Category Archives: Preservation

A Rich Tradition: Barlé Gonpa

Murig Geshe Nyima Kunchap bestowing an empowerment of longevity at Barle Gompa 2018. Photo credit: Unknown.

A twenty minute walk from the village of Barlé in Dolpo, Nepal is the Barlé gonpa called Yungdrung Shuk Tsal Ling. The main part of the temple located next to the lama residence is said to be over 500 years old. The surrounding area is very green in Summer and the village residents rely heavily upon agriculture. Although the village is a mix of both Bön and Buddhist families, they visit each other’s temples and sacred sites.

Left: Barle Rinpoche Right: Barle Rinpoche with Geshe Kunchap Rinpoche

The Barlé gonpa was renovated by the father of Barlé Lama Tsukphü Gyaltsen, who assisted in the work. Although most of the Barlé lamas have been ngakpas, or householder lamas, Barlé Lama Tsukphü Gyaltsen did not want to follow this lifestyle and instead received monk’s vows at the age of eighteen. He traveled to Samling and stayed there for three years. He received teachings and initiations from Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche as well as from Sangye Tenzin Rinpoche. Eventually, he returned to the village of Barlé and immediately began to look for a proper place for secluded meditation.

The cave hermitage of Barle Rinpoche. Photo credit: Geshe Nyima Kunchap

A thirty minutes walk from the gonpa, up a steep cliff, he found the spot that he was looking for. The nearby rock formation naturally resembled a chorten and there was a stone painting of the enlightened Lord Tönpa Shenrap nearby. Here, he began to construct Drak Gön hermitage, literally “Stone Temple Hermitage.” The first part was completed in 1962. For thirty years, from 1970-2000, he remained in retreat at the hermitage. On the 27th lunar day of the 4th month in the Western year 2000, his outward breath stopped. His body remained in the five-fold meditation posture for three full days.

Recently erected chorten overlooking Barle village. Photo credit: Geshe Nyima Kunchap.

After the passing of Barlé Rinpoche, his nephew Lama Lhakpa assumed the duties of the main lama of Barlé. He was a householder and lived in the lama residence. He unexpectedly passed away in 2015 and his son took up the duties of being the village lama.

Murig Geshe Nyima Kunchap Rinpoche with the residents of Barle at the newly erected chorten. Photo credit: Unknown

Both a relative and student of Barlé Lama Tsukphü Gyaltsen Rinpoche, Murig Geshe Nyima Kunchap Rinpoche was born in the village of Barlé. At the age of eight, he began learning the Tibetan language and thangkha painting. At the age of fourteen, he learned to make torma and practiced the ngondro, or foundational practices. Strongly wanting to become a monk, he left the village of Barlé and made his way to India where he received renunciate vows from HH 33rd Menri Trizen Rinpoche and HE Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche. Completing his studies in the dialectic program, he received his doctorate of Geshe in 1994. Subsequently, he worked as the Bön department chairmen at the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Varanasi. He founded and acted as president of the Dolpo Bon Society and founded the Dolpo Bon School for girls and boys. Although he travels worldwide teaching and performing rituals of the Yungdrung Bön tradition, he regularly returns to the village of Barlé. Most recently, he personally sponsored the construction of a sacred chorten in the village. (See previous post: https://ravencypresswood.com/2018/07/21/a-chorten-for-barle-village/) In these ways, he continues to preserve and expand the rich Yungdrung Bön traditions of his lineage for the benefit of the Barlé residents, and beyond.

Geshe Kunchap Rinpoche leading the consecration ritual for the newly erected chorten in Barle village. Photo credit: Unknown

The tulku of Barlé Rinpoche was recognized at an early age in the village of Barlé. He naturally showed the signs of being familiar with the life of his previous incarnation, Barlé Lama Tsukphü Gyaltsen Rinpoche.

Barle Tulku, Tsewang Rigdzin Gyaltsen. Photo credit: Unknown

Although a difficult decision for his mother, she agreed to have him go to Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India in order to receive the proper training.Geshe Nyima Kunchap has taken personal responsibility to ensure his well being and education.

Geshe Nyima Kunchap Rinpoche and Tulku Tsewang Rigdzin Gyaltsen. Photo credit: Unknown.

 

A Chorten for Barlé Village

Chorten in Barle Village Dolpo, Nepal. Photo credit: Geshe Nyima Kunchap Rinpoche.

In the village of Barlé located in Dolpo, Nepal and approximately 185 miles from Kathmandu, a new Yungdrung Bön chorten (Sanskrit: stupa) has been erected by Murig Geshe Nyima Künchap as a gift to the village residents. The chorten is located near the Barlé gompa. From July 22nd to July 28th, Geshe Künchap Rinpoche will perform the full consecration of the chorten.

Inside Barle stupa. Photo credit: Geshe Nyima Kunchap Rinpoche

Inside the chorten above the doorways, it is ornately painted with sacred Yungdrung Bön images. In the four directions, are the Four Principal Enlightened Ones: Satrik Érsang, Shenlha Ökar, Sangpo Bumtri, and Tönpa Shenrap. As is traditional, each of these enlightened ones is surrounded by two hundred fifty Buddhas for a total of one thousand Buddhas. (For more information about the Four Principle Enlightened Ones, see previous post: https://ravencypresswood.com/2016/08/20/the-four-principal-enlightened-ones/ ) On the ceiling above are nine mandalas whose purpose is to act as an appropriate dwelling place for the related enlightened qualities. In the center is the mandala of the Sutra of the Indestructible Vast Expanse (Tib. mdo g.yung drung klong rgyas). Then, beginning in the East (middle left) and continuing counter-clockwise, are the mandalas of: The Peaceful AH that Clears (Tib: zhi ba a gsal),  Red Garuda (Tib: khyung dmar), The Stages of Walsé (Tib. dbal gsas las rim), the Great Mother Jamma (Tib: rgyal yum byams ma), Complete Space (Tib: Kun dyings), the Precious Lamp of the MA TRI (Tib: ma tri rin chen sgron ma), Shenrap Nampar Gyalwa (Tib: gshen rab rnam rgyal), and The Lamp that Purifies Obscurations and Removes the Darkness (Tib: sgrib sbyong mun sel sgron ma).

Geshe Kunchap preparing a ritual palace for the lu spirits. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

Murig Geshe Nyima Künchap Rinpoche was born in the village of Barlé and spent many years as a student of his root lama, Barlé Rinpoche. In 1982, he received ordination as a monk from HH 33rd Menri Trizen and HE Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche. In 1994, after many years of rigorous study, he received his geshe degree from Menri Monastery. He is a master of sutra, tantra, and dzogchen. However, he is considered a ritual specialist. Of the 360 rituals given by the Enlightened Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche, it is believed that only 68 remain. Geshe Künchap Rinpoche holds the transmission, empowerment, and teaching for each of these 68 rituals.

Murig Geshe Nyima Kunchap Rinpoche. Photo credit: Unknown

Raven Cypress Wood ©2018

In the Language of Zhang Zhung: MU RA TA HEN

The Zhang Zhung language was a written and spoken language which predates the Tibetan language. In ancient times, the Yungdrung Bön scriptures were translated from Zhang Zhung into Tibetan, as well as many other language such as Chinese and Sanskrit.

There remains examples of the Zhang Zhung language throughout the texts. This Zhang Zhung language reference to Tönpa Shenrap Miwo, Buddha and founder of the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, occurs twice within the commonly practiced one hundred syllable mantra.

The Five Divine Families of Bon

Within the Yungdrung Bön tradition, there are five ancient family lineages that are said to have originated with the gods and whose descendants have made profound contributions to the preservation and continuation of the Yungdrung Bön tradition throughout history.  These Five Divine Families of Bön are the lineages of Mu-Shen, Dru, Pa, Zhu, and Me’u.

The two sons of the Shen lineage who are direct descendants of the Lord Tonpa Shenrap

Foremost among these is the lineage of Mu-Shen, the lineage of Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche founder of the Yungdrung Bön tradition.  His father was Mugyal Gyalbön Tökar, King of the Mu clan.  Because Lord Shenrap introduced the Yungdrung Bön tradition, he was the first and the most high Shenrap or lama.  Therefore, this began the Lineage of Shen.  Much later in history, the descendants relocated to the area of Tsang in Tibet and became known as Shen-Tsang.  These direct descendants of Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche continue to this very day.  See previous post: https://ravencypresswood.com/2015/03/19/direct-descendants-of-the-enlightened-lord-tonpa-shenrap-miwoche/

Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India. The original monastery of Yeru Wensaka was founded by the Dru family lineage.

The lineage of the royal Dru has two main branches: Sa Dru and Nam Dru.  From the branch of the Nam Dru, the essence of all Enlightened Beings in the form of Özer Dangden descended from the celestial realm of Ogmin in order to benefit sentient beings.  Perceiving that a demon was causing great harm to human beings in the area of Tibet, he magically rode upon his drum and was guided by a priest of the Yangton lineage.  The king of Togar felt great faith in him and asked that he be given a meaningful name.  Therefore, he was given the name Drusha Namse Chitol.  He was called ‘Dru’ because he descended from the celestial realms.  Drusha Namse Chitol went on to subdue the demon and convert all of his companions to the practice of virtue.   One of the esteemed descendants of this lineage was Dru Gyalwa Yungdrung (1242-1290 A.D.) who composed the practice manual for the Dzogchen teachings of the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyü.  The Dru family founded many monasteries including the first organized monk college of Yeru Wensaka in 1012.  It was destroyed by a massive flood in 1386, but rebuilt in 1402 by Nyamme Sherap Gyaltsen and renamed Menri Monastery.  After the Chinese destruction of this monastery in modern times, Menri Monastery was rebuilt in Dolanji, India.

However, the Dru family’s influence and contribution in the Bön tradition have all but disappeared due to the recognition of two Panchen lamas in the family.  The first, Pachen Lozang Yeshe 1663-1737, was recognized by the Fifth Dalai Lama as a way to establish the reincarnation lineage of Panchen lamas.  At the same time, the Fifth Dalai Lama encouraged the family to continue to practice their own religion.  When the second reincarnation, Panchen Tenpa’i Wangchuk, was recognized within the same family lineage, the Dru family seat was incorporated into the estate of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, the traditional monastery of the Panchen lamas.

Yungdrung Bon monks during a festival at Pa Tsang Monastery

The lineage of the holy Pa began with Lha Bu Pa Wa who was the son of Sangpo Bumtri, one of the Four Transcendent Lords of Yungdrung Bön.  He descended to the god realm and turned the wheel of Bön.  From there, he descended into the land of Zhang Zhung and went to a crystal cave on Mt. Tisé (Mt. Kailash) where he meditated upon the yidam Zhang Zhung Meri for three years.  There are many esteemed lamas in this lineage including the Thirteen Excellent Pa Lamas who were located in Western Tibet.  Later, their descendants migrated to the Amdo area of Eastern Tibet in the region of the Hor Ye Tha clan.  Here, the Pa Tsang Monastery, formally known as Pa Tsang Gön Yungdrung Rabten Ling, was established in 1847 by Patön Yungdrung Namzang.  The monastery contains many murals of Yungdrung Bön deities and protectors.  Presently, the monks of Pa Tsang Gön are known for their expertise in their twice annual sacred cham dances.

One of the most renowned descendants of the Zhu family lineage is the holy lama Zhu Ye Lekpo.  Born into the divine Zhu family, he heard of the Great Shen who had discovered Bön texts and who was the catalyst for a resurgence of the Yungdrung Bön tradition.  This Great Shen was Shenchen Luga.  Zhu Ye Lekpo went to Shenchen Luga and requested teachings.  Shenchen Luga tested his faith by having him act as an attendant for eight years before giving him any teachings or transmissions.  However, Zhu Ye Lekpo became Shenchen Luga’s main disciple and responsible for the dzogchen teachings and practice.  He founded Ri Zhing Monastery in the eleventh century.  This monastery became very famous.  At one time, the Tibetan government donated to it more than a dozen estates and it housed over three hundred monks.  It was completely destroyed during the Chinese cultural revolution.  In the 1980’s, members of the Zhu family began restoring one of the hermitages connected with the monastery.  The descendants of the Zhu family now live in India.

Teacher of the Me'u Lineage, The Saint, The Supreme Gongdzo Ritropa

Teacher of the Me’u Lineage, The Saint, The Supreme Gongdzo Ritropa

The lineage of the Me’u family began with another descendant of Sangpo Bumtri who descended from the god realm and had two sons: the first was called Ma and the second was called Me’u.  Me’u had a son who exhibited many miraculous signs and among his descendants in the divine Me’u lineage is The Saint, Gongdzo Ritropa 1038-1096, founder of the dzogchen lineage of A Tri.  Although he was married at a young age, he was able to leave married life and devote himself completely to spiritual practice.  See previous post: https://ravencypresswood.com/2014/06/27/the-saint-founder-of-the-lineage-the-guidance-of-ah/

Throughout history, these Five Families of Bön have had a profound impact on the continuation of the Yungdrung Bön tradition in countless ways including ensuring the continuation of teaching and lama lineages, building monasteries and hermitages, and in the commission of creating statues, murals, thangkhas and the printing of texts.

All Rights Reserved ©Raven Cypress Wood

 

Future Scholars

Children reading texts at the Yungdrung Bon Monastery School in Sikkim

The Language of Zhang Zhung

Fire puja offerings photo Geshe Kunchap 2014 11These boards with mantras written in gold were created in order to be offered during the fire ritual of the Yungdrung Bön tradition,   These mantras are written using the ancient Zhang Zhung script.

Discovery from an Ancient Kingdom

gzi found in Ngari region of Western Tibet

Zi bead found in Western Tibet. Photo credit: Unknown

Recently, an archaeology professor working in the Ngari region of Western Tibet, South of the Ganges River, discovered an ancient zi from a gravesite. This was the area of the ancient kingdom of Zhang Zhung.

The original article can be read in full at the Himalaya Bon Tibetan language website: http://himalayabon.com/news/2015-04-10/574.html

Iconography: Defining Space

Illustration from the book “Tibetan Thangkha Painting, Methods & Materials” by David & Janice Jackson

Before the artist begins sketching out the images that will appear on the thangkha, they must first determine the division of space on the canvas.  First, by using chalk lines and a compass, the true center of the canvas must be found.  Second, both the horizontal and the vertical axis must be established.  In this way, the artist can allocate space to the images according to hierarchy and the number of images that need to be represented.

outline guide for center and 4 directions for thangkha

Diagram 1: Common positions when depicting a central image and 4 retinue

Diagram 2: Common positions when depicting a central image and 8 retinue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These diagrams show the most common designations of space although there are variations.  However, even with variations, the position of the retinue in relation to one another remains the same.  The retinue are positioned according to their association with the directions.  In the text, the detail of the deities position begins with the center and is then listed the Bön way, or counter-clockwise, beginning with the East.  Referencing the diagrams above: 1=Center, 2=East, 3=North, 4=West, 5=South, 6=Southeast, 7=Northeast, 8=Northwest, and 9=Southwest.  Most often, but not always, the deities are the color associated with the direction.  East=yellow, North=green, West=red and South=blue.

The Deities of the Five Buddha Families

Here, the deities of the Five Buddha Families are positioned according to diagram 1 above.  In the center is the Enlightened One, Künang Kyapa and consort.  In the east is the Enlightened One, Salwa Rangjung and consort.  In the north is the Enlightened One, Gélha Garchuk and consort.  In the west is the Enlightened One, Jedrak Ngomé and consort.  And in the south is the Enlightened One, Gawa Döndrup and consort.

Direct Descendants of the Enlightened Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché

Over 18, 000 years ago, in the ancient realm of Olmo Lungrik, the founder of the Yungdrung Bön spiritual tradition was born.  The enlightened Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche was born into the human realm as a prince.  He later adopted the life as a monastic in order to display the path of renunciation to his followers.  However, prior to this, he was married and had sons and daughters.  The direct descendants of this Shen lineage have continued until this very day.  Currently, there are two sons who are direct descendants of Lord Tönpa Shenrap.

Heir to the Shen Lineage, Tsukpu Namdrol Rinpoche, during a visit to the Yungdrung Bon monastery of Gangru Dargye located in Khyungpo, Tibet

Lamas of the Shen lineage

The two sons of the Shen lineage who are direct descendants of the Lord Tonpa Shenrap.

In November of 2014, His Holiness, the supreme 33rd Menri Trizen Lungtok Tenpé Nyima offered prayers to both descendants.

Shen Tsukpu Namdrol Rinpoche

Shen Tsukpu Namdrol Gyaltsen Rinpoche

prayer to Shen Tsukpu namdrol Gyaltsen written by 33 Menri trizen 2

Prayer of Stability for the Shen Heir, the Supreme Tsukpu Namdrol Gyaltsen

EMAHO!

Highest praise for the best of crown ornaments,

   Storehouse of the ocean of sutra, tantra and unsurpassed division of teachings,

From the proper understanding of the profound meaning of the innermost essence,

May the victory banner of liberation and realization be established!

Murik Shen Yungdrung Nyima

Murik Shen Yungdrung Rangdrol Nyima Rinpoche

Shen prayer to Yungdrung Nyima

Prayer for the Shen Heir, the Supreme Murik Shen Yungdrung Rangdrol Nyima

EMAHO!

Essence of the king of doctrines, the supreme Yungdrung Bön,

Distilled essence of the teachings of renunciation, transformation and liberation,

Having raised a stronghold through the dynamic energy of self-liberated awareness,

May the sun disc of realization and liberation eternally appear!

Composed by 33rd Menri Trizen Luntok Tenpé Namdak Rinpoche on the Western date of 11/26/2014

Translated by Raven Cypress Wood

The original article first appeared on the Tibetan language website Himalayan Bön and can be viewed here: http://www.himalayabon.com/article/poem/2015-01-02/518.html

Sacred Scripture

This old, illustrated scripture begins with the phrase, “In the language of the sacred Yungdrung…”

The Illustrated Scripture

Illustration of the Supreme Deity Sangpo Bumtri from an old Yungdrung Bon text

Sipa Sangpo Bumtri, Deity of Phenomenal Existence, is one of the Four Transcendent Lords of the Yungdrung Bön.  The other three are The Great Deity Shenlha Ökar, The Great Mother of Space Satrik Ersang and Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche.  These Four Deities are traditionally displayed together in every Yungdrung Bön temple and are often surrounded by the 1,000 Enlightened Beings.

Consecrating a Sacred image

statue with group photo of lamas

On September 1, 2014 in Amdo, Tibet, an official consecration ceremony was held for the newly erected statue of the Lord of the teachings, the Great Lama Drenpa Namkha.  The sacred image was erected at the Yungdrung Bön monastery of Gamal Gomchen which is the largest in the area.  The consecration was performed by the great abbot Sherap Yungdrung Wangyal Rinpoche, Ponlop Menri Geshe Sherap Tharchin, the supreme tulku of Dangri Do Ngak Shedrup Gyaltsen and many other lamas and monks from the five main monasteries and the thirteen branch monasteries.  Additionally, there were many well known and respected Yungdrung Bön practitioners present.

The supreme tulku of Dangri Do Ngak Shedrup Gyaltsen

The sacred statue was erected by the supreme tulku of Dangri, Do Ngak Shedrup Gyaltsen, for universal benefit and especially for the benefit of the Amdo region.  This is the first time that such a statue of the Great Lama Drenpa Namkha has been erected in this area of Tibet.

Official Consecration Ceremony for the Sacred Image of Lachen Drenpa Namkha

The sacred image was empowered with countless sacred and blessed objects from knowledge holders and superior beings of the past from both Zhang Zhung and Tibet.  In particular, these countless sacred objects included a collection of objects of support for enlightened Body, Speech, and Mind from the great masters of this area of Amdo.

Countless blessed and sacred items to be placed inside the sacred image

The original article appeared on the Tibetan language website Himalayan Bon.  You can read the full article and see more photos by following the link:http://www.himalayabon.com/news/2014-09-05/451.html#jtss-fb

 

The Next Generation

young monks in Sikkim learning to read

The Forty Magical Letters of Zhang Zhung

 Over 18,000 years ago, the founder of the Yungdrung Bon tradition was born into a human body and was known as the Supreme Shen, the Enlightened Teacher, Buddha Tonpa Shenrap Miwoche.  He had many students and his teachings flourished in the ancient kingdom called Zhang Zhung.

This ancient kingdom included what is now Western Tibet and the sacred Mount Tise, also known as Mount Kailash.  The Zhang Zhung language includes forty letters, and  according to Yungdrung Bön texts, these ‘Forty Magical Letters’ were taught by Tonpa Shenrap Miwo. The two standard scripts were called Zhang Zhung mar chen and Zhang Zhung mar chung, ‘excellent capital letters of Zhang Zhung’ and ‘excellent lesser letters of Zhang Zhung.’ 

Zhang Zhung mar chen and mar chung samples

Above, a sample of Zhang Zhung mar chen. Below, a sample of Zhang Zhung mar chung. Both have the corresponding Tibetan script underneath. (Zhang Zhung fonts from the website: himalayabon.com)

The divine words of the Buddha Tonpa Shenrap were written down using this script.  Due to the murder of King Ligmincha of Zhang Zhung by king Trisong Detsen of Tibet in the 8th century, the Zhang Zhung kingdom fell and the power and influence of Tibet increased.  Therefore, the Zhang Zhung script was transformed and called ‘Tibetan’.  According to the ‘Far-reaching Lamp of Clarity’:

“Mar chen was changed into [the formal Tibetan] u chen script, and mar chung was changed into informal script.”

A Yungdrung Bon ritual text begins a section with “According to the language of Zhang Zhung Mar…”

Today, the titles of many Yungdrung Bön texts are written in both the Zhang Zhung mar chen script as well as in the Tibetan script.  Additionally, many Zhang Zhung words are found within the texts and even significant section headings are given in both the Zhang Zhung and Tibetan language.

The title page from a Yundgrung Bon text with the title written in Zhang Zhung script above and Tibetan script underneath.

For more information regarding the Zhang Zhung language: (all English language sources)

  • The Light of Kailash Vol 1 and 2 by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
  • A Lexicon of ZhangZhung and Bonpo Terms edited by Yasuhiko Nagano & Samten Karmay
  • Zhang Zhung-Tibetan-English Contextual Dictionary by Namgyal Nyima

Birthday of the Head of the Yungdrung Bon

(Photo credit: Unknown)

July 12th is the celebrated birthday of His Holiness the 33rd Throne holder of Menri Monastery and Leader of all Yungdrung Bon, Lungtok Tenpe Nyima Rinpoche.  He was born in Amdo, Tibet in 1929.  At the age of 25, he received his Geshe degree.  The next year, he underwent the arduous task of traveling and collecting Yungdrung Bon scriptures in order to print copies and therefore preserve the ancient knowledge.  After that, he studied at the renowned Tibetan monasteries of Menri and Yungdrung Ling.  In 1959, he fled Tibet for Nepal.  Arriving at the ancient Bon monastery of Samling, he collected many of their rare texts and woodblocks in order to again print texts for the preservation of knowledge.  Eventually traveling to New Delhi, he worked with E. Gene Smith for the copying, printing and preserving of numerous Bon texts.  In 1962, he traveled to the University of London after having received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. During his time in London, a permanent camp for Bon refugees was established in Dolanji, India on land chosen by Yongdzin Tendzin Namdak Rinpoche.

In the mid 1960’s, he was living in Norway and working with the Tibetan scholar Per Kvaerne and teaching Tibetan history and religion at the University of Oslo.  It was while he was in Norway, that he learned that he had been chosen to become the 33rd Menri Trizen, or throne holder, of all Yungdrung Bon.  In 1969, he assumed his duties as Menri Trizen and began his tireless effort to rebuild the destroyed Menri Monastery of Tibet at the location in Dolanji. 

Currently, Menri Monastery has many temples, a library, a medical center, dormitories, and a nunnery.  In addition to the monks and nuns in residence, there are over 350 children living at the Bon Children’s Center who gives them an education as well as providing for all of their needs.  In all of these activities, His Holiness Lungtok Tenpe Nyima Rinpoche has worked with great effort and kindness in order to protect and strengthen the culture, knowledge and spiritual activities of the ancient tradition of the Yungdrung Bon.

Sacred Symbols

A young boy holds a wooden chakshing, symbol of Buddha Tonpa Shenrap Miwo

A young boy holds a wooden chakshing, symbol of Buddha Tonpa Shenrap Miwo

Teaching the Next Generation

Bon lama teaching Tib language from The Gatekeeper bookA Yungdrung Bön monk teaches the Tibetan letters to school children

In the Language of Zhang Zhung: The Letters

zhang zhung script 1

According to the Yungdrung Bön, sometime before the 2nd Tibetan king, the letters of the Tibetan alphabet were created from the letters of the ancient Zhang Zhung alphabet.  Yung Drung Bön was the state religion of the ancient country of Zhang Zhung and the texts were written in this language.  However, due to great persecution in the 7th century, the texts had to be hidden in order to protect them from being forever destroyed. During this time, the Zhang Zhung language almost became extinct.  However, there were a few Bön lamas who passed on their knowledge of this language.  As the scriptures were being copied into the Tibetan language, many of them preserved their titles and the first few lines of texts in the old language of Zhang Zhung.  This can be seen in the scriptures today.

OM in Zhang Zhung script Geshe Chaphur 2

Calligraphy of the Bön syllable OM in the Zhang Zhung script as drawn by Geshe Chaphur Lhundrup of Gyalshen Institute.  If you would like to purchase a calligraphy of this, or another syllable, contact Gyalshen.org.

Directly Manifesting Compassion

The children of Shurishing Yungdrung Kundrakling Monastery receive the donation of sports shoes from a kind sponsor

In South Sikkim, there is a Yungdrung Bön monastery with over 30 children.  Many of them are completely dependent upon the monastery to take care of their every need.  The abbot of this monastery is Khenpo Yongten Gyatso.

The children of Shurishing Yungdrung Kundrakling Monastery in South Sikkim

If you would like to know more about these children, the monastery, or how you can become a sponsor, please follow the link below.

http://www.rosaworldwide.ch/en/projects/sikkim-project.html

 

Ancient Printing Method

Woodblocks for printing texts

Woodblocks used for printing the sacred texts

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