Category Archives: Prayer and Ritual

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

Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

Don’t want to miss a post? Scroll to the bottom and click “Follow this blog.”

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

The Indestructible Yungdrung Bön

Yungdrung Bon monks performing a ritual. Photo credit: Unknown.

“Like the sun rising at dawn, through uncontrollable power, may the teachings of Yungdrung Bön spread!”

From A Storehouse of Treasure, The Main Practice of Blue Dzambhala

Translation: Raven Cypress Wood

Removing Obstacles from the Path: Gift Translation

The wisdom deity, Shenlha Ökar, embodies all of the perfected qualities and represents the unification of all lamas.

 

Within the Yungdrung Bön tradition, the practice of the Bar Che Lam Sel, or Removing Obstacles from the Path, is a powerful method for removing any kind of obstacle being experienced by the practitioner. From the notation within the text,

By reciting this “Spontaneous Wish-fulfillment of Removing Obstacles from the Path” a single time, obstacles of an entire year are pacified. By reciting it one hundred times, obstacles of one lifetime are pacified.” 

One does not need transmission or instruction in order to recite this prayer. However, if the practitioner is able to receive the oral transmission from a qualified Yungdrung Bön lama, the benefit of the prayer is greatly multiplied. Making a commitment to recite the prayer before a sacred image or shrine, and then fulfilling that commitment, increases the power of the practice by virtue of having fulfilled a sacred commitment. The prayer can be recited at any time, but especially during any experience of problems or obstacles, when starting a business or important endeavor, and during an astrologically calculated “obstacle year” which, according to Tibetan astrology, occurs during the ages of 1, 9, 13, 25, 37, 49, 61, 73 and 81. The prayer can also be taken as a daily practice, or recited for the benefit of others and dedicated to their release from obstacles.

This translation is offered to all Yungdrung Bön practitioners for their personal use. A link to download the pdf can be found at the end of this article. May we all be free from obstacles and have positive circumstances that support our continual spiritual practice and development!

The Google Doc link below will provide access to download the pdf of the translation.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1k65MU4_CAr1cTYE6ULizZd8dLKMqUcHV

 

May Everyone have Success and Prosperity!



Within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, the powerful wealth deities act to protect and increase the success, wealth, merit, health, and positive circumstances of Yungdrung Bön practitioners. Kubera, also known as Blue Dzambhala or Dzam Ngön, is one of these wealth deities. Along with propitiation and mantra recitation, Kubera is offered sang, smoke purification and offering, in the morning, and torma in the evening.

“In the midst of a mound of many kinds of wish-fulfilling jewels, and seated upon a magically emanated turquoise-colored horse, is the miraculously born Kubera.  His body is a brilliant, dark-blue color.  He wears a helmet of crystal upon his head, and a coat of armor upon his body.  In his right hand, he lifts a golden sword that rains down precious things, and clears away obstacles for Bön practitioners.  In his left hand, he holds a mongoose.  From the mouth of the mongoose, precious jewels overflow and come forth. Without exception, he clears away the suffering and misery of poverty for all sentient beings.  Above his right and left shoulders, two iron hawks soar and circle overhead.  Two tigers leap in front of him, and behind, two lions run.  His inner retinue consists of one hundred-thousand deities who resemble him, and his outer retinue consists of millions of deities who surround him.”

~From A Storehouse of Treasure, the Main Practice of Blue Dzambhala

According to the Yungdrung Bön religious calendar, the lunar dates each month that are specified for Kubera propitiation and practice are: 4, 8, 11, 13, 15,17, 27, and 30.

Tibetan translation by Raven Cypress Wood ©2015 All Rights Reserved

Offering Light

“So that I, and all other sentient beings without exception, may purify obscurations, perfect the accumulations, and look upon the divine face of the deity, I present this victory banner of butter lamps to the assembly of external and internal peaceful and wrathful deities who have gone beyond bliss.

Performing mainly for our kind mothers and fathers, who are the sentient beings within the three realms of cyclic existence, and with compassion for those in the realm of the bardo, having purified all negative actions, karmic potentialities and defilements, may they be liberated from the places within the six realms of cyclic existence!  May they reach the Five Families of Those who have gone beyond bliss!”

From Raising a Victory Banner of Butter Lamps found within The Tantra of the Assembly of Peaceful and Wrathful Deities.

Tibetan translation by Raven Cypress Wood ©2017

New Book Announcement

SO DRUM AH KAR MU LA TING NAM Ö DU MU YÉ TSÉ NI DZA

~Essence mantra of the deity of longevity, Lama Tséwang Rikdzin

In the Yungdrung Bön tradition, the longevity practice of Lama Tséwang Rikdzin is foremost among the many longevity practices within the religious tradition. Indestructible: The Longevity Practice of Lama Tséwang Rikdzin by Raven Cypress Wood contains the English translation of the longevity practice of Lama Tséwang Rikdzin from the Tséwang Jarima Chok Dü scripture. From the foreword written by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche:

“The wisdom of Tséwang Rikdzin and the practices associated with this teaching can help us retrieve, extend, and enhance our life force: healing environmental, physical, emotional, and energetic imbalances in our lives. Strengthening and extending our lifespan provides more time for our spiritual development and for serving and benefiting other sentient beings.”

The Tibetan syllable NI, the syllable of a human being, and support for the vital life force. Calligraphy by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.

Lama Tséwang Rikdzin is the embodiment of the Five Buddha Families and can therefore bestow any quality or wisdom that is needed.  In this particular practice, the attainment of longevity, physical health, vitality, and a complete and healthy soul are emphasized.

“Lama Tséwang Rikdzin is a tülku whose heart emanations are sent forth throughout the ten directions. He has power over longevity and protects the lifespan and prosperity of all practitioners.”

Excerpt from ‘Indestructible: The Longevity Practice of Lama Tséwang Rikdzin”

This book is suitable for both those familiar and those unfamiliar with the practice. It includes information regarding the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, Lama Tséwang Rikdzin, and the root text which contains the longevity practice. The book is available as a hardback edition with color images and text, or a black and white paperback edition.  It can purchased through the Sacred Sky Press online store at: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/SacredSky

“We pray for the mending of all of our lifespan that has been torn.

We pray to be reunited with all of our lifespan that has been separated from us.

We pray for all of our lifespan that has been dispersed to be gathered back together.

May our prosperity and our lifespan be deathless and indestructible!”

Excerpt from ‘Indestructible: The Longevity Practice of Lama Tséwang Rikdzin”

The Thirteen Bön Activities

Offering prostrations before His Eminence Menri Ponlop Yangton Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche. Photo credit: Lee Hartline.

The Thirteen Bön Activities:

  1. Writing the syllables
  2. Reading sacred books
  3. Reciting the scriptures
  4. Turning the wheel of Bön
  5. Presenting offerings and prostrations
  6. Stopping ordinary speech and maintaining silence
  7. Reflecting upon the meaning of the words
  8. Listening to the sacred teachings for one’s self
  9. Teaching the sacred teachings for others
  10. Meditating upon the actual meaning
  11. Practicing towards a goal
  12. Exerting one’s self in performing virtuous activity
  13. Exerting one’s self with the causes to obtain a precious human body

Engaging with these activities is a practice of the two accumulations of merit and wisdom.

Selection of the New 34th Menri Trizin

Offerings to the Religious Protectors of Yungdrung Bon. Photo Credit: Menri Monastery

After lengthy consultation with His Eminence Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, the selection process for the 34th Menri Trizin began on the 1st day of the 11th lunar month, December 19th 2017, at Menri Monastery under the direction of His Eminence Menri Lopon Yangton Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche. In general, every Yungdrung Bön geshe is an eligible candidate. However, due to the current difficult situation, it has been decided that only those candidates outside of Tibet are eligible. If for any reason, an eligible geshe does not want to be considered as a candidate, he is free to withdraw his name by contacting the monastery. After these considerations, there were approximately sixty names of eligible candidates.

Names of candidates. Photo credit: Menri Monastery

On December 19th, Menri Lopön Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche, Triten Norbutse Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche, as well as other exalted professors and administrative members wrote each candidate’s name onto a small piece of paper, and placed that paper inside of a ball of tsampa dough, which was then dried in the sun. Each of these balls of tsampa dough were placed into two separate vases, and sealed with wax. These vases were placed in the protector temple and will remain there while lengthy prayers and offerings are made to the religious protectors in order to invoke their wisdom.

Prayers and rituals being performed. Photo credit: Menri Monastery

On December 21st, many prayers and offerings were made in order to remove all obstacles and hindrances. On December 22nd, the main rituals began which will take six days to complete. The majority of the monastic community will be performing the One Hundred Thousand Offerings to Sipé Gyalmo in the main temple. Simultaneously, there will also be offerings and prayers to the main yidam of the Menri Trizin, Purba, at the Menri Trizin lama residence by a smaller group of monks.

Yungdrung Bon monks praying in the main temple of Menri Monastery. Photo credit: Menri Monastery.

On the morning of December 27th, His Eminence Menri Lopön Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche will shake the first vase until a ball of tsampa dough comes forth. Then, he will similarly shake the second vase until a ball of tsampa dough comes forth. These two balls of dough, each containing a candidate’s name inside, will then be placed into a vase. Another five days of offerings and prayers to the religious protectors will commence.

Notice and schedule of ritual events posted at Menri Monastery. Photo credit: Khedup Gyatso.

On the morning of January 1st, the vase containing the two names will be shaken in front of the sacred image of Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche in the main temple by His Eminence Menri Lopön Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche. The tsampa dough that emerges will contain the name of the 34th Menri Trizin. This traditional process is known as Lha Sung Den Tarwa, Requesting the Religious Protectors to Reveal the Truth.

During this time, it has been requested that the worldwide Yungdrung Bön family offer prayers and aspirations for the selection of the 34th Menri Trizin.

Offering Light

Offering light at Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India. Photo credit: Unknown.

Presenting Offerings and Accumulating Merit

The Thousand Offerings to Nampar Gyalwa. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

To all Those who have gone beyond bliss and their retinues,

who have the nature of the unborn and unceasing sky

and who have the un-arisen characteristics of the natural state of the mind,

with their countless, billions of emanations,

each unwavering from the ultimate state of great bliss,

and inexpressible beyond visualization and recitation,

prostrating and praising,

I present these offerings to You!

~ Excerpt from Presenting the Five Offerings.

Translated from the Tibetan by Raven Cypress Wood ©2017 All Rights Reserved

Offering Devotion and Receiving Blessings

His Eminence Yangton Menri Lopon Rinpoche presents the butter lamp offering.

On November 4, 2017, on the 15th day of the 9th Tibetan month, Tashi Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India held memorial events to mark the 49th day after the passing into liberation of the 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoche. By invitation of His Eminence Menri Lopon Trinley Nyima Rinpoche, the tulkus, professors, geshes, and monks assembled in the temple. There, before the precious cremation bones, ash and relics of the 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoche, with a feeling of intense longing, they prostrated and recited the Prayer to the Victor Bön, His Holiness Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoche.

L-Holy cremation ash C-Holy ringsel R-Holy cremation bone

Following that, the Praise of the Twelve Deeds of Shenrap Miwo Künlé Nampar Gyalwa was recited. Having formally presented the precious cremation bones, ash and relics to His Eminence Menri Lopon Rinpoche, he gifted each member of the monastic community with the actual accomplishment of the support for blessings, a majestic and empowered cremation bone.

Nuns of Menri perform the Tsewang Bo Yulma Tsok.

In the afternoon, the Menri community of nuns gathered and performed the Feast Offering of the Tséwang Bö Yulma. During this time, other monastic colleges within Menri Monastery performed various practices and rituals as well. Later, everyone gathered outside in the courtyard and again recited the Praise of the Twelve Deeds and the Prayer to His Holiness Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoche.

L-Cremation tsa tsa containing holy cremation bone. R-Public receiving a tsa tsa.

From then until midnight, both the monastic community and the public offered butter lamps, prostrations, and circumambulated the lama residence where the 33rd Menri Trizin had lived. At midnight, the public were invited to come before HE Menri Lopon Rinpoche and to receive a holy tsa tsa containing a majestic cremation bone inside. All of these holy relics, which are imbued with extraordinary power, are objects of support for the faithful to receive unlimited blessings and to develop profound devotion.

The Yungdrung Bon community chanting in the courtyard.

Once everyone had received a holy tsa tsa, they gathered outside where HE Menri Lopon Rinpoche led the presentation of the five offerings, the recitation of Offerings to the Lama, and the Prayer to His Holiness Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoche.

Sacred Ground

Yungdrung Bon lamas preparing the mandala base of a Nampar Gyalwa Fire Offering. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

May the Wheel of the Yungdrung Bön Turn Forever!

Monks at Menri Monastery during the commemoration time for His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizen Rinpoche. Photo credit: Unknown

 

%d bloggers like this: