Category Archives: Prayer and Ritual

The Virtuous Practice of Making Sa Tsa

Cremation sa tsa of HH 34th Menri Trizin Rinpoche. Photo credit: Unknown

A sa tsa is a small replica of a chorten (Sanskrit: stupa) or enlightened being that is made out of clay with a sa tsa mold.  This mold both shapes and imprints the clay.  Within the sutra tradition, making sa tsa can be one of the daily practices of generosity and is considered a method of accumulating merit.  The practice of making sa tsa was described by Buddha Tönpa Shenrap among the virtuous practices of lay practitioners, or genyen. 

“If someone wants to earnestly give up negative and non-virtuous behavior and take up the activities of the ten virtues, or is a follower of The Way of the Genyen, or if they want to learn the virtuous practices of the Shen, the offering of sa tsa has three sections. These are the preliminary practice of creating the enlightened image, the main practice of ritually consecrating the image with blessings, and the final practice of sealing the object-less roots of virtue and aspiration by dedicating.”

— From The Ritual of Sa Tsa from The Way of the Genyen within the Zi Ji by Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen

Sa tsa painted gold. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

There are detailed instructions for creating sa tsa which include specific mantras and visualizations to use while searching for and collecting the clay, cleaning the clay, kneading the clay, shaping the clay, blessing the clay etc. In general however, one begins by requesting the blessings of the lama, taking refuge and generating the mind of enlightenment.  Then, the clay is ritually purified with water and incense. The sa tsa mold is prepared by lightly coating the inside with butter or oil.  The clay is kneaded and molded into shape, and firmly pressed into the mold.  From the bottom-center, a small portion of clay is removed in order to create a cavity.  Within this space is placed mantras of enlightened body, speech, mind, quality and activity; as well as a powdered mixture of the five precious things: gold, silver, turquoise, coral and crystal; blessed herbal medicine known as mendrup, the six excellent substances, and the five grains.  Clay is then used to close this space and seal these substances within each of the sa tsa.

Left: A large sa tsa mold                          Center: Detailed inside of mold            Right: Smaller mold with unfinished sa tsa

Once the clay has dried, the sa tsa are painted silver or gold and then consecrated.  Traditionally, the sa tsa are then placed within a chorten or a tsa khang, a sa tsa house, that will protect the sa tsa from the elements.  These tsa khang can be located anywhere but are often found at sacred places and are located so as to make circumambulation of the structure possible.  In the absence of a tsa khang, sa tsa are also placed in caves at the top of mountains or at pilgrimage places.

Sa tsa in the form of the enlightened Buddha Sherap Jamma. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood.

Cremation sa tsa can be made to benefit a being that has died by adding a small amount of the cremation ash to the substances placed within the sa tsa. By establishing this connection between the deceased and an enlightened image, it supports circumstances for a positive rebirth. In the case of the passing of a realized spiritual master, cremation sa tsa can be made which then act as sacred relics and objects of devotion for the disciples.

Sa tsa at Tashi Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India. Photo credit: Lee Hartline

“According to the Teacher’s words, if the followers of The Way of the Genyen or any other members of the Bön community practice this with faith, having created and consecrated even a single [sa tsa] in an enlightened form, the virtue cannot be exhausted even with the passing of many thousands of eons. It is not possible to measure or count the positive qualities.

Because of that, one should have faith and train in this profound virtuous practice of the shen. One should properly increase the roots of virtue in this way.  From this precious cause of liberation for sentient beings, completely pure and perfect buddhahood can be attained. Hold this firmly in your mind!”

—— From The Ritual of Sa Tsa from The Way of the Genyen within the Zi Ji by Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen

All translations and content 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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Aspiration of The First Way

The tree of health and illness. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood.

Germinating and ripening,

like a blaze of good fortune within the realm of appearance and existence,

giving birth to the positive result of longevity, prosperity, and good harvests,

providing healing for the benefit and happiness of migrating beings in the world;

may we have the auspiciousness of The Way of the Shen of Prediction!*

—Excerpt from The Auspiciousness of the Stages of The Nine Ways

*For more information about The First Way, The Way of the Shen of Prediction, see previous post:

https://ravencypresswood.com/2013/03/27/1st-of-the-nine-ways-divination-astrology-and-medicine/

 

All content and translations 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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Essence Mantra of Yungdrung Bön: the MA TRI Mantra

The MA TRI mantra at Tokden Monastery. Photo credit: Unknown.

The MA TRI mantra is one of the three primary essence mantras of the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition. The syllable OM is the seed syllable of the buddha Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché. The syllable MA is the seed syllable of the buddha Sherap Jamma. The remaining six syllables are the seed syllables of the Six Subduing Shen, the buddhas who liberate each of the six kinds of beings from the suffering and misery of cyclic existence.

Lord Tönpa Shenrap and Sherap Jamma according to the practice of the MA TRI.

OM Upon cushions of a sun, moon and lotus and within a beautiful, jeweled palace is the victorious deity and his consort.*  I present this offering of the essence mantra to them along with their retinue.

I request that you receive me within your compassion.  May the defilements and karmic potentialities of both myself and others be purified!  Please bestow both the supreme and the ordinary accomplishments! OM MA TRI MU YÉ SA LÉ DÜ.”

— From Sending Out and Gathering Back with the MA TRI Mantra. Translated from the Tibetan by Raven Cypress Wood

*This refers to Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché and Buddha Sherap Jamma.

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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Lineage of Ancient Wisdom

HH 34th Menri Trizin Dawa Dargye Rinpoche and HE Menri Ponlop Yangton Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche during a ritual at Menri Monastery in Dolanji, Inida. Photo credit: Unknown.

Giving Without Attachment

Mandala Offering at Tokden Yungdrung Bon Monastery. Photo credit: Unknown

“EMAHO!

To the great, peerless lama possessing characteristics, I present unequaled external, internal and secret offerings.

Externally, I offer the environment and the beings within it. I offer my own body and its vitality as an ornament. Furthermore, I present these offerings with non-attachment.

Internally, I offer the arising of my mental and physical aggregates. I offer my accumulated realization that whatever arises as subject and object is illusory. Furthermore, I present these offerings within the vast space of self-liberation.

Secretly, I offer the natural radiance of my unborn mind, which is unceasing and understands whatever arises as enlightened manifestation and wisdom. Furthermore, I present these offerings within a completely vast and all-pervasive space.”

—From Offerings for the Lama. Translated from the Tibetan by Raven Cypress Wood

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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Accumulating Merit & Wisdom

Photo credit: Jana Kolarik

Through recitation of the sacred Yungdrung Bön texts, we accumulate both merit and wisdom. By making a commitment to recite a certain text every day or a specified number of times and then fulfilling that commitment, the power of our practice is amplified. Recitation of the sacred texts is also one of the thirteen Bön activities. See previous post: https://ravencypresswood.com/2018/01/14/the-thirteen-bon-activities/

As a support to the worldwide Yungdrung Bön community, Raven Cypress Wood has provided her translation of select Yungdrung Bön prayers on this website for the personal use of Yungdrung Bön practitioners. See the Publications page of this website at the link below for more information. https://ravencypresswood.com/publications/

“EMAHO!

Enlightened Ones of the ten directions who appeared in the past,

Enlightened Ones of the ten directions who appear in the present,

Enlightened Ones of the ten directions who will appear in the future,

the Mind of the lama is the embodiment of all these Enlightened Ones of the three times.

To the embodiment of all the places of refuge, the root lama,

I pay homage, admit my wrongdoing, present offerings, and supplicate!

Please pacify all obstacles and guide me along the path of liberation!

Bestow your blessings that my wishes will be spontaneously fulfilled!”

— From The Spontaneous Wish-fulfillment of Removing Obstacles from the Path:

The Oral Transmission of Khandro Shérap Lopélma

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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Uplifting Auspiciousness & Good Fortune

His Eminence Menri Ponlop Yangton Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche offering lungta papers to the sky during a ritual to increase good fortune. Photo credit: Unknown

“Having produced within my mind-stream a lack of desire or attachment towards this world, toward friends or enemies, towards material things or property and wealth; and having liberated the knots of greediness regarding subject and object, may I abide in the state of the unmoving, nature of mind!”    

—From the book Indestructible: The Longevity Practice of Tséwang Rikdzin. 

Lama Tséwang Rikdzin was born a human being as one of the twin sons of Lama Drenpa Namkha. But having realized the ultimate result of his practice and thereby transcending cyclic existence, he purified all obscurations and perfected all positive qualities and became an enlightened being. In this way, Lama Tséwang Rikdzin came to be practiced as a yidam deity. Although there are many longevity practices within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, the practice of Lama Tséwang Rikdzin has become the longevity practice most commonly performed.

To learn more about the book: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/SacredSky

Tibetan translation: 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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Yungdrung Bön Auspicious Days for Spiritual Practice

The Supreme Shen Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché.

According to the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, each month there are auspicious days which are determined by the teaching activities of the Supreme Shen Buddha Tönpa Shenrap. These are lunar dates according to the Tibetan lunar calendar.

30th Day of the Month, New Moon: On this day, Buddha Tönpa Shenrap taught the beings in the formless realm. This is a good day to purify wrong views. The power of any virtuous activity or meditation performed on this day is doubled. Also, because of its significance in the lunar cycle, it is one of the four monthly auspicious days to perform prayers and virtuous activities, and for those with genyen or monastic vows to avoid eating meat.

1st Day of the Month: On this day, Buddha Tönpa Shenrap taught the space gods in the highest and purest of places in the formless realm. This is a good day to purify greed and attachment and engage in acts of generosity.

8th Day of the Month: On this day, Buddha Tönpa Shenrap taught the clear-light gods. This is a good day to purify broken vows and to recite one of the three essence mantras of the Yungdrung Bön tradition. Also, because of its significance in the lunar cycle, it is one of the four monthly auspicious days to perform prayers and virtuous activities, and for those with genyen or monastic vows to avoid eating meat.

14th Day of the Month: On this day, Buddha Tönpa Shenrap taught the Gaden gods of the form realm. This is a good day to purify sexual misconduct and desire.

15th Day of the Month: On this day, Buddha Tönpa Shenrap taught the gods of the desire realm atop Mt. Meru. This is a good day to purify the killing of someone important such as a lama, a family member or another practitioner in either this or a previous life. Also, because of its significance in the lunar cycle, it is one of the four monthly auspicious days to perform prayers and virtuous activities, and for those with genyen or monastic vows to avoid eating meat.

16th Day of the Month: On this day, Buddha Tönpa Shenrap taught the four great gods of the desire realm and the four great kings. This is a good day to purify disagreements or misunderstandings with parents, a lama, or another practitioner from either this or a previous life.

19th Day of the Month: On this day, Buddha Tönpa Shenrap taught the Tsang Ri gods of the form realm. This is a good day to purify any accidental killing.

22nd Day of the Month: On this day, Buddha Tönpa Shenrap taught the demi-gods of the desire realm who reside on the sides of Mt. Meru. This is a good day to purify the killing of a human being or lying to the lama. Also, because of its significance in the lunar cycle, it is one of the four monthly auspicious days to perform prayers and virtuous activities, and for those with genyen or monastic vows to avoid eating meat.

29th Day of the Month: On this day, Buddha Tönpa Shenrap taught the lu [Sanskrit: naga] of the desire realm. This is a good day to purify stealing during this or a previous life.

The practice of the admission of wrongdoing and purification is a powerful and effective method to purify non-virtuous activities of body, speech and mind and repair our sacred vows and commitments. The efficacy of the practice relies upon the so-called “four powers.” These are 1) the power of witness, 2) the power of openly admitting without reservation the actions of wrongdoing and non-virtue, 3) the power of heartfelt remorse, and 4) the power of vowing to not repeat the negative activities.

“The infallible fruit of both good and bad actions is certain. May I be watchful to accept or reject situations! Having depended upon the practice of admitting wrongdoing by means of the four powers, may all karmic potentialities and defilements be purified!”

— From The Ocean of Instructions Regarding the A Tri Teachings by Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche

For the power of witness, the practitioner goes before a sacred object of refuge such as a shrine, a real or visualized image of an enlightened being, or a chorten. Then, the practitioner connects with the actual presence of the enlightened beings in the sky before them. For the second power which is the admission of wrongdoing, the practitioner brings into their awareness all of the non-virtuous activities of body, speech and mind that have been committed in this life, as well as any unremembered activities from this or previous lives. This includes activities of direct or indirect involvement, as well as encouraging or celebrating the non-virtuous activities of others. For the third power, the practitioner generates an intense remorse for all of these actions. For the fourth power, the practitioner makes a firm commitment to not repeat these non-virtuous activities in the future and to instead engage in activities of virtue. In this way, the negative actions and their consequences are purified. At the conclusion of the practice, the practitioner imagines and feels the blessings of the enlightened beings completely purifying them in the form of pure, wisdom light.

“I openly admit to the gathering of buddhas all non-virtue that has arisen from the five poisons from beginning-less time until this very moment. I generate intense remorse for these actions of non-virtue and immorality that I have committed in the past.  I vow that from now on, I will not commit those acts again.  Instead, I will delight in accumulating virtue.” 

— From Homage to the Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwo

All translations from the Tibetan 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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Developing Knowledge & Wisdom

White emanation of Mawé Senge, Lion of Exposition.

After the Tibetan New Year celebrations, students at Menri Monastery in India enter into an intensive retreat to cultivate the qualities of the wisdom deity Mawé Senge, Lion of Exposition. This retreat begins on the 24th lunar day of the 1st month and concludes on the 30th lunar day. In 2019, these dates coincide with February 28th through March 6th on the Western calendar. The intention of this retreat is to develop and sharpen the student’s intellect related to their upcoming studies. The practice of Mawé Senge is performed many times each day and the mantra of the deity is recited as much as possible throughout the retreat, but at least a minimum of 100,000 recitations are completed.

“I go for refuge to the wisdom deity for the intellect.

I generate the supreme mind for the benefit of vigorous training in the highest wisdom.

Having compassionately purified all karmic obscurations without exception,

please bestow the attainments of an increased intellect, useful knowledge, and a divine voice.”  

—From The Short Practice of Mawé Senge. Tibetan translation: Raven Cypress Wood

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Feast Offering to the Deities of the Mother Tantra

Deities of the Mother Tantra. Painted by Lama Kalsang Nyima. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood.

On the 21st and 22nd lunar days of the 1st month, Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India will perform a feast offering to the deities of the Mother Tantra. These dates are February 25th and 26th, 2019 on the Western calendar. For those who have vows with a yidam deity, performing a feast offering is an opportunity to repair any broken vows and to request the blessings and power of the deity.

The source of the Mother Tantra within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition is the primordial Buddha Küntu Zangpo. It has three cycles: external, internal and secret. Each cycle has a root text and a commentary that was written by the sage Milu Samlek. The main yidam of the Mother tantra is Sangchok Thartuk and his consort Khandro Chema Ötso.

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Celebration of the Second Buddha: Nyamme Sherap Gyaltsen

The 5th day of the 1st month of the Tibetan lunar calendar is the celebration of the birth and cremation of Lama Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen.  In 2019, this date in the Western calendar is February 9th. Within the Yungdrung Bön tradition, Lama Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen is often referred to as the Second Buddha.  He was a reincarnation of Yikyi Khye’u Chung, one of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche’s sons. Lama Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen was responsible for uniting the three transmissions of sutra, tantra and dzogchen as well as founding one of the largest Yungdrung Bön monasteries in Tibet, Tashi Menri Ling.

Born in 1356 in the region of Gyalrong into the Dru lineage, as a child, he could recite mantra and read scripture without having studied.  At the age of ten, he decided to become a monk.  In 1387 at the age of 31, he entered the prestigious Yeru Wensaka monastery and eventually became its abbot.   During a journey to Eastern Tibet, Yeru Wensaka was destroyed by flooding and mudslides.  After returning, he searched the ruins of the monastery for artifacts.  He took these and established Tashi Menri Monastery further up the same valley.  It was now 1405 and he was 50 years old.

Lama Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen was known throughout Tibet as a great scholar and prolific writer on the many varied subjects within the Bön scriptures.  He also exhibited many miracles and signs of his spiritual realization.  Twice, he flew up into the sky.  During one of these flights, he burned his hat with the rays of the sun.

Nyamme Sherap Gyaltsen handprint

Nyamme Sherap Gyaltsen’s hand print in stone

In 1415 at the age of 60, he passed away.  His body levitated high into the air, but due to the many heartfelt prayers of his disciples, the body came back down.   During the cremation, rainbows appeared and an eagle circled three times around the cremation area before disappearing into the West.

Today,  Bönpos will spend the day with their eyes looking skyward.  If you are lucky enough to be visited by a vulture on this day, it is said to be an auspicious sign of having received the blessings of the lama known as the Second Buddha, the Unequaled One, Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen.

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Tibetan New Year: Purification & Repaying Debts

A ransom offering with hand print dough offerings. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

The Tibetan New Year, called Losar, is February 5, 2019.   This is the 1st day of the 1st month of the Tibetan lunar calendar.  The final month of the lunar calendar is considered a time for purification and cleansing, especially the 26th -29th.  The 29th day of the 12th month is called nyishu gu. In 2019, that date on the Western calendar is February 3rd. On this day, the family gathers together for a special dinner and purification ritual. A special soup of nine ingredients called gutük is made. One of the most important ingredients in the soup is large balls of dough that contain symbolic objects or descriptive characteristics written on paper. Each member of the family must receive one of these balls of dough, and whatever is inside is considered a playful commentary on their character.

For example, whoever receives the ball of dough containing a piece of coal is said to have a “black heart.”  Some of the other possible items that someone might receive are: a piece of wool meaning “kind-hearted,” a sun meaning ‘”light of goodness,” a chili meaning “sharp-tongued,” or salt meaning “lazy.”  Everyone saves a small amount of the last of their soup to be used as a ransom offering to the negative spirits of the past year. This ritual payment settles any remaining debts with the negative spirits so that they become satisfied and go away happy. Along with the leftover soup, each person also offers a karmic debt torma. This is a small ball of dough that has been passed over the body in order to absorb any illness and negativity, then pressed with the fingers of the hand and placed on the offering plate with the other ransom offerings.  A small candle is placed on the plate and lit before it is carried out by one of the family members.  Once the ransom offering has been left in an appropriate place, this person must not look back while returning home.

On the 1st day of the new year, everyone stays at home or goes to the monastery in order to make offerings and prayers.  On the 2nd and 3rd days of the new year, it is customary to spend the day visiting friends and extended family in order to raise the positive energy for the coming year.

“Because of our confusion due to ignorance, we have been killing, and beating others, and stealing their possessions throughout our lives from beginning-less time.  These negative actions have joined together as an immeasurable karmic debt.  And the result of these negative actions has ripened into an experience similar to the cause.  Because of this, I repay my karmic debts owed from previous, present, and future lifetimes.  Through the blessings of the thousand buddhas together with the power of my meditative stability, whatever karmic debts are owed are instantly brought into this ransom offering.” 

Excerpt from “The Skillful Means of Dedicating the Ransom” written by Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche and contained within his Yangzab Namkha’i Dzö. Tibetan translation by Raven Cypress Wood

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Anniversary of the Human Birth of Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche

Lord Tonpa Shenrap Miwoche. Photo credit: Khedup Gyatso.

The 15th day of the 12th lunar month, January 21, 2019 on the Western calendar is the 18,036th birth anniversary of the founder of the Yungdrung Bön tradition, the Enlightened Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwo Künlé Nampar Gyalwa.  Already an enlightened being, Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche chose to be born into this world in order to guide beings from suffering to liberation.  He was born into the royal Mu lineage in the kingdom of Tazig Olmo Lungring.

Traditionally, the anniversary of his birth has been celebrated on the 15th day of the 1st month of the lunar calendar.  However, based upon research by the renowned Yungdrung Bön scholar and supreme lama, His Eminence Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, the actual date is believed to be the Full Moon day of the last month in the Tibetan lunar calendar.  This is a powerful and auspicious day for performing virtue or spiritual practice.  The benefits of these activities are greatly multiplied.

“King of Teachers, and the glorious guide through cyclic existence, you are the illuminating light that overcomes all darkness.

A primary medicine that removes the torment of the illness of ignorance, you are the king of the Mu clan, an extraordinary being who took human form.

With an army of immense fire that dries up the ocean and mire of the five poisons, you are a luminous holy man who possesses the special marks and characteristics.

Having undertaken a multitude of hardships, you completed a multitude of activities. Through both the four valid means of cognition and the six valid thoughts, and with great loving kindness, you liberate the migrating beings within cyclic existence.

I prostrate to the manifestation of wisdom, Tönpa Shenrap!”

This Praise and Homage for the Compassionate Teacher was composed by the great Lama Drenpa Namkha and is extracted from “The Definitive Meaning of the Lamp that Dispels the Darkness.”

Tibetan translation by Raven Cypress Wood

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A Victory Banner of Butter Lamps

Yungdrung Bon monks offering candlelight. Photo credit: Unknown.

“Emaho!

Throughout the ten directions of the immeasurable three thousand-fold universe,
are a variety of butter lamp goddesses.
Through the lighting of these bright offering lamps, the fire of the lamps clears away darkness and obscurations, and radiates throughout the vast, clear space of the sky.”

An extract from Raising a Victory Banner of Butter Lamps

Translation from the Tibetan by Raven Cypress Wood ©2017. A full translation of the prayer will be included in her forthcoming book detailing support for death and dying according to the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition.

Lama Think of Me!

His Eminence Menri Ponlop Yangton Trinley Nyima Rinpoche. Photo credit: Unknown

“EMAHO! 

With the devotion of my body, speech and mind, I pray to the essence of the three Enlightened Bodies, the kind root lama.

Please bestow upon me right now the realization of my own enlightened mind and the meaning of the view, realization and behavior.

May I recognize my natural mind, without modification and free of extremes.

May I recognize the brilliantly clear power of the wisdom of self-awareness.

May the many kinds of unceasing mental perceptions arise as self-appearances.

May I recognize my own enlightened mind, I pray.

Bless me that I may see my true face!

Bless me that self-awareness will arise for me!

Bless me to recognize my own true nature!

Bless me to see my own enlightened mind!

Lama, think of me!  Lama, think of me! Lama, think of me! 

Hold me, and all other sentient beings, in your compassion, I pray! 

Protect us with your compassion, I pray! 

Lead us with your compassion, I pray!

A Powa Prayer written by Lord Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen and included in his Kalong Gyatso, An Ocean of Instructions. Translation by Raven Cypress Wood ©2015 All Rights Reserved.

Protection for Travelers


When traveling, one can specifically include the Goddess of Travel, Chammo Lamlha, in the morning smoke offering, and also offer her torma in the evening, while asking for her protection. Although there are longer invocations of her and her retinue, this is a concise invocation that was written by His Holiness 23rd Menri Trizen Nyima Tenzin Rinpoche when he saw her in a vision at the age of thirteen.

SO!  Within a mandala of luminous and beautiful jewels,

Seated upon a golden hornet,

Is the majestic and youthful goddess,

Chammo Lam Lha, together with her retinue.

Come here now and keep your protection vow!

Please accept these offerings of smoke and torma.

Act as my companion.

Expel the causes for harm and obstacles.

Please act to accomplish this entrusted activity!

Translation Raven Cypress Wood ©2015 All Rights Reserved. No publication permitted.

 

The Fierce, Secret Tamer of Demons

Walchen Gekho with his consort, Queen of the Drala

On the 23rd day of the Eighth Tibetan month, Western calendar date October 2nd 2018, Tashi Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India will begin an intensive seven-day retreat for the yidam Gekhö. Specifically, they will perform the practice from the text compiled by His Holiness 1st Menri Trizen Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen Rinpoche, “Gekhö Sangwa Drakchen, The Fierce, Secret Gekhö.” This retreat will conclude on the 29th lunar day, October 8th 2018.

The tantric cycle of Gekhö contains 360 deities, and within the cycle of the Father Tantras he is the manifestation of enlightened quality within the Five Supreme Embodiments. (See previous post: https://ravencypresswood.com/2016/06/05/the-five-supreme-embodiments/

He was the deity of the ancient land of Zhang Zhung and his tantric practice was widespread throughout the realm. It is said that he originally descended upon the sacred mountain of Gang Tisé (aka Mount Kailash), and he and his retinue dwell there. However, even though there is a close association with an earthly abode, he is not a worldly guardian. Rather, he is the embodiment of enlightened energy that manifests as a meditational deity and enlightened protector for the practitioners of Yungdrung Bön. The epithet “Gekhö” in the Zhang Zhung language means “demon tamer.”

“In order to lead those who have not gained realization, Walchen Gekhö possesses the Five Bodies and the Five Primordial Wisdoms. Through the truth of pacification, and through these forceful, wrathful means, those who are untamed will be tamed.” ~From the Essence Practice of the Fierce Champion, Zhang Zhung Meri

One manifestation of Gekhö is Zhang Zhung Meri. This yidam deity is closely associated with the dzogchen practice of the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyü, The Aural Transmission of Zhang Zhung. The practice of dzogchen is, by definition, perfected and beyond needing to apply any methods to develop it. However, because the practitioners of dzogchen have not yet fully realized this primordial perfection, the deity Zhang Zhung Meri offers protection and support.

Translation and copyright Raven Cypress Wood ©2018 All Rights Reserved

Ritual for Communal Harmony and Prosperity


Murig Geshe Nyima Kunchap Rinpoche leads a Sherap Jamma ritual for the Yungdrung Bon community in the Dolpo capital of Dunai, Nepal. Photo credit: Unknown.

Complete Victory Over Negativity

Shenrap Nampar Gyalwa

At Tashi Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India, the 22nd-29th of the 6th Tibetan month (Western date August 4th-10th 2018), is the time for the practice of Shenrap Nampar Gyalwa. This is the wrathful form of the founder of the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, the enlightened Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché. In order to protect the construction of a temple, he spontaneously manifested as Nampar Gyalwa, the Completely Victorious One. See previous post: https://ravencypresswood.com/2016/12/25/buddha-tonpa-shenraps-eighth-deed-the-deed-of-being-completely-victorious/

As one of the nine foundational practices in the Yungdrung Bön tradition, practitioners will recite the mantra of Nampar Gyalwa, known as the 100-syllable mantra, 100,000 times while imagining the purification of all negativity of the three times including every action of body, speech, and mind arising from anger, greed, jealousy, pride, and ignorance.

Cycles of the Elements and Time: The Namchu Wangden

The symbol for The Ten-fold Powerful One, the Namchu Wangden.

The Namchu Wangden, or The Ten-fold Powerful One, is a symbol of great protection within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition. It contains the seed syllables for seven hundred and twenty deities.

According to an explanation written by the 23rd Menri Trizin Nyima Tenzin Rinpoche:

“From the tantra, The Cycle of the Elements and Time, found within the 100,000 glorious scriptures of the indestructible, great vehicle, is this ten columns and nine letters of the Namchu Wangden, which contains the seed syllables of Enlightened Mind. AH is the seed syllable for Yungdrung Yéwang Gyalpo, the earth deities, their body color is golden. YANG is the seed syllable for Kündrol Yingjuk, the wind deities, and they are green in color. RAM  is the seed syllable for Künrik Barwa, the fire deities, and they are red in color. MANG is the seed syllable for Künjom Gyalpo, the water deities, and they are blue in color. KHAM is the seed syllable for Kündü Chenpo, the iron deities, and they are white in color. DRUM is the seed syllable for the immeasurable tent of protection, and the four nyémjé ma, and they are golden in color. HUNG is the seed syllable for the queens of the four times at the inner door. At the middle door, are the four guardians. At the outer door, are four fierce ones who are dark-blue in color. OM on the right,*  is the seed syllable for the grandfather of primordial, phenomenal existence, Sangpo Bumtri and the Four Families, and they are white in color. DU on the left,* is the seed syllable for the four mothers of cause and the eight shen, and they are golden-red in color. In brief, this symbol includes the seed syllables for the seven hundred and twenty deities of the Five Families. It is said that the Namchu Wangden destroys all fear!”

*Right and left are according to the point of view of the object not the subject.

The Namchu Wangden of Yungdrung Bon being consecrated in Amdo, Tibet. Photo credit: Unknown.

Displaying this image protects from destruction by the five elements, as well as protects the life-force, health, personal power and lungta.  It gives protection from the eight classes of beings, as well as from astrologically negative events. Traditionally, this image is placed at the entrance to the home as a means of protection. In modern times, the Namchu Wangden protection amulet is commonly placed in cars as well.

Protective amulet, or sung khor, of the Namchu Wangden. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

Tibetan Translation Raven Cypress Wood©2018

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