About Raven Cypress Wood

10344866_10205629042585090_8687807932597114292_n

 

Raven Cypress Wood was born into a Christian family in 1967 in Alabama, United States.  Throughout her childhood, she focused upon gaining spiritual knowledge and experience and had many vivid dreams of receiving advice and healing knowledge from her ancestors.  At the age of 18, feeling that Christianity was limited in its view, she began studying her ancestor’s native American traditions.  Attending college, but mostly studying on her own, in her early 20’s she began offering healing rituals and spiritual guidance for those who came to her asking for help.  For over 12 years, she developed her ritual and counseling practice in order to assist with the healing and growth of people regardless of their religious beliefs.  In late 1999, after a strong visionary experience upon reading the name ‘Niguma’ and seeing an image of the yogini, she made a vow to pray for 100 days and ask for her help in meeting an authentic lama.  During this time, she read whatever she could find about Niguma, her teachings, and the Shangpa Kagyu lineage.

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

In the first half of the 100 days of prayer, she met Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and felt an immediate connection. A couple of years later having received many teachings from Tenzin Rinpoche as well as other Yungdrung Bön lamas, she dissolved her thriving counseling practice as well as stopped her teaching and lectures regarding ritual and healing.  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 dark retreat. Afterwards, she lived at the retreat center for over six years and also acted as one of the caretakers of Serenity Ridge.

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 Lopon 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.

 

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 correct literal meaning and 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.  Additionally, she supports many Yungdrung Bön lamas by writing teaching curriculums and creating practice and study materials for their students.

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

website:http://gyalshenbondra.com/?p=3895

  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

    https://ravencypresswood.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/the-twelve-deeds-of-the-buddha-tonpa-shenrap-miwoche/?preview_id=1578&preview_nonce=ad0277be67&post_format=image&preview=true

    https://ravencypresswood.com/2013/09/19/buddha-tonpa-shenraps-1st-deed-birth/

  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!
    warmly
    xo
    ale

  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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: