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
The 5th lunar day of the 7th month each year is a powerful day for receiving blessed water or for practicing with water for cleansing or healing. The healing from water, or other types of medicine, taken on this day will continue to have power for seven days. This lunar date corresponds with September 1, 2022 on the Western calendar.
It is a widespread belief shared among many religious traditions that particular bodies of water can bestow purification, healing, eternal youth, or special knowledge. Within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, there are many rituals to imbue water with the blessings and power of enlightened deities in order to wash away negativities and provide healing and protection. One of the most widespread is Nampar Jompa’s Healing WatersMantra practice. The enlightened deity Nampar Jompa has a wrathful appearance with a light-blue body and distinctly having serpents as ornaments on his arms, legs, waist, and hair.
“I, myself, as the deity Nampar Jompa hold in my right hand a vessel filled with elixir. In my left hand, I hold a mirror which removes all illness and injury. Having washed with this healing water, I clearly imagine that any remaining contamination is washed away because of this medicine.”
— From The Practice of the Washing Rite within Nampar Jompa’s Healing Waters Mantra
At the conclusion of the practice after the practitioner has transformed into the deity Nampar Jompa, empowered the water with mantra, and then washed with the water, the practice text includes a final notation emphasizing the power of the practice.
“Thus, through this supplication prayer of the washing rite, having purified all traces of previous illness and negative external influences, just like the overflow of water from a crystal vessel, imagine that all negativity and illness leave from the tips of the fingers and toes, the nostrils and the secret place.
There is no place what-so-ever for the creation of even the smallest thing to arise. Not even a single atom remains that needs to be purified!”
During the beginning time of the global pandemic of Covid 19, many Yungdrung Bön lamas advised their disciples to engage with the mantra and practice of Sigyal Drakngak, a manifestation of Sipé Gyalmo, who specifically protects from infectious disease through the use of empowered water. Translation of this text, The Heartdrop of Si Gyal that is All-pervasive and Clears Away Afflictive Emotions and Illness, has been published in both English and French and is available to be ordered for those who have received transmission for the practice.
This water of nectar has the nature of wisdom and medicine.
May all negative karma, afflictive emotions and discursive thoughts of migrating beings be washed away!
May all illness, external negative forces, karmic potentialities, and contaminations be purified!
Like a deity of medicine, may you have health and happiness!”
— From The Heartdrop of Si Gyal that is All-pervasive and Clears Away Afflictive Emotions and Illness
In addition to the practices specifically using water as a method of purification, healing, and empowerment, there are many practices and mantra that can be used to transform water from an ordinary substance to one that is imbued with extraordinary qualities. For example, one can recite the great mantra of Yungdrung Bön, the MA TRI, one hundred times or more without interrupting the recitation with ordinary speech. Then, the breathe is blown onto clean water in an undamaged vessel. This water is then used for ritual washing. Within The Thirty-two Benefits of the Recitation Practice of the Precious Lamp, it states:
“Anyone affected by contaminated energy, latent karmic potentialities, misfortune, and/or defilements, having recited this MA TRI mantra into pure, clean water, if they ritually wash for seven mornings, even karmic defilements will be purified. Removing defilements is a benefit of this precious lamp.”
— From The Thirty-two Benefits of the Recitation Practice of the Precious Lamp
The Heartdrop of Jamma is an aural transmission from Khandro Sherap Lo Pélma who is a manifestation of Sherap Jamma and a deity who is specifically practiced to develop the intellect. In The Heartdrop of Jamma, the practitioner uses the power of the mantric syllables to transform each aspect of their body into one of Jamma’s countless manifestations. This text is commonly recited by Yungdrung Bön families after the final meal of the day. This texts lists many benefits of its recitation. This includes the use of water.
“If you recite the mantra to good quality water mixed with powdered, medicinal incense containing blessed medicine and the six excellent substances, and then cleanse with that water, all illness and sickness caused by negative forces will be pacified and all defilements and contaminations will be purified.”
In addition to the above-mentioned practices, the Yungdrung Bön tradition includes the daily practice of washing with empowered water that is used each morning most commonly by those with ordination or genyen vows. However, this practice is open to anyone. One of the commonly used prayers for this practice is The Cleansing Rite Supplication. The English translation of this prayer has been made freely available to the worldwide sangha and can be downloaded from the Publications page of this website.
Today, August 7, 2022 coincides with the 10th lunar day of the month. According to the Yungdrung Bön religious calendar, the 10th lunar day of each month is designated as the day to perform practices for Tséwang Rikdzin, his twin brother Pema Tongdrol, and their father the great lama Drenpa Namkha. In honor of this, Raven Cypress Wood is releasing The Practice of the King of Longevity Practice Manual to be publicly available.
Previously, this translation and practice manual was restricted to students with verified transmission of the Tséwang Jarima longevity practice of Tséwang Rikdzin. At this time, many students around the world have received transmission, empowerment, and in-depth teaching from this scripture. Therefore, in order to support the deepening practice of these students, this practice manual is being made more easily available. This manual assumes that the student has received fundamental instruction regarding the longevity practice and its related seven-day yidam retreat. In that way, it contains less introductory and explanatory information and more detail regarding the intensive practice, yidam retreat, and the associated rituals.
This is a practice manual for the longevity ritual, the seven-day yidam retreat of Lama Tséwang Rikdzin, as well as the daily yidam practice. It contains English translations of the root text, supplemental texts, and support and study materials. These include translation of the text for making offerings to Sayi Lhamo Tenma, the Earth Goddess, in order to ask for blessings and support at the beginning of the yidam retreat or longevity ritual, translation of the feast offering prayers, the mantric seal used to set the boundary for the seven-day retreat, prompts for the use of instruments and offering of torma, and so on.
Previously, during a much earlier time, the Bönku Künzang, the Dzok ku Sangwa Düpa, the Tülku and protector of beings Tséwang Rikdzin, and the great mother Khandro Tukjé Kündrol, together with a gathering of those who have the direct mind-to-mind lineage of the three enlightened bodies,
upon the peak of the sacred place of Jarima in Tazik, having arranged the first portion of a collection of enjoyable food, they fulfilled the sacred commitments to the group of lamas, yidams, rikdzin, and khandro.”
Extract from Fulfilling Our Commitments and Bringing Delight to the Lineage of the Tséwang Jarima, A Mala of Utpala Flowers
On this auspicious day, it is appropriate to make offerings the root lama in the form of Nyammé Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche, recite prayers of aspiration, and/or to perform any kind of spiritual practice and acts of virtue. It is an especially auspicious time to recite the Tséwang Mönlam, Tsewang’s Precious Mala of Beneficial Aspiration Prayers. The English language translation of this prayer is freely available for personal use on the Publication page of this website. Simply click the Publications tab at the top of the page and scroll down to the download link.
Within Yungdrung Bön cosmological literature, descriptions of the phenomenal universe are detailed and precise. Essentially, a collective of one billion individual world systems comprise one three thousandfold universe. For every three thousandfold universe there are four periods of time. First, there is the eon of coming into existence that begins with the movement of the primordial wind. The movement of wind creates friction and heat that creates moisture. The moisture thickens and eventually becomes form. Second, there is the eon of enduring in a steady state that begins when the first sentient being is born. Our universe is currently in the latter part of this eon. Third, there is the eon of dissolution when, due to negativity and extreme wrongdoing, the human lifespan has diminished to be only ten years long, food has lost most of its nourishment and taste. During this eon very little morality exists, violence is commonplace, and those in power are deprived and without concern for others. Eventually, the three thousandfold universe, with the exception of the highest realms, is destroyed by either a great fire, great water, or a great wind. After this is the fourth eon, the eon of emptiness. After this eon, the cycle begins again with the eon of coming into existence.
Scholars continue to comment upon whether the Bön and Buddhist cosmological details are literally real, metaphorically real, or unreal. Regardless, from the perspective and concern of a Yundgrung Bön practitioner, the scope of these details gives an opportunity to expand understanding and awareness. The practitioner is instructed to develop the four immeasurable qualities of equanimity, loving kindness, compassion, and joy towards all sentient beings throughout the three thousandfold universe. When practicing with a yidam deity, the text often advises a visualization that fills the entire three thousandfold universe, and/or to send out lights that purify all beings and all environments within the three thousandfold universe, etc. Therefore, having a general understanding of this concept can give more depth to spiritual practice. Reference to the three thousandfold universe occurs throughout Yungdrung Bön liturgies and visualization practices. One of the principal enlightened protectors, Sipé Gyalmo, is depicted as having three faces which represents her clairvoyance of past, present, and future events throughout the three thousandfold universe. This characteristic is reflected in the title of the divination text that relies upon her for information. It is entitled, Sidpé Gyalmo of the Six Times’ Clairvoyance of the Three Thousand fold Universe which is like a Clear Mirror. There are many other examples.
“You have a majestic posture upon a dragon throne, and your victorious sound is known throughout the entire three thousandfold universe.
“Extract from An Offering of Praise for the Supreme Wisdom Deity Sherab Mawé Sengé
“When my mind becomes free from the body and dissolves into the brain,
visions will appear to fill the three thousandfold universe.”
Extract from The Most Excellent Wisdom Windhorse Powa
Within a palace of beautiful treasure that pervades the three thousandfold universe,
displaying the perfected Body of Bön, is the manifested body of the Teacher, the principal of enlightened refuge.
I supplicate to the Lord who has loving kindness for migrating beings and who has established the blissful path of liberation for sentient beings throughout the three thousandfold universe!
“Extract from Supplication Prayer of the Lineage Lamas of the Sublime Precious Lamp, Tantra of the MA TRI
A Single World System
The layout of one world system within the three thousandfold universe is depicted two dimensionally as a vertical arrangement of phenomenal existence. However, the limitations of this kind of representation should be kept in mind. For example, the uppermost four levels of a world system are the four formless realms. These realms and their inhabitants do not have actual, physical form or precise location. So, to represent the formless with a form can be misleading unless it is understood simply as a reminder of the of their actual characteristics. And although each categorized element of the universe has detailed subcategories within subcategories, a general description is sufficient to relay the scope and overall idea.
In the very center of the world system is Mt. Meru. Above are the form and formless realms, at its base are the continents, subcontinents, mountains and oceans, and below are the realms of the hungry ghosts and the hell beings. In general, a collective of 1,000 of these world systems is considered as a minor world system. A collective of 1,000 minor world systems is considered a middling world system. A collective of 1,000 middling world systems is then a three thousandfold universe that contains one billion world systems. Each buddha has as his sphere of influence, a three thousandfold universe.
Vertically from top to bottom, each world system consists of:
The Four Formless Realms-These realms are without actual location and the inhabitants have only subtle mental ‘bodies.’ For example, the uppermost realm is the realm of infinite space.
The Seventeen Form Realms-These realms and inhabitants have a kind of physical form and location although they remain invisible to our perception. These seventeen realms are furthered grouped into the five pure places, and then four groups each containing three levels.
The Desire Realm-The inhabitants of the desire realm, to a greater or lesser degree, are governed by their sensory perceptions of pleasure and pain. The desire realm is further divided into:
The Six Desire Realms of the Gods- Four of these realms are above Mt. Meru.
Mt. Meru-At the center of the world system is Mt. Meru. Some compare Mt. Meru to Gang Tisé a.k.a Mt. Kailash. They share similarities, for example, Mt. Kailash has four sides and is the source of four great rivers. However, Mt. Meru is not a physical place as such and cannot be visited or perceived by ordinary beings whose pure perception is obscured by the five poisons. At the very center of Mt. Meru is the palace of Nampar Gyalwa. The mountain is equally above and below the surface of the ocean.
Heaven of the Thirty-three Gods-This heaven is located at the very peak of Mt. Meru. It is said that one hundred human years equals one day in this realm.
Heaven of the Four Great Kings and their retinues in each of the four directions. It is said the sun, moon, and stars are located in this heavenly expanse.
Seven Encircling Ranges of Golden Mountains, Seven Gentle lakes, and Seven Flowing Rivers- These all surround Mt. Meru at its base.
The Four Continents and Eight Subcontinents-Beyond the encircling golden mountains is a massive ocean containing the four continents and eight subcontinents that are the abode of human beings. Each continent contains an animal-shaped rock from which water flows. These are the four sources of water.
East-Lus Pakpo, the continent of those with a sublime tall body. Upon this continent is an elephant shaped rock from which water flows.
North-Dra Mi Nyen, the continent of unpleasant sound. Upon this continent is a lion shaped rock from which water flows.
West-Ba Lang Chö, continent of those who use cows. Upon this continent is a horse shaped rock from which water flows.
South-Dzambuling, continent of the dzambu tree. This is the place where buddhas appear and is considered the most supreme place to be born as a human being. Upon this continent is a peacock shaped rock from which water flows. This is the continent where we have been reborn.
From The Sutra, “For those on the outer continents, there is no virtue to support going to a higher realm. There is no wrongdoing to cause rebirth in a lower realm. The teachings of Tönpa are not developed in those places. The purpose of their lifetime is to exhaust the power of their karma. Therefore, make the aspirational request for the southern continent of Dzambu.”
Extract from Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen’s advice and instructions for the preliminary practices
The outer perimeter of the great ocean containing the continents and subcontinents is ringed with an iron fence which is surrounded by a great, blazing fire. Beneath the underground part of Mt. Meru is a column of water, and below that is a great wind. Below that are:
The Hungry Ghost Realm-The beings of this realm experience extreme agony related to insatiable hunger and thirst. Although depicted as below, in general hungry ghosts occupy the same areas as human beings although they mostly inhabit deserts and wastelands. Also, their perception of the environment is very different from human beings. Where a human being would see a river of fresh water, a hungry ghost would see a repulsive river of pus and filth.
The Eight Hot Hells-Each level of hot hell has greater suffering that the previous along with a lifespan eight times longer than the previous hell.
The Eight Cold Hells-Each level of cold hell has greater suffering that the previous along with a lifespan twenty times longer than the previous hell.
This constitutes one world system. As stated above, a collective of one billion of these constitutes one three thousandfold universe.
Understanding of the three thousandfold universe is the foundation for practice of the mandala offering to the places of refuge. This is a widespread practice among both lay and ordained practitioners.
One of the common preliminary practices for purification and generation of positive merit in order to support spiritual development is the mandala offering of the three thousandfold universe. Either using mandala rings or a hand mudra, the entire universe of continents, subcontinents, mountains, oceans, etc. is imagined as an offering to the places of refuge. The traditional Yungdrung Bön mandala is topped with the square palace of Nampar Gyalwa.
Based upon the five elements is Mt. Meru, the seven mountain ranges, the four continents, and the subcontinents together with their external and internal desirable objects.
These billion universes ornamented with suns and moons, I offer from the core of my heart.
Please accept it!
Mandala offering prayer from The Aural Transmission of Zhang Zhung
“With devotion and non-attachment, and for their complete satisfaction,
I offer to the four supreme places a golden mandala of the three thousandfold universe containing mountains, continents, and clouds of offerings filled with the riches of gods and humans.
May the abundant wealth and success of all migrating beings be established!”
Mandala offering prayer within The Heartdrop of Jamma
“Having imagined that these inconceivable offerings that satisfy desire completely fill the entire three thousandfold universe, I present them as an offering.”
Mandala offering from The Accomplishment of the Ultimate Secret Mind of the Concentrated Elixir of the External, Internal, and Secret Sipé Gyalmo
“I offer to the assembly of enlightened Medicine Deities this mandala of the precious and ornamented three thousandfold universe. Having perfected the accumulations and actually manifested enlightenment, may I and others attain the fruit of being born into an enlightened realm!”
Extract from The Summarized Sutra of the Medicine Deity, A Mala of Glorious Jewels