His Holiness the 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 2021, this date corresponds with June 24th 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. At the age of fourteen, he received instructions on the preliminary practices of dzogchen and completed the nine-hundred thousand accumulations three times. In 1945 at the age of seventeen, he received novice monk vows from Kyangtsang Lama Sherap Tenpé and was given the name Sherap Namdak. He completed his Geshé Degree at the age of twenty-five 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 1956 at the age of twenty-eight, he traveled to the famous Yungdrung Ling Monastery and received monk vows from the Pönlop and was given the name Sangyé Tenzin. In 1960 at the age of thirty-two, as he passed through Mustang and Dolpo on his way to India, he borrowed many rare texts in order to reprint them in India and ensure their preservation.
In 1968, many esteemed Yungdrung Bön lamas gathered together in order to coordinate the process of selecting a successor of the late 32nd Menri Trizin. After several days of extensive prayers and rituals, Sangyé Tenzin’s name emerged as the one to hold the lineage of Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen. In 1969 at the age of forty, 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.
In 1970, he began construction of the main temple of Pal Shenten Menri Ling in Dolanji and lead efforts to restore Menri Monastery in Tibet. In 1972, he opened a dispensary at Pal Shenten Menri Ling that distributed medicine freely to the monks, the Tibetan settlers in the nearby village, as well as to the local Indians. In 1975, he began a school for the Bönpo children, and in 1978 he founded the dialectic school to continue the tradition of in-depth education of the traditional and philosophical sciences that results in the esteemed degree of geshe.
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 auspicious occasion of the celebration of his birth is an opportunity to generate great merit through spiritual practice and virtuous activities of body, speech and mind.
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, paying homage with single-pointed motivation and devotion!
May the negative actions and defilements of my three doors become purified!
AH OM HUNG CHI PAR RAYNA KO PUNG AKSHO TRI TSE GU DÜN HRUN”
— From Offerings for the Lama
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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