About Raven Cypress Wood


Raven Cypress Wood was born into a Christian family in Alabama, United States.  Throughout her childhood, she was focused on gaining spiritual knowledge and experience and was interested in the role that religion and spirituality played in people’s lives. This lead her to begin studies which eventually led her to developing her a spiritual counseling practice in order to assist people with their healing and inner development regardless of their religious beliefs. In late 1999, she felt that it was time to focus more intensely on her own spiritual path and decided to dissolve her counseling practice. She made a vow that for 100 days she would pray to meet and connect with an authentic spiritual guide. In the first half of this 100 days of prayer, she met Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and felt an immediate, and clear connection. A couple of years later, having received many teachings from him as well as other Yungdrung Bön lamas, she dissolved her thriving counseling practice and stopped her teaching and lectures regarding ritual and healing.  Soon therafter, she was asked to join the Ligmincha Council and acted as retreat coordinator for four years.  During this time, she moved from Massachusetts to Virginia and spent three months serving practitioners at Serenity Ridge who were undergoing the dzogchen practice of dark retreat. Afterwards, she lived at the retreat center for over six years and also acted as one of the caretakers of Serenity Ridge.

Raven with His Eminence Menri Ponlop Yangton Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche of Menri Monastery, a special teacher and scholar in the Yungdrung Bön tradition

When Raven began practicing the Yungdrung Bön tradition, she wanted to make more of the precious Tibetan language texts available in the English language, so she began to self-study classical written Tibetan. Over the course of many years, she has had the opportunity to study and practice with many esteemed Yungdrung Bön masters including His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizen Rinpoche, His Eminence Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, and His Eminence Menri Ponlop Yangton Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche.  With disciplined study on her own of Classical Tibetan, together with the help of many lamas, she began to translate various texts from Tibetan into English.  In order to translate the Tsewang Chok du Jarima text, she learned to read the Tibetan umé, or head-less, script along with its many hidden letters.   In order to accurately translate the Yungdrung Bön prayers and texts, she continually studies the historical, cultural and political contexts specific to Yungdrung Bön and its ancient origins. In 2011-2013, she assisted with the creation and implementation of Ligmincha International’s 1st Two-year Causal Vehicle Program teaching in-depth the rituals of longevity, soul retrieval, and death ransom from the Tséwang Chokdü Jarima as taught by the Yungdrung Bön ritual specialist, Geshe Nyima Künchap.

Teacher and friend, the spiritual director of Sherap Chamma Ling in Vancouver, B.C., Geshe Yongdong Losar

In her translations, consideration is given to using English words that convey both the literal meaning as well as the implied meaning.  With few exceptions, she does not use Sanskrit language words except for those that have come to be part of the general English lexicon.  In this way, Raven’s English translations aim to stay true to the Yungdrung Bön and not be mixed with Buddhist contexts.  Similarly, when translating texts such as prayer request that are written as poetry and meant to be accompanied by a melody and instruments, her goal is to translate the accurate meaning as well as convey the poetic beauty and tone of the original text.  Her translations of texts that are meant to be chanted include the English translation as well as the original Tibetan together with a pronunciation guide in order to allow students to chant the texts in the Tibetan language.

Raven Cypress Wood has translated hundreds of Yungdrung Bön prayers, poems, texts and commentaries and is the author of Indestructible, The Longevity Practice of Lama Tsewang Rikdzin. This book is a translation and detailed annotation of the most commonly performed longevity practice within the Yungdrung Bön tradition. As a yidam, Lama Tsewang Rikdzin can bestow any quality or wisdom that is needed.  However, in this text, the healing and protection of the life force, vitality, and health are emphasized. This book was the first publication of Sacred Sky Publications, began by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. This book is available from the Ligmincha International bookstore, Tibet Shop.

Since 2013, she has been writing articles and offering information on the history, culture and practice of Yungdrung Bön religious tradition on her website Nine Ways.  The website has been translated into the Spanish and Portuguese languages and is currently being developed for the French language.

Assisting with a teaching of friend and teacher Geshe Tenzin Yangton 2016

This bio was kindly requested by and translated into Tibetan by Geshe Chaphur Rinpoche.  This is a link to the Tibetan language version on his Tibetan language


  1. This is a beautiful and informative site. Thank you Raven. I appreciate all your careful and dedicated work.

  2. Thank you Ida. I’m so glad that you are enjoying it. Raven

  3. This is amazing Raven! E Ma Ho! And I discovered it and passed along the link to my Australian friends who are thinking of doing a Project Himalaya trek thru Dolpo next May. I look forward to going thru all your entries. Thank you for all this effort!

  4. I’m so glad that you are enjoying it! Have you seen Geshe Gelek’s new book ‘Bon in Nepal’? Very nice. And a lovely section on Dolpo. All the Best, Raven

  5. This is excellent. Thank you.

  6. Thank you, Raven.
    I look forward to enjoying your site again and again.
    with love, Selina from Singapore

  7. Raven, thank you so much for sharing your work this way! A very important and auspicious endeavor indeed!

  8. My Pleasure, Hannah. All the best to you. Raven

  9. Rio Lara-Bellon

    Raven – What a wonderful site this is! It is so informative and lovely to look at, too. Kudos to you for bringing forth this well crafted website that is dedicated to Bön teachings, Bön teachers, and Bön history. Now that I have found your site I will be recommending it to like-minded friends here in the Pacific Northwest. You have my deepest appreciation for your fine work.

  10. Ada Bird Wolfe

    Raven – This is just wonderful! So beautiful, so gracefully written, so informative. All beings will benefit! I am very grateful! Love, Ada

  11. KT Jaltsen/IloSuwin

    Wonderful. Marvelous. Superb. You were born under Three Fortunate Stars, and Three Protectors look after you. Your good fortune is immeasurably great.

  12. Great and beautiful and very helpful sie, Raven. Thank you!

  13. Hello, can you tell me where I can find the story of Tonpa Sherap’s life?

  14. In Tibetan, there are many resources. In English, to my knowledge there is only the summary of his 12 deeds. I have covered some of them on this website which you can find through the search function. Raven



  15. Thank you so much for your response. Can you please write out his life story for all of us.

  16. Great job Raven .Thank You .

  17. Hi Raven,
    so nice to see all the good work you are doing!

  18. Raven, I don’t know how often you check this, but the post entitled :Gangru Gön Dargyé Monastery: The Flourishing Monastery Upon a Hill” that was announced in an email dated 11/5/16 is not visible. Thanks for all of your hard work! Blessings, Ben Welsh

  19. Thanks Ben. There was an unfortunate posting error. The post will appear later this month. Raven

  20. You are amazing! Thank you for your service! I just started studying Tibetan with Geshe Chaphur Rinpoche. I deeply know this is something I am supposed to do, and continue with. I am not sure why yet, and that doesn’t matter to me. I just know it is for a reason, and I am going with the flow.

    Your Bio is very inspiring to me, and I relate to it very strongly!

    Much Love!
    Lisa Berry

  21. Thank you so much for your sharing and spreading amazing works to preserve the sacred ancient tradition of Bön

  22. Tashi delek Raven,

    Thanks a lot for your effort, regarding the spreading of Bön.
    See your publications always as very useful and beneficial.

    Mutsuk Marro
    Kalden Yungdrung

  23. Tashi delek Raven,

    Thanks for your contributions regarding the spreading of Bön Dharma.
    Its always a pleasure for me to read your work.
    Very useful and precious based on a good motivation.
    Go on with that !

    Mutsuk Marro
    Kalden Yungdrung

  24. Tashi delek,

    Vielen herzlichen Dank für diese wunderbaren Informationen. Bin zum ersten mal auf dieser Seite und bin voller Freue. Bin Schülerin von Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche habe jedoch 10 Jahre Pause hinter mir. Jetzt bin ich wieder da und bereite mich auf meine Reise nach Tibet und zum Mount Kailash vor und wohl auf alten Pfaden, die meine Seele kennt.

    Tiefe Seelen Verbindung
    Rita Salis

  25. dear raven, i found this side and you. ecause i have a horpscop from cherab chama ling and it is diddicult for me to understsnd as well a s confusing. i am a 1957 born and so my so called soul days or negative days are ob different days in the ordered horoscop then on webside.
    also itis hard to understand what the personal eight directions mean when i also think about compass directions. if you would not mind ansering i could send you my horoscop for help.
    thanks a lot
    greetings from. erlin germany doris
    theshi delek

  26. Hello Doris,

    Yes, please send your horoscope via email rcw108@gmail.com and I will help clarify if I can. I am familiar with Geshe Yongdong’s horoscopes.

    All the best,

  27. Hello,

    Thank you for your sharing a lot of rare information here!
    I have questions regarding Tibetan Language. What books do you recommend to learn Tibetan in order to read the texts and does it help to learn also colloquial Tibetan?

    Best regards,

  28. David Hazard

    Your writings are so much appreciated !

  29. So Blessed to have discovered this website. It feels like a happy reunion with a very precious sister. I will return again and again. Tashi Delek Raven dear. 🙏🌹🙏

  30. Hi and thank you, dear Raven!
    I begun with practice after this year’s Winter Retreat, and I’m reading the books, but it’s so helpful to read the translations & explanations on your page here, they are wonderful 🙂 All the best, Tanja 🙏

  31. Dear Tanja, I’m so glad that you are finding the website supportive. Sincerely, Raven

  32. Donna Elliott

    What a precious jewel this blog is! Speaking of beautiful jewels, hi there Raven-la🙏❤️🙏

    And a cherishing shout-out to the rarefied commenters found here. 🥰

    I’m very happy to be in this special place. 🤓

  33. Thank you dear Donna. I am happy to know that you are enjoying the website. Raven

  34. Om Matri Muye Sale Dhu
    Is there a Bon lunar calender / Gregorian calender for 2021 and 2022 so that I can plot the auspicious dates you have mentioned on page 27 of Sacred Smoke?
    Ps – great book thankyou
    Best Wishes
    Will Bryden, Tenpa Gyaltsen

  35. Hi Will,
    I”m so glad that you are enjoying the book Sacred Smoke.
    If you have a smart phone, the Druk Calendar app is very easy to use for finding lunar dates for corresponding Western calendar dates. However, it is Buddhist. So, use only for the dates and disregard the other information as it can be very different in Yungdrung Bön.
    There is a Bönpo calendar app but the lunar dates are only displayed in Tibetan and not Arabic numerals. So, it is only helpful f you read Tibetan.
    Menri Monastery publishes a calendar each year containing the 4 monthly auspicious days and includes all other Bönpo auspicious dates. However, it is only in Tibetan.

  36. E Ma Ho
    Goodness Gracious
    I’m flowing with gratitude to be connected with this fountain of authentic transmission accessible English translation of Bon teachings
    Thank you
    Andrew Gilbert
    Gaithersburg, Maryland US

  37. Dear Andrew, I’m happy to hear that you are finding the website supportive. I hope that you and your loved ones are all doing well. Raven

  38. Beautiful site, Raven.
    Is there a way I can be notified when the MA TRI book is ready? Thank you, D

  39. Thank you Raven for this wonderful work you have been doing!

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