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667th Birth Anniversary of the Second Buddha, H.H. the 1st Menri Trizin Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen

Celebration of Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen at Menri Monastery. Photo credit: Unknown

The 5th day of the 1st lunar month is the birth celebration of His Holiness the 1st Menri Trizin Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen Rinpoché who is known as the second buddha in the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition. In 2023, this date coincides with February 24th on the Western calendar. His Holiness Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen Rinpoché was a reincarnation of Yikyi Khye’u Chung, one of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche’s sons. He reunited the three transmission lineages of sutra, tantra and dzogchen that had become widely dispersed, and he founded one of the largest Yungdrung Bön monasteries in Tibet, Tashi Menri Ling.

Born in 1356 in the region of Gyalrong into the esteemed Dru lineage, as a child, he could recite mantra and read scripture without having studied. At the age of ten, he decided to become a monk. In 1387 at the age of 31, he entered the prestigious Yeru Wensaka monastery and eventually became its abbot.   While he was traveling in Eastern Tibet, Yeru Wensaka was destroyed by flooding and mudslides. Upon returning, he searched the ruins of the monastery for any salvageable artifacts. With these precious objects, he established Tashi Menri Monastery on higher ground within the same valley. It was 1405 and he was 50 years old.

In 1415 at the age of 60, he left the shell of his physical body. His body levitated high into the air, but due to the fervent prayers of his disciples, the body returned to the earth. During the cremation, rainbows appeared and a large bird circled three times around the cremation area before disappearing into the West.

Today,  Bönpos will spend the day with their eyes looking skyward. If they are lucky enough to be visited by a vulture on this day, it is said to be an auspicious sign of having directly received the blessings of the one known as the Second Buddha, the Unequaled One, His Holiness Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen Rinpoché.

Among his numerous writings, is the commonly recited Eight-branched Aspiration Prayer, Mönlam Yenlak Gyepa. When offering aspiration prayers, we imagine that every sentient being is offering the prayers in unison with us. This limitless group of beings includes humans, nonhumans, unseen spirits, and those we consider “enemies.” All sound is perceived as the sound of the prayer being recited and the vastness of space is imagined as filled with buddhas and bodhisattvas that are delighted by the virtuous activity that spontaneously activates their immeasurable compassion. By offering the prayers in this way, and then dedicating the merit of the practice for the welfare of all sentient beings, the power of the practice is inconceivable and the benefit is sealed and can never be destroyed. 

The English language translation of the Eight-branched Aspiration Prayer, Mönlam Yenlak Gyepa is publicly available for personal use and can be downloaded from the Publications page of this website. Click on the Publications tab above and then scroll down to the download link.

Tibetan translations by Raven Cypress Wood

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Special Day for Healing Waters Practice

His Eminence Menri Yongdzin Rinpoche bestows blessed water. Photo credit and copyright: Samaya Producciones.

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 Waters Mantra 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!”

Sigyal Drakngak Walmo, the enlightened deity who protects from contagious disease through empowered water

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.” 

— From The Heartdrop of Jamma

The English, Spanish, and French translations of The Heartdrop of Jamma have been published and are available to anyone through this link:

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.

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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Nangzhig: Largest Yungdrung Bön Monastery in Tibet

Nangzhig Monastery edit

Nangzhig Monastery’s formal name is Nangzhig Gyaltsen Puntsok Ling, Marvelous Land of the Buddha’s Teachings which Destroys Appearances.  It is also known as Nangzhig Tashi Yungdrung Ling, Land of the Auspicious Yungdrung which Destroys Appearances.  It is located in the Amdo Ngawa region and is the largest Yungdrung Bön monastery in Tibet.  The monastery was founded by Yönten Gyaltsen in 1108.  Similar to many other monasteries, Nangzhig Monastery was destroyed during the cultural revolution that began in 1959 and many of its religious articles were hidden away.  In 1980 when the People’s Republic of China began to allow more religious practice, reconstruction and reinstallment of religious artifacts was organized by Gya ‘Ob Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.

Nangzhig monastery complex cropped

The monastery complex is quite extensive and includes multiple temples, multiple dormitories for monks and living quarters for senior lamas, and three large chortens among other structures.   During large festivals, the monastery has the capacity to house two thousand monks.

Nangzhig students

Nangzhig Monastery has both a dialectic college and a meditation college.  There are approximately a thousand monks living there and more than two hundred new students arrive each year.  Being a major center for learning and educational exchange in Tibet, the monastery has multiple copies of the Bön canon and over two thousand blocks for printing the texts.  Monks attending the dialectic college must attend classes and debate every day except Sunday and during retreats.  Once the students of the dialectic college have completed ten years of study and successfully passed their final examinations, they receive the degree of Geshe, which is similar to a doctorate of philosophy and religion.  Monks attending the meditation college must complete a three-year retreat based upon the A Tri teachings.

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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Sacred Yungdrung Bon Temple in the Himalayas

Shrine inside the Yungdrung Bon temple of Yanggon Thongdrol Puntsok Ling in the village of Tsarka in Dolpo, Nepal


Gathering of Power

His Eminence Menri Lopon Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche leads the community during a tantric ritual at the Yungdrung Bon monastery of Menri in India


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