100,000 Offerings for the Queen of Existence

HH 34th Menri Trizen Rinpoche with a statue of Sipe Gyalmo who rides a black mule. Photo credit: Staff of Lhamo Handicraft in Lalitpur, Nepal.

Beginning on April 18, 2021 and continuing for one week, Tashi Menri Monastery in India will be performing the extensive ritual of One Hundred Thousand Offerings to the Queen of Existence, Sipé Gyalmo. This ritual important ritual is performed at least once each year for the purpose of requesting the enlightened protector Sipé Gyalmo to remove obstacles and support the spiritual doctrine and its practitioners. This year, emphasis will also be upon requesting her help in eradicating the global pandemic that is causing so much suffering and misery. Monks, nuns, and laypeople all participate in the ritual. Especially, 100,000 small torma are made that will be offered alongside the other offerings of food, flowers, butter lamps, pure water, and sweet smelling incense. The merit of participating in this ritual removes obstacles, increases prosperity and fortunate circumstances, and supports spiritual development.

From afar, one can participate by engaging in Sipé Gyalmo practice, reciting her mantra, engaging in virtue and avoiding acts of non-virtue during the week-long ritual, or by making a monetary donation to support the vast offerings. It is possible to sponsor breakfast, tea, offering materials, the entire day of ritual activities, or simply make a donation of any amount towards the seven-day ritual. To read the message from Menri Monastery regardig this special event and/or to make a donation of any amount, follow this link to the website of Latri Khenpo Nyima Dakpa Rinpoche’s center, Yeru Bön: https://yeruboncenter.org/sidgyal-bum-tsog-at-smenri-monastery/?fbclid=IwAR1BPztJwn5kcEBZ9Y-hI41MmzI2jtMlIWrrH4tPZdGbBpgyVPyxRYQzBdA

100,000 offering torma for the enlightened protector, Sipé Gyalmo. Photo credit: Unknown.

Sipé Gyalmo is an enlightened protector and also a yidam, or meditational deity. She is one of the principal female deities, and her invocations and offerings are performed daily in Yungdrung Bön Monasteries. She protects from enemies, danger, illness, misfortune, and confusion, and supports the success, prosperity and spiritual development of Yungdrung Bön practitioners.

Monk dancers dressed as the the Six Manifestations of Sipe Gyalmo. Photo credit: Unknown.

Sipé Gyalmo has countless manifestations and emanations. She manifests with different characteristics in order to meet the varied needs of sentient beings. She manifests riding a red mule, riding a black mule, and standing with a hundred heads and thousands of arms and legs. Her Body emanations are the Six Manifestation of Day and Night. Each of these six manifestations arise during a particular cycle of time during every twenty-four hour period. These six manifestations are White Sipé Gyalmo of Dawn, Golden Sipé Gyalmo of Sunrise, Red Sipé Gyalmo of Mid-day, Maroun Sipé Gyalmo of Sunset, Black Sipé Gyalmo of Evening, and Dark-blue Sipé Gyalmo of Midnight.

According to the Yungdrung Bön religious calendar, there are specific days set aside for the practice of Sipé Gyalmo riding a red mule. These dates are according to the lunar calendar and vary according to the month. During the 1st month of each season, which is the 12th, 3rd, 6th, and 9th lunar months, her practice day is the 8th lunar day. During the middle month of each season, which is the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th lunar months, her practice day is the 4th lunar day. During the final month of each season, which is the 2nd, 5th, 8th, and 11th lunar months, her practice day is the 5th lunar day.

SO MA MA DZA JO

EMAHO!

You are the Mother of the vast expanse of the Bönku, which is primordially pure and free from elaboration.

In order to establish the Bön teachings in the Land of Snow, 

merely by calling out to you Single Mother Sipé Gyalmo, wherever you are, 

please come!

Great mother of space,

everywhere from this moment forward, 

with a laugh of “Ha! Ha!” and showing a radiant smiling face,

establish the victory banner of the Yungdrung Bön of the white AH!

From The Alphabetical Praise of Sipé Gyalmo. Translation by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved

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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A Saint’s Advice Regarding Actions & Their Certain Results

The essence mantra of purification, the DU TRI SU mantra, carved on stone and blessing the environment. Photo credit: Unknown

Within the Yundrung Bön religious tradition, part of building a solid foundation for spiritual growth is to spend time intensely reflecting upon “the four thoughts that turn the mind.” One of these four thoughts is “the truth of positive and negative actions and the certainty of their result. The practitioner reflects upon the certain result of both good and bad actions.  Actions based upon self-grasping and ignorance bring suffering and misery while actions based upon compassion and loving kindness bring joy and positive results. (For more information about “the four thoughts that turn the mind,” see previous post: https://ravencypresswood.com/2016/01/09/the-four-realizations-that-reverse-the-mind/)

The following poetic verse was written by the modern-day saint Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche upon a request from the female practitioner Khandro Wangi Dronma. In the poem, he reminds the practitioner that our actions arise as a similar result in our future lives, and he gives a remedy for this situation as the purification of negative actions through the recitation of the mantra of purification, known as the DU TRI SU mantra. If negative karma is not purified, then it will arise as an experience of suffering and misery in the future. Additionally, seeing the emptiness of this suffering as well as the one who is suffering allows the negative result to be exhausted through the experience without creating further karma.

“A KAR A MÉ DU TRI SU NAKPO ZHI ZHI MAL MAL

May the negative karmic debts of sentient beings within the three realms of cyclic existence be purified!

Furthermore, as for a method to repay karmic debts, here is some profound insight.

Sentient beings within the three realms, wander throughout the places of cyclic existence for many lifetimes and their arrogant mind-streams are like a demon of self-grasping that perform acts of harm towards others.

The karmic repayment for that arises as various undesirable things such as illness, fevers, boils, poverty, devastation, and hunger; as well as the arising of harm from negative spirits, slander, and other misfortune.

Not understanding the karmic power of past actions, again and again having generated a mind of hate, we have been involved in the ruthless karma of shouting things from our own mouth and damaging the life force of many other sentient beings, oppressing others, driving them away, and killing them.

Because of that, engaging in harm towards others again and again, the negative karma accumulates. Later on during our future lives, we are tormented because of those actions. Always experiencing suffering and misery because of our actions towards others, there is never a time of happiness.

Thus, if you want to purify negative karma, generate a mind of limitless compassion and recite the essence mantra that shakes the depths through mantra!

Whatever unwanted thing that descends upon you, look upon everything as karma.

The Saint, Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche.

Now, if there is fever, it is because of previously buying the karma of cutting the life force. For that, protect the life force of others. Repay that karmic debt with loving kindness and compassion.

If you have been cast out or are impoverished, it is because of previously buying the karma of stealing. For that, distribute gifts of food and wealth, and generate a mind of altruism and generosity.

In general, whatever happiness or suffering is experienced, everything is according to previous actions. For example, when a plant emerges from the ground, the fruit will ripen into whatever was planted in the autumn. Whatever actions you have done previously, will ripen into the correct result. Whatever wrongdoing that has been done, will arise as a ripened future result. Suffering and misery from unpurified karma will arise even though it is unwanted.

From beginning-less lifetimes, there is the karmic debt of killing the life force, the karmic debt of stealing wealth, the karmic debt of looting and destroying, the karmic debt of beating and weakening, the karmic debt of scolding and condemning, the karmic debt of eating food and drinking because of thirst, the karmic debt of wearing clothing, the karmic debt of a pretentious mansion, the karmic debt of having male and female slaves or servants, the karmic debt of worldly friendships, the karmic debt of eating meat and drinking blood, the karmic debt of wearing skins and destroying bones, the karmic debt of milking and ploughing, the karmic debt of loading pack animals and riding horses, the karmic debt of using food and wealth donated for the deceased, the karmic debt of acting as an obstacles to virtue, and the karmic debt of taking away others’ happiness, etc.

Recite the mantra that shakes the depths of cyclic existence. Afterwards, even if you are thrust into a significant illness, even the source of suffering and misery is purified. Even if the experience arises from very strong actions, the negative karma is diffused and exhausted.

From the root tantra Subduer of Demons: “This purifies many karmic actions and exhausts wrongdoing.”

From the words of the chang chub sempa:* “Understand affliction and torment, and the exhaustion of affliction and torment.”

It is necessary to view as supreme, and master the remedy which is emptiness; and to proceed with the important practice of virtue. As for emptiness, Meditate! Accomplish the roots of virtue! if you practice those things, suffering and misery are purified and will not arise.”

— Excerpt of untitled poem composed by Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche and included in his volume of works entitled Advice and Hagiographies of the A Tri LIneage Lamas

* (Sanskrit: bodhisattvas)

Tibetan translations by Raven Cypress Wood

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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Eight-branched Aspiration Prayer: Publicly Offered Translation

Yungdrung Bön nun circumambulating and turning prayer wheels. Photo credit: Mary Ellen McCourt

Within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition there are many aspiration prayers. These kinds of prayers are called mönlam [Tibetan: smon lam]. Monlam literally translates as “path of aspiration” or “path of intention.” In this way, the purpose of aspiration prayers is to plant seeds that will mature and ripen into positive results. Once these seeds of aspiration encounter supportive secondary causes, they naturally ripen into the result. These supportive secondary conditions include cultivating faith and devotion along with the four immeasurable qualities, developing the ten perfections which include patience, generosity, and skillful means among others, offering the prayers without attachment to the result, and offering them for the benefit of all migrating beings that experience suffering and misery, and so on.

When offering the prayers, we imagine that all the countless other sentient beings are offering the prayers in unison with us. This limitless group of beings includes humans, nonhumans, unseen spirits, those we consider “enemies” or “demons,” with no exception whatsoever. All sound is the sound of the prayer being recited. The aspirations are without limit and inconceivable. And the vastness of space is filled with buddhas and bodhisattvas that are delighted and whose compassion is spontaneously activated by the virtuous activity of these countless sentient beings. By offering the prayers in this way, they have great power. By offering the prayers on auspicious days such as the four auspicious lunar days each month: 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 30th, multiplies this power exponentially. Then, by dedicating the virtue of the practice for the welfare and benefit of all sentient beings, the benefit is sealed and can never be destroyed.

This Eight-branched Aspiration Prayer, Mönlam Yenlak Gyepa, was written by the 1st Menri Trizin His Holiness Nyammé Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche and is commonly recited. The English language translation of the complete prayer is being made publicly available for personal use and can be downloaded at the link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZwQt1udCby_Ifjt9zzxMPSF8dhTtybBM/view?usp=sharing

The Branch of Aspiration Prayers

Having purified all negative actions and pacified all obstacles, through whatever power I have accumulated through this virtue, may I have harmonious circumstances that support the attainment of leisure and fortune!

Having the quality of skillful means and having relied upon the highest lamas, may I continuously train the mind-stream of knowledge through study, reflection, and meditation together with the practice of completely pure virtue!

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 in accord with the path of liberation, may my mind-stream become ripened!

Through the force of the sense powers, and having meditated upon the five kinds of contemplation,
may I fully travel the path to meditative heat, the supreme blaze! And instantly having perceived the clearly manifest meaning of the essential nature, which is nondual clarity and emptiness,
may I be free from the activities of this world and obtain the ground beyond a mere taste!

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!

Having fully attained the three Bodies upon the final ground, may I have the eye of knowledge towards whatever is perceived and exists! And may I accomplish everything for the benefit of migrating beings through the four kinds of activity!

Having fully held to these aspirations just like the compassionate and praiseworthy ones,
I pray that I might quickly accomplish, without exception, these intentions according to this aspiration prayer!

The Branch of Dedicating

Through this virtue, for however many migrating beings exist, having fully completed purification of the two obscurations and the collection of the two accumulations,
may they all attain a state of goodness, complete perfection, and total knowledge!”

— Excerpt from the Eight-branched Aspiration Prayer

Tibetan translations by Raven Cypress Wood

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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Greatly Kind Lama, Think of Me!

His Eminence Menri Pönlop Yangtön Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche during the Tibetan New Year celebrations. Photo credit: Unknown

“The Three Jewels are the infallible, constant place of refuge.

The Mother and Son are the single refuge from the prevalence of the five degenerations.*

Sidpé Gyalmo is the supreme mother, protector of the teachings.

Greatly kind Lama, embodiment of all of the Victorious Ones, think of me!

I pray single-pointedly that my wish for all obstacles to be removed will be perfectly accomplished!”

~Composed by the 20th century saint and Yungdrung Bön lama, Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche

* The Five Degenerations: (1) Degeneration of time due to strife, (2) Degeneration of the life-span, (3) Degeneration of the body, mind and speech of sentient beings, (4) Degeneration of the afflictive emotions due to the five poisons, and (5) Degeneration of the view due to erroneous views and misconceptions.

Tibetan translations by Raven Cypress Wood

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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665th Birth Celebration of the Second Buddha: H.H. the 1st Menri Trizin Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen Rinpoché

Shrine display at Menri Monastery honoring HH 1st Menri Trizin Rinpoche. Photo credit: Unknown

The 5th day of the 1st month of the Tibetan lunar calendar is the birth celebration of His Holiness the 1st Menri Trizin Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen Rinpoché also known as the second buddha. In 2021, this date coincides with  February 16th on the Western calendar and is the 665th year. H.H. Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen Rinpoché was a reincarnation of Yikyi Khye’u Chung, one of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche’s sons. He was responsible for uniting the three transmission lineages of sutra, tantra and dzogchen as well as founding one of the largest Yungdrung Bön monasteries in Tibet, Tashi Menri Ling.

Born in 1356 in the region of Gyalrong into the Dru lineage, as a child, he could recite mantra and read scripture without having studied.  At the age of ten, he decided to become a monk.  In 1387 at the age of 31, he entered the prestigious Yeru Wensaka monastery and eventually became its abbot.   During a journey to Eastern Tibet, Yeru Wensaka was destroyed by flooding and mudslides.  After returning, he searched the ruins of the monastery for artifacts.  He took these and established Tashi Menri Monastery further up the same valley.  It was now 1405 and he was 50 years old.

H.H. Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen Rinpoché was known throughout Tibet as a great scholar and prolific writer on the many varied subjects within the Bön scriptures.  He also exhibited many miracles and signs of his spiritual realization.  Twice, he flew up into the sky.  During one of these flights, he burned his hat with the rays of the sun.

Nyamme Sherap Gyaltsen handprint

Nyamme Sherap Gyaltsen’s hand print in stone

In 1415 at the age of 60, he passed away.  His body levitated high into the air, but due to the many heartfelt prayers of his disciples, the body came back down.   During the cremation, rainbows appeared and an eagle circled three times around the cremation area before disappearing into the West.

Today,  Bönpos will spend the day with their eyes looking skyward.  If you are lucky enough to be visited by a vulture on this day, it is said to be an auspicious sign of having received the blessings of the lama known as the Second Buddha, the Unequaled One, H.H. Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen Rinpoché.

Tibetan translations by Raven Cypress Wood

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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