Category Archives: Tibetan Lamas

5th Anniversary of the Parinirvana of H.H. the 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoché

On the 24th day of the 7th lunar month in the Western year 2017, His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoché displayed his realization by passing into nirvana from his physical body. In 2022, this date coincides with the Western calendar date September 19th. On this day, Yungdrung Bön religious centers worldwide will recognize this auspicious day with special prayers and rituals.

It is an especially auspicious day to recite the Tséwang Mönlam, Tséwang’s Precious Mala of Aspiration Prayers. The English translation of this prayer is freely and publicly available for private use on the Publications page of this website.

In accordance with the request of H.H. 34th Menri Trizin Rinpoche, a statue with the likeness of H.H. the 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpe Nyima Rinpoche was commissioned and has been newly installed at Menri Monastery in India.

His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoche traveled the world teaching and sharing his advice and wisdom. In this way, many Westerners were blessed with the experience of hearing the sacred teachings directly from the mouth of the holy teacher.

“It is important for you to feel grateful every day to the one who introduced you to the nature of mind. When you do a meditation you feel gratitude, blessings, and thankfulness, experiences of inspiration and devotion. It is not like your gratitude is benefitting the master. Rather, it is important in order for you to develop your practice. If you cannot do a form of guru yoga every day, then just before you are going to sleep, as you are going to bed, feel the blessings, gratitude, and joy and dissolve the master from the crown to the heart. Feel the master in your heart and go to sleep. You will have beter dreams and more peaceful sleep. When you wake up in the morning, those energies can come out from the top of the head, that liveliness, and you can have a better day. You can begin the right way.”

Extract from Living Wisdom: Dzogchen Teachings from the 33rd Menri Trizin, His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche published by Sacred Sky Press

This book can be published from Ligmincha International’s online store at this link: https://ligmincha.org/product/living-wisdom-dzogchen-teachings-from-the-33rd-menri-trizin-his-holiness-lungtok-tenpai-nyima-rinpoche/

Supplication Prayer to H.H. the 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoché

“The omniscient wisdom of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions is condensed into a single essence in you, Highest One.

You carry out the enlightened activities of spreading the vast and profound teachings of Tönpa Shenrap.

To you, Lungtok Tenpé Nyima, I supplicate and pray.”

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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88th Anniversary of the Parinirvana of Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche

Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche

The lunar 13th day of the 4th month is the anniversary of the parinirvana and the attainment of the rainbow body of Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche. In 2022, this date coincides with June 12th. Shardza Rinpoche was a Yungdrung Bön monk, teacher, scholar, and realized practitioner of the modern age. Born in 1859 in Kham, Tibet, at the age of nine an esteemed lama told his parents that he should become a monk. Being their only son, the parents refused. Shardza soon became quite ill. Seeing that their son was not recovering, the parents agreed to allow him to take ordination. At this, Shardza quickly recovered. He was the attendant for his root lama, Tenzin Wangyal, for many years. At the age of eighteen, he took the full vows of a Yungdrung Bön monk from the abbot of Yungdrung Ling Monastery.

Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche depicted as a yogi with long hair and a white robe

Throughout his life, Shardza Rinpoche was known for a disciplined adherence to every vow that he had taken throughout his life. Although his view and practice were vast and high, he maintained diligence in performing virtue and avoiding the smallest non-virtue. He continually performed the preliminary practices and recited many millions of mantra, especially the SA LÉ Ö mantra. He composed many concise practices for purifying negativity and accumulating merit and wisdom, such as his Aspiration Prayer of Giving and Receiving. (For the publicly available English translation and explanation of the prayer, see previous article: https://ravencypresswood.com/2020/01/31/an-aspiration-prayer-of-giving-and-receiving-gift-translation/ )

“For those with a great deal of negative actions in this lifetime, having requested a remedy because they will certainly ripen during future lifetimes, the remedy of performing virtue is very powerful. Having ripened negative actions, the mere exhaustion of that karma (through pain and/or illness), enlightenment is certain. Therefore, this pain and illness of yours is very amazing when it is voluntarily accepted!

Even now, whenever more pain or illness arises, continuing to persevere with your religious practices, venerations, and acts of pure virtue would be incredibly amazing!

When you imagine that there will be no unhappiness in the future (due to this negative karma being exhausted), supremely praise the emptiness of that particular pain or illness.

Be inspired by the power of this antidote, even when what you don’t want arises.

Take the suffering and misery of others onto yourself by adopting others’ happiness and suffering through the practice of giving and receiving.” 

Shardza Rinpoche’s advice to the female practitioner Khandro Wangi Dronma. 
Hair and nails of Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen that were recovered after his attainment of the rainbow body
Hair and nails of Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche that were recovered after his attainment of the rainbow body

He taught a multitude of disciples, organized the reconstruction of temples, went on pilgrimages, and spent a great deal of time in isolated retreat. A prolific writer, he wrote at length on subjects such as Bön history, instructions for the practice of Tibetan yoga, preliminary practices for Dzogchen, condensed summaries of each of the None Ways of Bön, and detailed instructions for the advanced practice of inner heat, known as Tummo. When Shardza Rinpoche was 75 years old, his disciples noticed that his behavior changed. He seemed more casual and became delighted when playing with children. He was seen doing miraculous things such as walking without his feet touching the ground or setting his bowl down in space.

In 1934 at the age of 76 during an offering ceremony, he began to spontaneously sing songs of realization.  A few days later, he sewed himself inside a tent and forbid any of his disciples to open it.  The next day, rainbow lights began appearing above and around the tent. After three days, the ground shook. By the 4th day, rainbow-colored mist was seen coming through the seams of the tent. On that 4th day, Shardza’s disciple Tsultrim Wangchuk, afraid that his lama’s body would completely disappear and leave nothing as an object of veneration and inspiration, opened the tent. He found Shardza’s body enveloped in rainbow light, levitating in midair, and shrunken to the proportional size of a one year old child. The area around his heart was still warm but most of the nails of the hands and feet had fallen onto the seat below. For the next forty-nine days, a multitude of disciples came to pay their respect and receive blessings. After that, the precious remains were placed into a reliquary chorten. From time to time, many people have reported seeing clear or rainbow-colored light emanating from this reliquary chorten.

Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen’s reliquary chorten at his retreat center in Amdo, Tibet

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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666th Birth Celebration of the Second Buddha: H.H. the 1st Menri Trizin Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen Rinpoché

Shrine display at Menri Monastery honoring HH 1st Menri Trizin Rinpoche. Photo credit: Unknown

The 5th day of the 1st lunar month is the birth celebration of His Holiness the 1st Menri Trizin Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen Rinpoché who is known as the second buddha in the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition. In 2022, this date coincides with  March 7th on the Western calendar. His Holiness Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen Rinpoché was a reincarnation of Yikyi Khye’u Chung, one of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche’s sons. He united the three transmission lineages of sutra, tantra and dzogchen that had become widely dispersed, and he founded one of the largest Yungdrung Bön monasteries in Tibet, Tashi Menri Ling.

Born in 1356 in the region of Gyalrong into the esteemed 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.   While he was traveling in Eastern Tibet, Yeru Wensaka was destroyed by flooding and mudslides. Upon returning, he searched the ruins of the monastery for any salvageable artifacts. With these precious objects, he established Tashi Menri Monastery on higher ground within the same valley. It was 1405 and he was 50 years old.

nyamme sol dep framed

His Holiness 1st Menri Trizin 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 left the shell of his physical body. His body levitated high into the air, but due to the fervent prayers of his disciples, the body returned to the earth. During the cremation, rainbows appeared and a large bird circled three times around the cremation area before disappearing into the West.

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

Among his numerous writings, is the commonly recited Eight-branched Aspiration Prayer, Mönlam Yenlak Gyepa. When offering aspiration prayers, we imagine that every sentient being is offering the prayers in unison with us. This limitless group of beings includes humans, nonhumans, unseen spirits, and those we consider “enemies.” All sound is perceived as the sound of the prayer being recited and the vastness of space is imagined as filled with buddhas and bodhisattvas that are delighted by the virtuous activity that spontaneously activates their immeasurable compassion. By offering the prayers in this way, and then dedicating the merit of the practice for the welfare of all sentient beings, the power of the practice is inconceivable and the benefit is sealed and can never be destroyed. 

The English language translation of the Eight-branched Aspiration Prayer, Mönlam Yenlak Gyepa is publicly available for personal use and can be downloaded from the Publications page of this website. Click on the Publications tab above and then scroll down the page to the download link.

Tibetan translations 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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Lunar Calendar: Time for the Practice of Nyammé Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoché

His Holiness the 1st Menri Trizin Nyammé Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoché

Every new moon, the monks and nuns of Menri Monastery perform the Nyammé La Drup, the lama practice of Nyammé Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoché who established Menri Monastery and brought together the scattered transmission lineages. This practice has its own preliminary prayers, main practice including a tsok offering, and concluding prayers such as prayers of blessing, aspiration and dedication. The next new moon coincides with Tuesday, February 1, 2022.

You are like a golden sunrise over the world

during the final 500 years of degeneration in this negative time.

From your great, thunderous river of Bön speech, 

your disciples’ afflictive emotions are washed clean at the very root.

Through the roar of your extensive knowledge of the three kinds of teachings,

you destroy the ignorant reasoning of variant tenet systems.

A majestic lion among men and leader of Menri,

I prostrate to you, crown ornament of abbots!

Homage to His Holiness the 1st Menri Trizin Nyammé Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoché

Tibetan translation and content 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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Anniversary of the Birth of His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoché

Close-up of traditional scroll painting depicting His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoché

His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoché was born in Tibet on the 15th day of the 5th lunar month in the Western year 1929 in the village of Kyongtsang in the far eastern province of Amdo. In 2021, this date corresponds with June 24th on the Western calendar.

When he was eight years old, his father took him to the nearby monastery of Phuntsok Dargyé Ling where he learned to read, write and chant. At the age of fourteen, he received instructions on the preliminary practices of dzogchen and completed the nine-hundred thousand accumulations three times. In 1945 at the age of seventeen, he received novice monk vows from Kyangtsang Lama Sherap Tenpé and was given the name Sherap Namdak. He completed his Geshé Degree at the age of twenty-five under the guidance of Lopön Tenzin Lodro Gyatso Rinpoché. The following year, he traveled South to the Bön province of Gyalrong, where he printed copies of the Bön Kanjur from traditional woodblocks. After gathering a vast amount of material and using mules to carry more than 100 volumes of the sacred texts, he made an arduous six-month journey back to his monastery. In 1956 at the age of twenty-eight, he traveled to the famous Yungdrung Ling Monastery and received monk vows from the Pönlop and was given the name Sangyé Tenzin. In 1960 at the age of thirty-two, as he passed through Mustang and Dolpo on his way to India, he borrowed many rare texts in order to reprint them in India and ensure their preservation.

In 1968, many esteemed Yungdrung Bön lamas gathered together in order to coordinate the process of selecting a successor of the late 32nd Menri Trizin. After several days of extensive prayers and rituals, Sangyé Tenzin’s name emerged as the one to hold the lineage of Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen. In 1969 at the age of forty, after extensive preparatory initiations, he assumed his duties as the 33rd Abbot of Menri Monastery and began leading the effort to re-establish Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is hh33-with-statue-1.jpg
His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoche. Photo credit: Unknown

In 1970, he began construction of the main temple of Pal Shenten Menri Ling in Dolanji and lead efforts to restore Menri Monastery in Tibet. In 1972, he opened a dispensary at Pal Shenten Menri Ling that distributed medicine freely to the monks, the Tibetan settlers in the nearby village, as well as to the local Indians. In 1975, he began a school for the Bönpo children, and in 1978 he founded the dialectic school to continue the tradition of in-depth education of the traditional and philosophical sciences that results in the esteemed degree of geshe.

After many years of indescribable and tireless efforts on behalf of the Yungdrung Bön tradition as well as the worldwide Bön community and all sentient beings, he displayed the truth of impermanence and passed into nirvana on the 27th day of the 7th lunar month in the Western year 2017. The auspicious occasion of the celebration of his birth is an opportunity to generate great merit through spiritual practice and virtuous activities of body, speech and mind.

“EMAHO!

To the lama who is the embodiment of all of the victors and spiritual masters, who acts principally through the accomplishment of Bön for sentient beings who are as limitless as the sky,

I offer prostrations with my body, prostrating with my arms, legs and head!

I prostrate with my speech, chanting with a joyous and inspired melody!

I prostrate with my mind, paying homage with single-pointed motivation and devotion!

May the negative actions and defilements of my three doors become purified!

AH OM HUNG CHI PAR RAYNA KO PUNG AKSHO TRI TSE GU DÜN HRUN”

— From Offerings for the Lama

All translations 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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