The first day of the first lunar month is the Royal Tibetan New Year’s Day. In 2023, this coincides with February 21st and is an auspicious day for making prayers of aspiration. As a gift of practice support for the worldwide Yungdrung Bön family, the English language translation of the Aspiration Prayer of the Ten Grounds from The Three-fold Aspiration Prayer known as the Mönlam Namsum, is being made freely available for private use. Below is an excerpt of the translation.
The complete translation of the prayer along with the Tibetan text can be downloaded as a pdf from the Publications page of this website.
May everyone have a year of happiness, health, and prosperity! And may those favorable conditions support rapid spiritual accomplishments!
“I prostrate to the teacher Küntu Zangpo who has not gone beyond, and who is a completely compassionate guardian! To begin, in order for suffering sentient beings to traverse the extraordinary place of the grounds, with a completely pure mind of enlightenment, through the compassion of Trül Bön Sangwa Nangring, and having renounced all negative places of cyclic existence, I offer this aspiration prayer in order to traverse the pure paths and grounds.
(First: The Ground of Immense Joy) Upon the ground of immense joy, having cleansed and purified the stain of greed and having perfected the great accumulation of generosity, may I see the face of Jinpa Jamma, the Loving Mother of Generosity!
(Second: The Ground of Stainless Crystal) Upon the ground of stainless crystal, having cleansed and purified the stain of immorality and having perfected the great accumulation of moral discipline, may I see the face of Tsultrim Jamma, the Loving Mother of Moral Discipline!
(Third: The Ground of Radiance) Upon the ground of radiance, having cleansed and purified the stain of insensitivity and impatience and having perfected the great accumulation of patience, may I see the face of Zöpa Jamma, the Loving Mother of Patience!
May I see the face of Satrik Érsang! Having seen the face of Satrik Érsang, may I spontaneously accomplish benefit for myself!
Having spontaneously accomplished benefit for myself, may I perfect benefit for others!
Having perfected benefit for others, may the welfare of sentient beings ripen! Having ripened the welfare of sentient beings, may I tread upon the ground of universal light!
Having tread upon the ground of universal light and also upon the ground of the great bliss of Bön, may I perfect the three bodies upon the ground of unmoving equanimity where everything is inexpressible!
Having perfected the three bodies upon the ground of unmoving equanimity, may I instantly be born upon a pure lotus!
Having been instantly born upon a pure lotus, may I fulfill complete benefit for sentient beings!”
—Excerpt from Aspiration Prayer of the Ten Grounds from The Three-fold Aspiration Prayer, the Mönlam Namsum
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.
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
After the Tibetan New Year celebrations, students at Menri Monastery enter into an intensive retreat to cultivate the qualities of the wisdom deity Mawé Sengé, Lion of Speech. This retreat begins on the 24th lunar day of the 1st month and concludes on the 30th lunar day. In 2022, these dates coincide with March 26th – April 1st on the Western calendar. The purpose of this retreat is to receive the blessings and empowerment of the wisdom deity Mawé Sengé in order to develop and sharpen the students’ intellect to support their upcoming studies in the new school year. 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 mantra recitations.
Mawé Sengé is the manifestation of the Dzok ku, the Enlightened Body, or state, of Perfected Qualities. If practiced regularly as a yidam deity, he clears the darkness of confusion, develops the intellect, and gives a quick and steadfast memory without forgetfulness. If his practice is properly applied and accomplished, there are seven specific signs that arise. These are called The Seven Signs of Attaining Wisdom that Blazes Like Fire. These seven signs are:
The sign of having removed the darkness of lack of knowledge from the intellect. Specifically, this refers to removing a weak or unclear intellectual understanding.
The sign of having the eye of wisdom. This is the attainment of clairvoyance, expansive knowledge and wisdom.
The sign of being like a lion of glorious poetry. This refers to the ability to write expert discourses, specifically scholastic poems and compositions.
The sign of the sun of superior knowledge arising. This refers to the capability of having clear knowledge, without any confusion, regarding the qualities of any knowable object.
The sign of attaining the recollection of intelligence that is never forgotten. This refers to a steadfast capability of remembering what has been learned without forgetfulness.
The sign of being like a thunderbolt when debating. This refers to the capability to brilliantly overcome all others, without defeat or fear, when debating any subject whatsoever.
The sign of the intellectual memory being fast like lightening. This refers to an extraordinary ability of having a clear and quick memory.
“I go for refuge to the wisdom deity for the intellect.
I generate the supreme mind of enlightenment 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 Sengé. Tibetan translation: Raven Cypress Wood
In the Yungdrung Bön tradition, there are two principal forms of the wisdom deity Mawé Sengé. Both of these forms share most characteristics. However, one form holds a sword and a scripture as the hand objects. The other form holds a sword and a butter lamp. This second principal form of Mawé Sengé is according to the prayer, An Offering of Praise for the Supreme Wisdom Deity Sherab Mawé Sengé, A Garland of Utpala Flowers composed by the highly revered Nyammé Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche.
“With a sword of wisdom held in your right hand, you cut the root of deluded thoughts and self-grasping.
With a butter lamp of clarity held in your left hand, you dispel the dark intellect and ignorance of migrating beings.
In the space to your right and left, the sun and moon blaze with the splendor of the inseparability of method and knowledge.”
— Extract from An Offering of Praise for the Supreme Wisdom Deity Sherab Mawé Sengé, A Garland of Utpala Flowers
In order to support his Dolpo Bön School for Girls and Boys in Dunai, Nepal, Khenpo Nyima Künchap Rinpoche has commissioned a limited number of thangkas depicting this particular principal form of Mawé Sengé. As the North American coordinator for the Dolpo Bön Society which supports the Dolpo Bön School, Raven Cypress Wood is selling some of these thangkas on behalf of Khenpo Rinpoche. The images are high quality prints framed in beautiful brocade and include the traditional silk covering. The deity image measures 23″ x 16″ and the full thangka measures 50″ x 39.” Anyone within the continental U.S. who is interested in purchasing one of these thangkas for $190.00 can email Raven directly at RCW108@Gmail.com.
About The Dolpo Bön Society and the Dolpo Bön School for Girls and Boys
The Dolpo Bön Society was formed in 2001 in response to the great degeneration of the Bön culture and religion in the Dolpo region due to poverty, illiteracy, and a desire to send the children to the places like Kathmandu and India for their studies. When that happens, the children rarely return to their villages. As a result, the culture and traditions of the villages were being destroyed. Recognizing this, all the great lamas and representatives of monasteries within the region held several conferences and came to the conclusion that a welfare society needed to be formed. Therefore, the non-profit Dolpo Bön Society was formed in 2001.
Although there has been a government school available, many parents cannot afford the cost and the school does not teach the Tibetan language. Therefore, as part of the Society’s mission to maintain and develop the Tibetan, and specifically Bön, culture and traditions throughout the Dolpo region, the Dolpo Bön School for Girls and Boys was established by Khenpo Nyima Künchap Rinpoche. In addition to a well-rounded modern education within the framework of the Tibetan Bön culture, the school also provides food and lodging, supplies for daily living, clothing, and even medical care when needed. All this, plus staff salaries and building and maintenance costs are primarily provided for from Rinpoche’s personal funds acquired through his worldwide teaching and rituals. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, he has not been able to travel outside of Nepal and India for the past two years. However, he has enjoyed being able to spend much more time with his students and teachers.
Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché. 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, it continues to be 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 2022, this date coincides with March 18th on the Western calendar.
The following is an excerpt from one of the prayers traditionally chanted on this auspicious day.
“Homage to the enlightened dimension of the All Knowing Tülku!
You are a 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 possesses both great compassion and skillful means. You are without emotional afflictions and have cut all defilements. You possess power and clear self awareness. A marvelous emanation, You have cleared all obstructions and destroyed the door to birth into cyclic existence. You clearly know the path to release. You have gone beyond suffering and cleansed all karmic potentialities. An ordained person who guides the way, you have the 32 major marks and the 81 minor characteristics. You have the 108 exalted qualities of excellence, and knowledge of the 40 letters and the 61 radiating lights. You possess the 80 good qualities of meditative stability, and are the source of the 61 wisdoms of knowledge and other qualities. These attributes are fully perfected and inexhaustible.
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 three thousand-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 cyclic existence.”
Prayer of Auspiciousness
“Throughout the countless universes and infinite realms, may the age of enemies, poison, weapons, and disease be pacified! May the blazing fire of rage and warfare not arise!
May happiness and goodness pervade everywhere! May all auspicious circumstances of time and place constantly fall like a beautiful shower of rain!
May the four elements remain balanced throughout the four times! May peace and happiness together with auspicious goodness pervade the entire phenomenal universe!
From the potency of blissful and harmonious conditions, may all goals which are in harmony with Bön be accomplished !
Through the wisdom light of the Bön teachings of enlightenment, which strongly blaze and never decline like the light of the sun and moon, may we reach the ultimate destination without hindrance!
Having engaged in all kinds of pure teachings, abandoned impure activities, purified karmic potentialities, and engaged in pure discipline, may we maintain the wisdom and purity of the three trainings!
Having completed the purpose of the three trainings and accomplished benefit for both myself and others, may I and others be inseparable from the state of the single sphere!
May our experience be the same as the expansive space of the Bön essence which is just like the vast, open sky!”
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.
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.
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”