On the new moon day of the first Winter month (10th lunar month), Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché demonstrated the truth of impermanence by leaving behind the container of his physical body. The anniversary of this date coincides with December 23, 2022 on the Western calendar. Any virtuous activity that is performed through the body, speech or mind is greatly multiplied. This is an especially auspicious day to recite the Tséwang Monlam, Tséwang’s Precious Mala of Beneficial Aspiration Prayers as many times as possible. The English language translation of this prayer, and many other prayers including The Chanted Verse of Impermanence, are freely offered for personal use and can be viewed and/or downloaded by going to the Publications page of this website.
“Although the body of a Victorious One is without birth and death, in order to show an example of the impermanent character of phenomena, you demonstrated the way of passing beyond suffering into the space of the essence of Bön, and manifested within the vast expanse of the true nature which is like the sky.
I prostrate to you, Fully Accomplished One!”
At the age of eighty-two shen years (8,200 human years), the enlightened Lord Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché began to illustrate the truth of impermanence for sentient beings by allowing the constituents of his physical body to become weak and manifest an illness. Alarmed, his disciples performed rituals and administered medicine. In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of these methods according to relative truth, the Buddha temporarily recovered.
“Whatever time I have passes, and the arrival of death is certain. Still, I expect to live and not to die.
How sad! Bless me that the realization of impermanence will arise in my mind-stream!
Even though everyone knows of death through seeing and hearing of it, I myself expect to be permanent.
How sad! Bless me that the realization of impermanence will arise in my mind-stream!”
— Excerpt from The Chanted Verse of Impermanence within The Aural Transmission of Zhang Zhung
However, after a little time had passed, he caused his physical condition to again weaken. This provided an opportunity for the Buddha to give teachings to his disciples regarding the process of death. At dusk on the new moon day of the first Winter month at the nine-leveled yungdrung mountain, Lord Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché adopted the posture of the sleeping lion and demonstrated the accomplishment of passing beyond suffering. After cremation of his physical body, the relics from the ash were distributed among the gods, the humans and the lu [Sanskrit: naga] as objects of faith and devotion.
One year later, an assembly of thirteen yungdrung sempa [Sanskrit:bodhisattva] compiled the teachings of Lord Buddha. Time passed, and the era of being able to rely upon the physical presence of the Buddha drew to a close. Thus began the era of relying upon the Buddha’s speech. Lord Tönpa Shenrap’s successor, Mucho Demdruk, descended from the sky into Olmo Lungring and began to turn the wheel of Yungdrung Bön for gods and humans. Among his disciples were “the six intellectual ornaments of the world.” These six scholars translated the teachings of Lord Buddha into their respective native languages of Tazik, India, China, and Trom and therefore were able to spread the teachings of enlightenment in every direction.
“You are the king of the teachings and the glorious guide through cyclic existence.
You are the illuminating light that overcomes all darkness.
You are the primary medicine that dispels the torment of ignorance and disease.
You are a King of the Mu clan, an extraordinary being who took human form.
With an army of great fire that dries up the ocean and mire of the five poisons,
You are a luminous, holy man who possesses the marks and characteristics of an enlightened being.
Having undertaken a multitude of hardships, You completed a multitude of enlightened activities.
Through both the four valid means of cognition and the six valid thoughts, and with great loving kindness, you liberate the beings within cyclic existence.
I prostrate to the manifested enlightened Body of Tönpa Shenrap!”
—From Praise and Homage for the Compassionate Teacher
Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. All translations are by the author. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.
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