In the Yungdrung Bön tradition, the place where the deities and objects of veneration are gathered is called the “Tsok Zhing”, the “Field of Accumulation”. It is also sometimes translated as the “Field of Merit” or the “Merit Field” because what is being accumulated by paying homage and making offerings to this place is merit, or virtue. This is the Merit Field according to the Menri Tradition from a drawing done by the great master and scholar HE Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche.
#1-9 are the Nine Divine Beings of the Mind to Mind Transmission. These Beings transmitted the teachings by way of intrinsic awareness, rikpa.
1. The source of the lineage, the teacher Küntu Zangpo. This is the Bönku. He is naked and without ornamentation.
2. Shenlha Ökar, the pure, white light deity of compassion. This is the Dzok ku. His compassion is all-pervasive and he is the embodiment of exalted, positive qualities.
3. Gyalwa Shenrap, the divine being that descended to the human realm in order to guide sentient beings. This is the Tulku and he became known as the Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché.
4. Tsemé Öden, the divine being that emanated into a god realm in order to guide bodhisattvas.
5. Trulshen Nangden, the divine being that emanated into a god realm from the mind of Küntu Zangpo.
6. Barnang Khujuk, the divine being that emanated into a god realm from the speech of Küntu Zangpo
7. Zangza Ringtsun, a divine emanation of the Great Mother Sherap Chamma and the divine mother of Chimé Tsukpü. Trulshen nangden descended upon her right shoulder in the form of a turquoise cuckoo and caused a subtle, internal heat. One year later, she gave birth to Chimé Tsukpü. Her body color is golden and she holds a golden vase in her right hand and a golden mala in her left hand.
8. Chimé Tsukpü, He is turquoise in color. Nine days after his birth, his mother Zangza Ringtsun found him suspended in space and radiating light. He taught both tantra and Dzogchen.
The beginning of the Aural Transmission Lineage
9. Sangwa Düpa, He received the transmission through rikpa and was the first to use speech as well as awareness to transmit the teachings. He was born a prince of Tazik and began the transmission among human beings. Because he was the first to use speech to transmit the teachings, he is also known as The Teacher of the Aural Transmission Lineage.
#10-33 The 24 Masters of the Aural Transmission Lineage of Zhang Zhung
These 24 Masters were all from the ancient kingdom of Zhang Zhung and used speech to transmit the teachings. Each of them attained the full realization of Dzogchen and displayed that realization by attaining the rainbow body of light. These 24 masters are divided into 4 groups.
#10-14 The Five Beyond-All Masters
#15-20 The Six Masters who show the Six Meanings of Dzogchen
#21-29 The Nine Masters of Experience Within
#30-33 The Four Masters of Ürgyen
The Five Beyond-All Masters
- Lhabön Yongsu Dakpa, He received the transmission from Sangwa Düpa and spread the teachings in the god realm.
- Lübön Banam, He received the transmission from Sangwa Düpa and spread the teachings in the lü (Sanskrit. naga) realm.
- Mibön Tridé Zambu, He received the transmission from Sangwa Düpa and spread the teachings in the human realm.
- Banam Kyolpo
- Trisho Gyalwa, He was the son of Banam Kyolpo.
The Six Masters who show the Six Meanings of Dzogchen
- Rasang Bönpo Samdrup
- Darma Sherap
- Darma Bodé
- Zhang Zhung Bönpo Tripén
- Muyé Lhagyung
- Mashen Lézang
The Nine Masters of Experience Within
- Gyershen Taklha
- Rasang Bönpo Yungdrung Se
- Séchen Yungdrung Pén
- Gébar Döndrup
- Gyerpung Gépén
- Dése Gégyal
- Zhang Zhung Namgyal
- Muyé Lhagyung Karpo
- Shen Horti Chenpo
The Four Ürgyen Masters
- Shen Dönkün Druppa
- Rasang Bönpo Péngyal
- Gurip Sega
- Dawa Gyaltsen
- Tapihritsa, He was born into a nomadic family in the country of Zhang Zhung. He practiced at a place near Mt. Tise known as Sengé Tap. He practiced for nine years without interrupting it with ordinary, human speech. He achieved the rainbow body of light. After this, Tapihritsa manifested as a young boy and began working as a shepherd for a wealthy man in the area where Nangzher Lopo was practicing. Upon meeting, Nangzher Lopo asked the boy a series of questions and became annoyed at his answers. Challenging him to debate in front of the Zhang Zhung king, the boy laughed and began speaking about the true nature of mind. Realizing that this was an emanation and not an ordinary boy, Nangzher Lopo fainted. Regaining consciousness, he saw that the boy had transformed and was showing a clear and luminous body surrounded by a rainbow and suspended in space.
- Gyerpung Nangzher Lopo, He extensively practiced the cycles of Zhang Zhung Meri and Gekho. In doing so, he acquired great magical power. He was the priest for the Zhang Zhung king and was well-known throughout the kingdom. Because of his devotion, he met and received teachings from Tapihritsa 3 times. He lived for 573 years.
The Six Yogis from Zhang Zhung
- Gyalzik Sechung, He first received these teachings when he was 72 years old. He lived for 317 years and attained the rainbow body of light.
- Mu Shen Tsogé, At the age of 3, Nangzher Lopo identified him as a qualified student and he received the teachings at the age of 19. He lived for 173 years and attained the rainbow body of light.
- Mu Gyershen Tsotang, He lived for 113 years and attained the rainbow body of light.
- Mu Shotram Chenpo, He lived for 117 years and attained the rainbow body.
- Mu Gyalwa Lodro, He was attendant to Mu Shotram Chenpo for nine years before he received teachings. He lived for 270 years and attained the rainbow body of light.
- Pongyal Tsenpo, also known as Ponchen Tsenpo, He purified all the defilements of his physical body and therefore it was not necessary for him to eat food for nourishment. He lived for 1,600 years and his body showed no signs of aging. He then transformed himself into a turquoise cuckoo and flew off towards the southwest in order to subdue demons.
Here, the lineage splits into Upper & Lower systems of transmission according to the geographical location in which it was transmitted.
The Upper System of Transmission
The Six Realized Sages
To these disciples was transmitted the Four Cycles of the Precepts Transmission (the Ka Gyü Kor Zhi), but not the Experiential Transmission (the Nyam Gyü).
- Gugé Loden, He received the teachings from Pöngyal Tsenpo in an area near Mount Tisé. As a youth, he worked as a goatherd and had often dreamt of a blue cuckoo speaking to him. One day, he watched as a cuckoo descended from the sky near him. Going closer, instead of a bird, he found a yogi in a blue robe. This was Pöngyal Tsenpo.
- Pureng Kunga, He practiced in the area of Mount Tisé. By following his lama’s guidance on Dzogchen, he attained realization in one month.
- Naljor Sechok, He had the power to prolong his life span and displayed many miracles.
- Kyungji Mutur, He was a wandering yogi without any particular place of practice.
- Dewa Ringmo
- Tokmé Zhikpo, He lived most of his life in a cave. He gave the full transmission to Yangtön Sherap Gyaltsen. This same lama also received the full transmission of the Lower system of transmission. In this way, he reunited the two transmissions.
The Lower System of Transmission
- Lhundrup Mutur
- Shengyal Lhatse, He lived for 113 years.
- Lhagom Karpo, He lived for 97 years.
- Ngodrup Gyaltsen, He was the son of Lhagom Karpo. He asked his father for teachings but his father refused and told him that he had performed a divination that indicated that his son was not a good candidate. Ngodrup then abandoned his wife and child and went to study with a Buddhist. Soon after this, his father reconsidered his decision and agreed to teach him. He lived for 73 years.
- Orgom Kündul, Few Bönpo followers sought teachings from him but many Buddhist practitioners sought him out. He lived for 80 years.
The Upper and Lower Systems of Transmission reunite in the person of Yangtön Sherap Gyaltsen
- Yangtön Sherap Gyaltsen, He was born into the prestigious Yangtön lineage of Dolpo, Nepal. He lived and taught during the 11th century. He received the full transmissions of both the Upper and the Lower Systems of Transmission and therefore united the transmissions. Out of compassion, he wrote down some of the teachings as well as commentaries. According to prophecy, his life span was to be 75 years but due to writing down the secret teachings, he died at the age of 63.
Here, the lineage splits again into the Southern and the Northern Lineage. Below is the list of the lamas of the southern Lineage of Transmission.
The Five Masters of the Mantra and the Mind:
These five masters held the transmission of both the precepts as well as the practice of the yidam and protector Zhang Zhung Meri
- Dampa Bumjé, He spread the Bön teachings in the areas of Dolpo, Mustang and Western Tibet. His father was Yangtön Sherap Gyaltsen. After his death, Dampa received teachings from his mother. Because of his extraordinary meditative experiences, he added his own teachings to those of his father in the Experiential Transmission.
- Lu Drakpa Tashi Gyaltsen, He was also a son to Yangtön Sherap Gyaltsen. Unlike his brother, he was a wandering yogi. He lived for 85 years.
- Tokden Wonpo Yeshe Gyaltsen, His mother was Yangtön Sherap Gyaltsen’s daughter. His father was a bandit and he joined him in his exploits. One day, he father was killed during a fight and he was badly wounded. Once he recovered, he began to seek revenge. After some time had passed, he became tired with fighting and went to his uncle, Dampa Bumjé, to learn to read so that he could read the scriptures. However, his progress was slow and he went to his other uncle, Lu Drakpa, and asked for teachings that didn’t require the ability to read. Having received the teachings of the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyü, he practiced and attained realization.
- Yangtön Gyaltsen Rinchen, From the age of 8 until 21, he practiced tantra. At the age of 21, he received the Dzogchen teachings. He founded the monastery of Samling in Dolpo, Nepal.
- Chikchö Depa Sherap, He is also known as Tokden Depa Sherap. He practiced in the area of Mount Tisé among other places.
- Druchen Gyalwa Yungdrung, 1242-1290. He was one of four brothers and received monk’s vows from his older brother. He was once the abbot of Yeru Wensaka Monastery which was founded by his family. He organized the practices of the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyü into a widely used practice manual commonly known as the Chak Tri. He wrote many prayers, ritual guides and commentaries.
- Ripa Sherap Lodro, He was from Dolpo and traveled a great deal throughout Tibet.
- Yeshé Rinchen
- Rangdrol Lama Gyaltsen, He frequently debated Buddhist monks including Tsongkhapa.
- A Tok Sherap Gyaltsen, He was the personal attendant to Dru Gyalwa Yungdrung. He showed many signs of realization and lived for 120 years.
- Kartsa Sonam Lodro
The Transmissions for both the Southern and the Northern Lineages reunite in the person of Patön Tengyal Zangpo
- Patön Tengyal Zangpo, He showed many signs of realization and is said to have circumambulated Mount Tisé in the form of a vulture.
- Tokden Shepal
- Namkha Özer
- Yungdrung Yeshé
- Rinchen Lodro
- Nyamme Sherap Gyaltsen, 1356-1415 He founded Tashi Menri Monastery in Tibet. For further information, see the previous blog post “Field of Accumulation: Abbots of Menri”.
- Rinchen Gyaltsen
- Namkha Yeshé
- Kunzang Gyaltsen
- Tsultrim Gyaltsen
- Sonam Yeshé
- Sonam Yungdrung
- Shetsu Drungmu
- Sherap Özer
- Yungdrung Gyaltsen
- Sherap Lodro
- Sherap Özer
- Tsukpü Özer
- Yungdrung Tsultrim
- Rinchen Özer
- Rinchen Lhundrup
- Sherap Tenzin
- Sherap Wangyal
- Yungdrung Wangyal
- Püntsok Namgyal
- Sherap Gonggyal
- Nyima Tenzin
- Choklé Namgyal
- Sherap Yungdrung
- Sanggye Tenzin
- Tenzin Tsultrim
- Gyalwa Lodro
- Tenpa Lodro
- Nyima Wanggyal
- Sherap Lodro
- Sanggye Tenzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak
- Lungtok Tenpé Nyima, the 33rd holder of the golden throne of Menri Monastery.
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