Category Archives: Translation

The Thirteen Yungdrung Bön Activities for a Meaningful Human LIfe

Khenpo Nyima Künchap Rinpoche reciting scripture. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

The Thirteen Yungdrung Bön Activities are practices that perfect the two accumulations of merit and wisdom. These activities develop our positive qualities and diminish negative tendencies, and provide a way to take advantage of our precious human life. Engaging in these activities also has the benefit of protecting the mind from fear, anxiety and obsessive thoughts by focusing upon sacred actions of body, speech and mind.

  1. Writing the sacred 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

Instructions for writing the Tibetan syllable AH. The syllables are drawn from the top downwards and from left to right.

“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!

Through the force and the power of this, wherever I am, may the labels “illness,” “hunger,” “weapons,” “conflict,” and “disharmony” not even exist!”

— Extracted from The Spontaneous Wish-fulfillment of Removing Obstacles from the Path, The Oral Transmission of Khandro Shérap Lopélma

For the full English, Spanish, or Portuguese translation of The Spontaneous Wish-fulfillment of Removing Obstacles from the Path, The Oral Transmission of Khandro Shérap Lopélmafollow this link to the Publications page of this website. https://ravencypresswood.com/publications/ This prayer is commonly recited each day within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition.

A young monk making an offering of light at Menri Monastery. Photo credit: Unknown.

Present and Future Refuge

The Great Lama and yidam deity, Drenpa Namkha

“Now, during this negative time, infectious diseases and epidemics occur,

heat and cold within the body are reversed, and medicine doesn’t help.

You are surrounded by the Medicine Buddha and his retinue.

I pray to the Great Lama and his two sons, to the subduer of demons, Drenpa Namkha: completely overcome infectious diseases and epidemics!

Look upon me with your unbiased compassion morning and night, during the past, present, and future! Turn back both seen and unseen enemies!

My present and future refuge and protector bless me to accomplish all of my intentions!”

— Extracted from The Prayer of Fourteen Stanzas to Drenpa Namkha translated by Raven Cypress Wood

In general, there have been three separate manifestations of Drenpa Namkha. Each was a reincarnation of the previous manifestation. There was the Drenpa Namkha of the ancient kingdom of Tazik, Drenpa Namkha of the ancient kingdom of Zhang Zhung, and Drenpa Namkha of Tibet. Drenpa Namkha of the ancient kingdom of Zhang Zhung was a prince who lived during 914 BC. He married an Indian Brahman girl and had twin sons, Tséwang Rikdzin and Péma Tongdrül, who were born in the year 888 BC.

Drenpa Namkha of Tibet was born in the year 753 AD in Southern Tibet.  During this time, the kingdom of Tibet was ruled by King Trisong Detsen who had many Bön priest in his court, including Drenpa Namkha. When the king decided to convert the kingdom to the new Indian religion of Buddhism, he began to drive out the Bön priests and to destroy their texts. The Bön lamas were given the choice of exile from the kingdom, suicide, or conversion to the new religion.  Many lamas chose to escape with texts and to try and preserve the teachings elsewhere. Drenpa Namkha chose to stay and protect the teachings and the texts from within Tibet. So, at the age of 31, he cut his own hair with a blade of gold and ordained himself a Buddhist.

After his conversion, he had many YUngdrung Bön texts hidden within chortens, statues and columns at the monastery of Samyé. He continued to compose texts and to teach. Among his many students was the king himself, Trisong Detsen. Years later, the king allowed him to openly return to his practice of the Yungdrung Bön teachings.

All translations and content by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved.

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Developing Knowledge & Wisdom with the Lion of Speech

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 Sengé, Lion of Exposition. This retreat begins on the 24th lunar day of the 1st month and concludes on the 30th lunar day. In 2020, these dates coincide with March 17th – March 24th on the Western calendar. The intention of this retreat is to develop and sharpen the student’s intellect to support their upcoming studies. The practice of Mawé Sengé is performed many times each day and the mantra of the deity is recited as much as possible throughout the retreat with a minimum accumulation of 100,000 recitations.

“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 any 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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Supplication Prayer to Jamma, the Loving Mother

Jamma, the Loving Mother

” Hri!

Within a completely pure self-manifested realm,

just by paying homage and offering this supplication to the state of Yümchen Tükjé Jamma,*

please bring victory over the eight fears!”

Translated from the Tibetan by Raven Cypress Wood

Audio for the Tibetan language chanting has been kindly recorded and posted to Facebook by Geshe Yongdong, president and spiritual director of Sherab Chamma Ling. Check his page for the recording.

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Traditional Anniversary of the Human Birth of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché

Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Mowoché. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

 

Although in recent times the historical date of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap’s human birth has been stated to be the 15th day of the 12th month by the scholar His Eminence Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoché (See previous post for more information: https://ravencypresswood.com/2020/02/08/anniversary-of-the-human-birth-of-lord-tonpa-shenrap-miwoche/ ), it remains a tradition to also celebrate the Buddha’s birth on the 15th lunar day of the 1st month which is the date that has been celebrated through countless generations. In 2020, this date coincides with March 9th.

Praise and Homage for the Compassionate Teacher

King of the Teachings and a glorious guide through cyclic existence,

You are the illuminating light that overcomes all darkness!

The primary medicine that dispels the torment of ignorance and disease,

You are a King of the Mu clan, an extraordinary being who took human form!

With an army of great fire that dries up the ocean and mire of the five poisons,

You are a luminous, holy man who possesses the marks and characteristics of an enlightened being!

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 manifested enlightened body of Tönpa Shenrap!”

— Written by the great lama Drenpa Namkha and translated from the Tibetan by Raven Cypress Wood

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The Parinirvana of Drupchen Namkha Gyaltsen

 

Drupchen Namkha Gyaltsen Rinpoché visiting with HE Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoché. Photo credit & copyright: Christophe Moulin 2007. Used with permission.

On the 21st day of the 12th lunar month, February 14th 2020 on the Western calendar, the greatly accomplished Yungdrung Bön yogi Drupchen Namkha Gyaltsen Rinpoché passed into nirvana at Pal Shenten Dargyé Tashi Ling Monastery in Nyarong. Drupchen Namkha Gyaltsen was a famous ascetic who lived many years in solitary retreat. On the day of his passing, auspicious signs manifested such as rainbows in the daytime sky. This news was kept secret until February 19th. And due to the current restrictions related to the prevention of spreading infectious disease, there was no traditional public gathering or presentation of offerings.

Drupchen Namkha Gyaltsen at Tsédruk Monastery. Photo credit: Unknown

Born in 1956, the accomplished dzogchen master Namkha Gyalstsen became a well-known yogi, or naljorpa, who was respected for his incredible strength and fortitude while enduring hardships. He continuously observed the vows to abstain from meat and from eating food later in the day. From the renowned Tsukpü Ösal he received the teachings and transmissions for the preliminary practices and the primary practices of meditation. He then stayed within his own hermitage at the Tsédruk monastery. His focus was mainly upon the external, internal and secret doors of Bön contained within Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen’s Five Treasuries including the practices of ngöndro, meditation, tsa lung, rushen, chulen, etc. Applying the key points of these practices, he had many experiences of accomplishment.

He continuously practiced difficult austerities. For example, he traveled to Mount Tisé (Mount Kailash) and Bönri and  performed 100 full-length prostrations during his circumambulations. Also, from 1986 until 2002, like a wounded deer, he stayed by himself in solitary retreat and completely focused his mind upon practice. He led meditation retreats for male and female yogis who showed signs of accomplishment including signs of heat. After 2002, he traveled to other remote retreat places including the hermitage of Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoché where he continued his meditation, study, and disciplined practices. The quality of his meditation and his ascetic practices become legendary.

Rainbow light appeared in the sky on the day of his passing. Photo credit: Unknown

All translations and content by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved.

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Anniversary of the Human Birth of Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché

Lord Tonpa Shenrap Miwoche. Photo credit: Khedup Gyatso.

The 15th day of the 12th lunar month, February 9th, 2020 on the Western calendar is the 18,037th 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.

“Namo!  You are the supreme teacher, one who has gone beyond bliss, an authentic and completely enlightened being, a manifested buddha and teacher, Tönpa Shenrap Miwo. 

You have the wisdom of omniscience and possess both great compassion and skillful means.  You are without emotional afflictions and have ceased all defilements.  You have power and clear self awareness.  A marvelous emanation, you have cleared all obstructions and destroyed the door to birth into cyclic existence.  

Your face is like the sun and moon, and you see throughout the ten directions.  100,000 light rays emanate from your divine body.  You are adorned with ornaments which are like rainbows and your divine body is so beautiful that one does not know how to look away. 

In your right hand, you hold a golden chakshing painted with a turquoise yungdrung which shows that you are lord of the 3,000-fold universe and conqueror of this world system.  Your left hand holds the mudra of equipoise which shows that you have destroyed the door to birth into the cyclic existence of lower rebirth. 

May the cycle of manifested teachings completely turn, I pray!  Please hold us within your compassion myself and all other sentient beings without exception! 

I feel remorse for everything immoral and improper that has been experienced because of the power of the afflictive emotions.  I feel regret!  

Through this open admission of wrongdoing, please agree to cleanse and purify me, I pray! 

Free me from the ocean of suffering and misery of cyclic existence, I pray! 

AH OM HUNG SÉ LA GYER RO HRUN PUNG YÉ SOHA”

— Extracted from Homage to the Enlightened State of the Omniscient Tûlku

Tibetan translation by Raven Cypress Wood

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An Aspiration Prayer of Giving and Receiving: Gift Translation

The modern-day saint Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche depicted as both a yogi and a scholar.

As a gift to the world-wide Yungdrung Bön sangha in order to support their spiritual practice, Nine Ways is offering a free and publicly available download for the English translation of the prayer Tonglen Mönlam: Aspiration Prayer of Giving and Receiving written by Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoché. The Tibetan word tonglen [Tib. gtong len] literally means to give and to receive. In general, this practice is used to develop an unbiased and unlimited quality of compassion.

The sutric practice of tonglen supports practitioners to develop the wisdom of equanimity and the quality of compassion towards all other sentient beings that are suffering and seeking happiness without restrictions towards those considered strangers or enemies. From that openness and having generated an authentic heart-felt compassion, the suffering of others is accepted through the inhalation of the breath. With the exhalation, whatever is needed or wanted for their happiness is sent to them. When beginning the practice, it can be supportive to begin with sentient beings for whom there is a natural openness and kindness and then to expand to those for whom there are neutral feelings and then to those for whom there are uncomfortable or negative feelings. This same perspective can be used for one’s own suffering and feelings of discomfort.

In this prayer, the realized saint Shardza Rinpoché begins by taking refuge in the three jewels and relying upon the truth of the teachings. He then prays to ripen both the suffering and the happiness of sentient beings. This line is further explained near the end of the prayer in the phrase “having liberated both happiness and suffering into the space of the primordially pure base…” These lines point out that the ultimate nature of both happiness and suffering is the same pure space from which everything arises and everything dissolves. Therefore, when breathing in the suffering of others, it is with this realization that the suffering liberates into the pure, primordial space of wisdom.

The translation if offered for free but is restricted to personal use only. The download link for the English translation of the prayer can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cTqrSneJpPCnsjxqOClkDU5euRfaxmHY/view?usp=sharing

For other free translations and publications of Yungdrung Bön texts, go to the Publications page of this website or click on this link: https://ravencypresswood.com/publications/

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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The Lotus Hat of the Yungdrung Bön

Religious festival at Menri Monastery 2015. Photo credit: Unknown

Within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, the lotus hat is worn by those who have received the full ordination of a renunciant. The shape of the hat resembles a full, blue lotus. In general, it represents the purity of perfecting the rules of completely pure discipline. It is surrounded by either four, six or eight lotus petals that represent purification throughout the four directions. The thread which holds the lotus petals to the hat represents the activity of subduing throughout the intermediate directions. The twenty-five pleats represent the enlightened state of the five buddha families. At the crown of the head, there is an opening to attach the crown ornament which extends from the hat towards the sky.

Tönpa Tritsuk Gyalwa.

The founder of the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche showed the path of renunciation by becoming a monk at the age of 31. This was his ninth deed. (For more information about the Buddha’s ninth deed, see previous article: https://ravencypresswood.com/2017/06/24/buddha-tonpa-shenraps-ninth-deed/ ) At his ordination, the six kinds of garments for a Yungdrung Bön renunciant fell from the sky. One of these garments was the lotus hat.

HE Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche wearing a lotus hat with the strips of cloth hidden underneath. Photo credit: Unknown

The long, thin strips of cloth that hang from the base of the hat near the ears are not mentioned within the texts. Therefore, the esteemed Yungdrung Bön spiritual master and scholar His Eminence Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche has stated that although it has become traditional to add them to the hat, they are not needed. Because of this, he sometimes takes these strips of cloth and places them inside the hat before putting it on.

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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