclic existence. Grant your blessings so that I may effortlessly accomplish benefit to self and others!”

— Extract from Tsa Lung Sol Dep, Supplication Prayer for the Practice of the Channels and Winds written by Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche

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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Anniversary of the Parinirvana of HH 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoche

Memorial Chorten at Menri Monastery for His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpe Nyima Rinpoche. Photo credit: Unknown

On the 24th day of the 7th lunar month in the Western year 2017, His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoche displayed his realization by passing into nirvana from his physical body. On the Western calendar of 2019, this date coincides with September 23rd. On this day, Yungdrung Bön religious centers worldwide will recognize this auspicious day with special prayers and ritual.

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

Supplication Prayer to H.H. 33rd Menri Trizin

“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!”

— Extract 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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Iconography: Animals Under a Throne

Sherap Jamma with lions underneath her seat as painted by Lama Kalsang Nyima. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

Iconography is the use of images and symbols to convey meaning or concepts especially in a spiritual context. The iconography within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition is detailed within many volumes of scriptures. Symbolic meanings are specific and often complex depending upon the context. Meaning is attributed to includes composition, proportions, color, hand objects, clothing, ornamentation, etc.  Sometimes, a few of these details are left to the interpretation of the artist but they are most often prescribed within the sacred text.

Elephant throne

A throne depicting elephants under the main figure

The Tibetan thangkha is a painting on canvas that is framed in brocade and has dowels at the top and bottom to enable the painting to be hung and also rolled like a scroll.  These paintings are rolled from the bottom towards the top.  There are often ties at the top that are used to fasten the rolled painting and allow it to be easily carried.

Horse throne

A throne depicting horses under the main figure

An example of the use of iconography within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition is demonstrated by the images of animals depicted underneath the throne of enlightened deities. This position symbolizes that the deity tames or transforms the quality associated with the animal. According the oral teachings of the preeminent scholar and spiritual master His Eminence Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, the five common animals depicted in this way symbolize the following:  the lion symbolizes anger, the elephant symbolized ignorance, the garuda symbolizes desire, the horse symbolizes jealousy, and the dragon symbolizes pride.

Garuda throne

A throne depicting garudas under the main figure

For example, although the buddha Sherap Jamma has all of the perfected qualities, emphasis is placed on her teaching sentient beings to transform anger and hatred into love and kindness.  This is symbolized by lions being depicted on the throne underneath her as she sits peacefully.

Throne with all 5 animals

A throne depicting each of the five animals.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 the Lama

HE Menri Ponlop Yangton Trinley Nyima Rinpoche helps a student during an exam at Menri Monastery. Photo credit: Unknown.

“EMAHO!

Enlightened Ones of the ten directions who appeared in the past,

Enlightened Ones of the ten directions who appear in the present,

Enlightened Ones of the ten directions who will appear in the future,

the Mind of the lama is the embodiment of all these Enlightened Ones of the three times.”

— Extract from The Spontaneous Wish-Fulfillment of Removing Obstacles from the Path

For more about this important Yungdrung Bön prayer, see https://ravencypresswood.com/publications/

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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May We Be Protected from External, Internal & Secret Obstacles!

The protector temple at Tashi Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India. Photo credit: Unknown

Within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, Sipé Gyalmo, The Queen of Phenomenal Existence, is an enlightened being that principally acts to guard and protect the tradition and its followers. Being an enlightened being, her wisdom and compassion are without either limitation or bias. As a protector, she appears wrathful and fierce in order to show her power and fearlessness in conquering any obstacle or perceived enemy. These include external obstacles such as danger from external forces including natural disasters, internal obstacles such as illness, and secret obstacles such as anger and greed. Ultimately, she aids the practitioner in conquering the most secret obstacle which is ignorance of the true nature of the mind.

Each month of the lunar calendar there is a day designated especially for the practice of Sipé Gyalmo who appears riding a red mule. During the 7th lunar month of each year, it is the 4th day. During 2019, this date coincides with September 3rd.

Sipé Gyalmo, the Queen of Phenomenal Existence, who rides a red mule. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

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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Daily Practices: The Cleansing Water Rite

H.E. Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche offers cleansing water to a monk at Triten Norbutse Monastery in Nepal. Photo credit: Samaya Producciones.

Within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, there are many rituals to imbue water with the power to wash away contaminations and defilements. Because they pollute our individual forces of good luck, vitality, power, etc., they can attract negative circumstances or illness, they can decrease our longevity and increase circumstances of disharmony and conflict. Contaminations and defilements are created through many kinds of behavior and environmental factors such as breaking one’s vows or encouraging others to break their vows, interfering with the spiritual practice or virtuous activity of others, negative astrological constellations, etc. Therefore, each morning upon rising, it is traditional for monks, nuns, genyen, and even ordinary practitioners to perform a cleansing water rite. When the rite is performed by a lama for others, the water is poured onto the crown of the head and then a small amount of the water is given to drink. Having done so, the practitioner imagines that even the most subtle obscurations, contaminations and defilements are completely washed away.

“Anyone affected by contaminated energy, latent karmic potentialities, misfortune or defilements, having recited the mantra into clean water and ritually washed, even karmic defilements will be purified.”  

—From Benefits of the Recitation Practice of the Precious Lamp (The MA TRI Mantra)

The MA TRI mantra on a cliff face in Tibet. Photo credit: Unknown.

“Having washed with this water, I clearly imagine that any remaining contamination is washed away because of this medicine.

Without exception, any migrating being will be released from all suffering and misery, and illness and injury will be pacified. 

Obstacles along with their causes will be overcome. Both the lifespan and virtuous merit will increase. 

Glory and fame will spread, and the ripening of karma will be purified.”

—From The Cleansing-Rite Mantra of Nampar Jompa

“If you recite the mantra to good quality water mixed with powdered, medicinal incense and then cleanse with that water, all illness and sickness caused by negative forces will be pacified and all defilements and contaminations will be purified.”

—From The Heartdrop of Jamma

(For more information about The Heartdrop of Jamma and its translation, see previous post: https://ravencypresswood.com/2019/07/20/the-practice-of-jamma-chenmo-the-great-loving-mother-2/

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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Compassionate Refuge and Protection

The Great Lama Drenpa Namkha.

The 10th lunar day of each month is the time to practice Drenpa Namkha and his two sons, Tséwang Rikdzin and Pema Tongdrol according to the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition. August 10th 2019 is the 10th day of the 6th lunar month. Drenpa Namkha was an historical figure who realized complete liberation and is revered as both a great lama and also a yidam, or meditational deity.

“EMAHO! 

May the collective, compassionate blessings of the Victorious Ones of the 10 directions come for the welfare of sentient beings in this world. 

I pray for uninterrupted blessings from the subduer of demons, Drenpa Namkha.

Now, during this negative time, the forces of good are lost and the forces of evil rule the land. 

You are surrounded by the gods and goddesses of the earth and their retinues. 

I pray to the Great Lama and his two sons, to the subduer of demons, Drenpa Namkha,

may the forces of good have power to act in this world!

My present and future refuge and protector, bless me to accomplish all of my intentions!”

— Extract from the Fourteen Verse Supplication to the Subduer, Drenpa Namkha

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 Monastery of Blissful Meditation: Déden Samten Ling

Samling Temple complex. Photo credit: Unknown

The high altitude temple of Déden Samten Ling, or simply Samling, has been significant in the preservation of the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition.  The main temple was established more than 900 years ago by Yangtön Gyaltsen Rinchen in a remote and mountainous region of Dolpo, Nepal near the Tibetan border.  Since that time, this monastery, as well as others in Dolpo, has been maintained by a hereditary line of lamas within the Yangtön family. (For more information about the prestigious Yangtön family lineage, see previous post: https://ravencypresswood.com/2017/05/27/yangton-sherap-gyaltsen/)

map of dolpo copy

According to a text of the Yangton family lineage, some time during the 13th century Yangtön Gyaltsen Rinchen was staying near Mt. Tisé in Western Tibet (a.k.a. MT. Kailash) when he was visited in a dream by the Bönpo sage and great lama Drenpa Namkha.   The Yangtön lama was instructed to travel to Dolpo and build a temple.  Traveled the distance to Dolpo and having searched throughout its rugged terrain, Yangtön Gyaltsen Rinchen had a series of auspicious dreams while staying in the area of Bijer that convinced him that he had finally found the proper place to construct a Yungdrung Bön temple.

Chortens of Samling. Photo credit: Unknown.

Yangtön Gyaltsen Rinchen was the first of many Yangtön lamas at Samling who collected and preserved sacred texts.  Because of this, many volumes of texts have been throughout the course of many centuries. It was during a trip to Samling Monastery in 1961 that Dr. David Snellgrove discovered a copy of the Zi Ji, a hagiography of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap. He subsequently wrote and published one of the first English language translations of a Yungdrung Bön text, The Nine Ways of Bön.  The Zi Ji text that he consulted for his translation was estimated to be approximately 400 years old.

Left: H.E. Menri Ponlop Yangtön Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche, Center: H.H. 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoche, Right: Yangtön Lama Sherap Tenzin Rinpoche. Photo credit: Unknown.

Currently, Lama Sherap Tenzin Rinpoche is the head of the monastery.  He was born in 1953 and has received extensive religious training and has been trained in the science of Tibetan medicine.

In the Language of Zhang Zhung: Gyer


The ancient land of Zhang Zhung had a written language with multiple scripts and practiced the Yungdrung Bön teachings.  Many Yungdrung Bön texts were originally written in the Zhang Zhung language and later translated into Tibetan, Sanskrit, Chinese, etc. as the teachings dispersed to other countries due to political circumstances. Each Zhang Zhung king had a personal Yungdrung Bön lama that would perform the necessary prayers and rituals as well as act as a spiritual guide.

In the Zhang Zhung language, “gyer” literally means “to recite or to chant with a melody” and it is equivalent to the Tibetan word “bön.” “Gyer ro” means “priest” or more literally “the one who recites” and is the equivalent to the Tibetan word “bönpo.” “Gyer pung” means “lopön” and refers to an educated lama who teaches the scriptures. “Gyer ngor” means “shenrap.”

Gyer Pungs Nangzher Lopo

The great 8th century scholar, Yungdrung Bön lama, and royal priest to the Zhang Zhung king was Gyer Pung Nanghzer Lopo. He is an important lineage holder of the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyü, the Aural Transmission of Zhang Zhung. Among Yungdrung Bön texts, this scripture was protected by Gyer Pung Nanghzer Lopo and therefore never needed to be hidden due to the political persecution of the Yungdrung Bön religion. Because of that unique circumstance, there was never a gap in these teachings being handed down directly from teacher to student.

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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New Publication: The Heartdrop of Jamma

During the 23rd-29th lunar days of the 5th Tibetan month at Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India, monastic residents will be undergoing the practice of Jamma Chenmo, the Great Loving Mother. These lunar dates correspond with the Western calendar dates of July 25th-31st 2019. Also known as Jamma, Sherap Chenmo or Künsel Jamma, she is a fully enlightened buddha who is also commonly practiced as a yidam deity.

To coincide with this auspicious time, Sacred Sky Publications is publishing The Heartdrop of Jamma translated and annotated by Raven Cypress Wood. This text, also known as the Jamma Nying Tik is an aural transmission that was given to H.H. 22nd Menri Trizin Sonam Lodro Rinpoche by a manifestation of Jamma known as Khandro Sherap Lo Pélma, the wisdom mother who increases the intellect. In the practice of The Heartdrop of Jamma, each part of the practitioner’s body is transformed into an aspect of Jamma. In that way, one’s entire body becomes the enlightened mandala of the Loving Mother.

“From the syllable RU at each hair of the body manifests the 5,500 primordial shen, the spiritual heirs of Jamma. I prostrate to the Mother of heaven and earth; the mother of the grounds and the paths and the different kinds of authentically established existence, to the mother who gives birth to the Victorious Ones’ spiritual heirs!

From the syllable PA at each hair of the head manifests the limitless hundreds of thousands of Jamma emanations. I prostrate to the Mother who turns back enemies, obstacles, illnesses, and negativity; the Mother who is the glorious guide along the path!

— From The Heartdrop of Jamma

This booklet includes annotated, color images of Jamma along with her five wisdom manifestations and her eight manifestations that protect from fear. Additionally, there is a brief biography of H.H. 22nd Menri Trizin Sonam Lodro. In order to further support the practice, the booklet concludes with the translation of Removing Obstacles from the Path, another aural transmission of Khandro Sherap Lo Pélma that is often practiced as a daily recitation in the Bönpo community and considered a powerful means of protection and support.

“I pray to the 360 manifestations of Great Jamma. Single Mother for everyone who is without refuge or a protector remove external, internal and secret obstacles which are enemies along the path! Grant your blessings that my wishes will be spontaneously accomplished!”

— Extract from The Heartdrop of Jamma

This publication can be purchased by following the link below:

https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=Jamma+Nying+Tik&sorter=relevance-desc

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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Anniversary of the Birth of the 33rd Menri Trizin

His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoche

The 15th day of the 5th month on the lunar calendar this year coincides with July 16th on the Western calendar. This is the birth anniversary of the 33rd Throne Holder of Menri Monastery, His Holiness Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoche. This is a powerful day to engage in virtuous practice, recite prayers and mantra, and especially renew spiritual vows.

“You, my Lama, who has brought cyclic existence and nirvana under your power,

I and your other followers request,

please bestow benefits that are as limitless as the sky to migrating beings!

Please grant our wishes to be continuously without separation from your presence!

Continuously hold us with your unequalled compassion, I pray!”

— Excerpt from Offerings to 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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Homage to the Supreme Place of Refuge

HH 34th Menri Trizin Rinpoche and HE Menri Ponlop Rinpoche. Photo credit: Unknown

“To the embodiment of all the places of refuge, the root lama,

I pay homage, admit my wrongdoing, present offerings, and supplicate!

Please pacify all obstacles, and guide me along the path of liberation!

Bestow your blessings that my wishes will be spontaneously fulfilled!”

— From The Spontaneous Wish-fulfillment of Removing Obstacles from the Path

The full English, Spanish and Portuguese translation of The Spontaneous Wish-fulfillment of Removing Obstacles from the Path is freely offered for personal use by Raven Cypress Wood. Go to the Publications page for the download link.

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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