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.
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