Category Archives: Yungdrung Bon nuns

The Next Generation of Female Practitioners

Young nuns of Tsüngon Rayna Menling in Dolanji, India. Photo credit: Dorrie Ameen

Giving Support to the Dead

Nuns of Tsüngon Rayna Menling in Dolanji, India gather for a tea ceremony. Photo Credit: Khedup Gyatso

In the Yungdrung Bön tradition, when someone dies and enters the forty-nine day period of the intermediate state between death and rebirth, there are many ways to offer support for the one who has died. One of these ways is the Mang Ja , or large tea ceremony. During the tea ceremony sponsored by the family of the deceased, each nun is given tea, a snack, and a small donation. Afterwards, everyone participates in offering prayers for the deceased in order to alleviate their suffering in the transition between death and rebirth, and to support their liberation from cyclic existence. Traditionally, a tea ceremony is sponsored each of the seven weeks of the intermediate state, or bardo. However, if this is not possible due to the financial circumstances of the family, a tea ceremony during the first and seventh week, or at least the seventh week is sponsored. Through the offering of this donation and sustenance to the ordained, merit is generated on behalf of the deceased. This merit, together with the prayers, acts as a positive support to alleviate suffering, support the circumstances for a positive rebirth, and ultimately, lead to complete liberation.

Offering Sacred Sound

Nuns of Rayna Menling at Tashi Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India.

Receiving Blessings

Rayna Menling nuns receiving a memorial chorten of 33rd Menri Trizen from HE Menri Lopon Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche.

Sacred Music of Method & Wisdom

Yungdrung Bon nuns practice together. Photo credit: Mary Ellen McCourt© All Rights Reserved

In the Yungdrung Bön tradition, there are many practices that incorporate the use of a drum and sil nyen, or Bönpo flat bell.  The drum symbolizes method.  The sil nyen symbolizes wisdom.  Using these two sacred instruments together symbolizes the unification of method and wisdom.

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