Blog Archives

Removing Obstacles in Dolpo, Nepal

Muri Khenpo Nyima Künchap Rinpoche performs the Takla Mebar dokpa ritual in Dunai. Photo credit: Khenpo Nyima Künchap Rinpoche.

Recently, Muri Khenpo Nyima Künchap Rinpoche traveled to his Dolpo Bön School in Dunai Dolpo, Nepal. During his time there, he performed the Takla Mebar ritual for removing obstacles for the benefit of the local population.

Takla Mebar dokpa ritual in Dunai Dolpo, Nepal. Photo credit: Khenpo Nyima Künchap Rinpoche.

“From the syllable SO at the center of the golden locket at his heart, rays of light spin to the right. Radiating outwards throughout all phenomenal existence, they incinerate obstacles and enemies. Returning, the light is gathered together and becomes a wrathful fortress. 

He shouts the great sounds of certainty HA! and RAM! and the demons as well as those who have violated their vows fall down unconscious. He shouts with his thunderous, terrifying voice and binds into his service the gods and demons of the phenomenal universe.”

— Excerpt from The Concentrated Essence of the Red Razor

All translations and content by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

Don’t want to miss a post? Scroll to the bottom and click “Follow this blog.”

Takla Mebar dokpa. Photo credit: Khenpo Nyima Künchap Rinpoche.

A New Abbot of Barlé Gompa

Khenpo Nyima Künchap Rinpoché receiving representations of enlightened body, speech and mind.

On the 13th lunar day of the 11th month, Western date January 8, 2020, Muri Geshe Nyima Künchap Rinpoché was enthroned as the new abbot, or khenpo, of Barlé Gompa, formally known as Barlé Yungdrung  Shuk Tsal Ling located in Barlé village Dolpo, Nepal. Both His Holiness 34th Menri Trizin Lungtok Dawa Dargyal Rinpoché and His Eminence Menri Ponlop Yangtön Thrinley Nyima Rinpoché requested of Geshe Nyima Künchap that he become the khenpo of Barlé Yungdrung Shuk Tsal Ling.

At the enthronement ceremony, Khenpo Nyima Künchap Rinpoché was presented with a mandala offering as well as representations of enlightened body, speech and mind. Many villagers attended the ceremony at Menri Monastery and offered Khenpo Rinpoché silk khatas. On this special occasion, an auspicious light snow began to fall over the monastery. This was the first snowfall in 23 years.

For more information about Barlé gompa, see previous post: https://ravencypresswood.com/2018/08/11/5053/

Khenpo Nyima Künchap Rinpoche with HE Menri Ponlop Rinpoche after his enthronement watching the auspicious snowfall at Menri Monastery.

All translations and content by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved.

No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

Don’t want to miss a post? Scroll to the bottom and click “Follow this blog.”

Practice of the Great Lama and His Two Sons

The Great Lama Drenpa Namkha

Within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, the 10th lunar day of each month is dedicated to the practice of the great lama Drenpa Namkha and his two sons, Tséwang Rikdzin and Pema Tongdrol. During 2020, these lunar days coincide with the Western dates:

  • January 5th
  • February 4th
  • March 4th
  • April 3rd
  • June 1st
  • June 30th
  • July 29th
  • August 28th
  • September 26th
  • October 26th
  • November 24th
  • December 24th

“EMAHO!

Now, during this negative time, rainfall does not come when needed and the nature spirits related to water, air and earth have been harmed. You are surrounded by the powerful nature spirits and their retinues. I pray to the Great Lama and his two sons, to the subduer of demons, Drenpa Namkha bring timely rainfall!

Now, during this negative time, there is a lot of fighting and violence and many sentient beings die because of weapons. You are surrounded by the fierce, male and female yidam deities. I pray to the Great Lama and his two sons, to the subduer of demons, Drenpa Namkha stop the fighting and the approaching armies!

Look upon me with your unbiased compassion morning and night during the past, present and future! Turn back both seen and unseen enemies! My present and future refuge and protector, bless me to accomplish all of my intentions!”

— Excerpt from Supplication Prayer to the Great Lama Drenpa Namkha

All translations and content by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved.

No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

Don’t want to miss a post? Scroll to the bottom and click “Follow this blog.”

Anniversary of Nangtön Dawa Gyaltsen Rinpoche, Founder of Yungdrung Ling Monastery

Ralak Yungdrung Ling Monastery in Tibet. Photo credit: Unknown.

The anniversary of celebrating Nangtön Dawa Gyaltsen Rinpoche is the 8th lunar day of the 11th month. On the Western calendar in 2020 this date coincides with January 3rd. He was born during the Fire Dragon year of 1796 and founded Ralak Yungdrung Ling Monastery on the bank of the Yarlung Tsangpo River in 1834. This monastery developed into one of the largest and most prestigious centers for learning within the Yungdrung Bön tradition. A branch monastery of Yungdrung Ling, Shel Puk Monastery, once had a life-sized gilt-bronze statue of Nagtön Dawa Gyaltsen. He passed away in 1863.

Supplication Prayer to the Lord of Refuge Dawa Gyaltsen

“You, a teacher born into the Amdo family lineage of Nangzhik, you spread the unrivaled Bon teachings of the White AH throughout your homeland.

You embody the essence of all buddhas by having having perfected the exalted qualities of the major and minor characteristics.

To the Buddha who manifested in human form, I supplicate!”

Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

Don’t want to miss a post? Scroll to the bottom and click “Follow this blog.”

Yungdrung Bön in Mongolia

His Eminence Menri Ponlop Yangtön Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche officiates the opening of Thegchen Zhidé Dargyé LIng. Photo credit: Unknown

On December 19, 2019 a new Yungdrung Bön temple was officially inaugurated by His Eminence Menri Ponlop Yangtön Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche upon the request of its founder, Khenpo Menri Geshe Zöpa Gyatso Rinpoche. The temple is named Thekchen Zhidé Dargyé Ling, Land of the Great Vehicle where Peace and Happiness Flourish. On December 15th, His Eminence performed the rituals for consecrating and opening the eye for the new deity statues for the temple. On December 16th, His Eminence met with special guests and those who helped to establish the new temple.

The public looks on as HE Menri Ponlop Rinpoche officially opens the new temple in Mongolia. Photo credit: Unknown

Beginning on December 17th, HE Menri Ponlop Rinpoche gave the oral transmission for the practice of Sherab Jamma and Laughter of the Khandro to a gathering of monks and laypeople. On December 19th, His Eminence officially opened the new Yungdrung Bön temple, Thekchen Zhidé Dargyé Ling. In attendance were representatives of the Jonang Religious tradition, the Nepal Zhang Zhung organization, the Nepal Bönpo organization, and the Dolpo Tapihritsa School. After His Eminence cut the ribbon, the guests entered the new temple. Representations of enlightened body, speech and mind were presented which was followed by the ritual of the great lama Drenpa Namkha. After the ritual had concluded, each of the representatives had an opportunity to give a short speech.

Afterwards, HE Menri Ponlop Rinpoche spoke about the spread of Yungdrung Bön into Mongolia in the distant past. In 888 A.D., the Mongolian slave Sokpo Trel Lakchen received full ordination as a Yungdrung Bön monk from Muzi Salzang. At that time, he received the ordination name Tribar Tsultrim. Afterwards, Bön declined in Mongolia. Therefore, this is not the first spread of Bön into the country. However, through Khenpo Menri Geshe Zöpa Gyatso Rinpoche the Bön teachings are being restored in Mongolia.

He also relayed a message from His Holiness 34th Menri Trizin Rinpoche that he offered his full support and blessings and gifted the temple a golden statue of Nyammé Sherap Gyaltsen. From Yongdzin Mawé Wangpo Rinpoche, the temple was gifted both scriptures and a large thangkha. HE Menri Ponlop Rinpoche gifted the temple a golden statue of the great lama Drenpa Namkha.

Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

Don’t want to miss a post? Scroll to the bottom and click “Follow this blog.”

Anniversary of the Buddha’s Twelfth Deed: Demonstrating How to Pass Beyond Suffering

Lord Buddha lying in the sleeping lion posture and obtaining parinirvana in the presence of gods, humans and lu.

On the new moon day of the first Winter month (10th lunar month), Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché demonstrated the truth of impermanence by leaving behind the container of his physical body. In 2019, this date coincides with December 26th on the Western calendar.

“Although the body of a Victorious One is without birth and death,

in order to show an example of the impermanent character of phenomena,

you demonstrated the way of passing beyond suffering into the space of the essence of Bön, and manifested within the vast expanse of the true nature which is like the sky.

I prostrate to you, Fully Accomplished One!”

At the age of eighty-two shen years (8,200 human years), the enlightened Lord Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché began to illustrate the truth of impermanence for sentient beings by allowing the constituents of his physical body to become weak and manifest an illness. Alarmed, his disciples performed rituals and administered medicine. In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of these methods according to relative truth, the Buddha temporarily recovered. However, after a bit of time he caused his physical condition to again weaken. This provided an opportunity for the Buddha to give teachings to his disciples regarding the process of death. At dusk on the new moon day of the first Winter month at the nine-leveled yungdrung mountain, Lord Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché adopted the posture of the sleeping lion and demonstrated the accomplishment of passing beyond suffering. After cremation of his physical body, the relics from the ash were distributed among the gods, the humans and the lu [Sanskrit: naga] as objects of faith and devotion.

One year later, an assembly of thirteen yungdrung sempa [Sanskrit:bodhisattva] compiled the teachings of Lord Buddha. Time passed and the era of being able to rely upon the physical presence of the Buddha drew to  a close. Thus began the era of relying upon the Buddha’s speech. Lord Tönpa Shenrap’s successor, Mucho Demdruk, descended from the sky into Olmo Lungring and began to turn the wheel of Bön for gods and humans. From among his disciples were “the six intellectual ornaments of the world.” These six scholars translated the teachings of Lord Buddha into their respective native languages of Tazik, India, China, and Trom and therefore were able to spread the teachings of enlightenment in every direction.

To learn more about the 12 deeds of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche, go to the bottom of this post and type ‘deed’ into the search box to find previous posts.

Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

Don’t want to miss a post? Scroll to the bottom and click “Follow this blog.”

Yungdrung Bön in Thailand

HH 34 Menri Trizin Rinpoche, Khen Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche and the founder of Himalaya Zhang Zhung Dzogchen Ling, Khen Akarpa Rinpoche. Photo credit: Unknown

On December 12, 2019, Himalaya Zhang Zhung Dzogchen Ling celebrated their 10 year anniversary with special guests His Holiness 34th Menri Trizin Lungtok Dawa Dargye Rinpoche and His Eminence Khenchen Lungtok Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche. This Yungdrung Bön center was founded in Bangkok, Thailand in 2009 by Khen Rinpoche Akarpa Chime Lozang. Some of the events to mark the special occasion included a talk on the subject of Mawé Sengé, performance of the Three-fold Practice of the Mother Tantra, the sacred dance of the enlightened protector Yeshé Walmo, and offering the body through the practice of chod. Khen Akarpa Rinpoche gave a talk on the view, meditation and conduct according to the unsurpassed vehicle of the great perfection.

HH 34th Menri Trizin Rinpoche presents Khen Akarpa Rinpoche with a thangkha of the successive Menri abbots. Photo credit: Unknown

Khen Rinpoche Lungtok Tenpa Yungdrung spoke about the history of the great perfection teachings of The Aural Transmission of Zhang Zhung including the five-fold advice of Lama Dawa Gyaltsen. His Holiness 34th Menri Trizin Lungtok Dawa Dargye Rinpoche presented Himalaya Zhang Zhung Dzogchen Ling with a thangkha of the successive abbots of Menri Monastery whose central figure is the saint His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoche.

Performance of the sacred dance of the protector Yeshe Walmo. Photo credit: Unknown

Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

Don’t want to miss a post? Scroll to the bottom and click “Follow this blog.”

The Lotus Hat of the Yungdrung Bön

Religious festival at Menri Monastery 2015. Photo credit: Unknown

Within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, the lotus hat is worn by those who have received the full ordination of a renunciant. The shape of the hat resembles a full, blue lotus. In general, it represents the purity of perfecting the rules of completely pure discipline. It is surrounded by either four, six or eight lotus petals that represent purification throughout the four directions. The thread which holds the lotus petals to the hat represents the activity of subduing throughout the intermediate directions. The twenty-five pleats represent the enlightened state of the five buddha families. At the crown of the head, there is an opening to attach the crown ornament which extends from the hat towards the sky.

Tönpa Tritsuk Gyalwa.

The founder of the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche showed the path of renunciation by becoming a monk at the age of 31. This was his ninth deed. (For more information about the Buddha’s ninth deed, see previous article: https://ravencypresswood.com/2017/06/24/buddha-tonpa-shenraps-ninth-deed/ ) At his ordination, the six kinds of garments for a Yungdrung Bön renunciant fell from the sky. One of these garments was the lotus hat.

HE Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche wearing a lotus hat with the strips of cloth hidden underneath. Photo credit: Unknown

The long, thin strips of cloth that hang from the base of the hat near the ears are not mentioned within the texts. Therefore, the esteemed Yungdrung Bön spiritual master and scholar His Eminence Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche has stated that although it has become traditional to add them to the hat, they are not needed. Because of this, he sometimes takes these strips of cloth and places them inside the hat before putting it on.

All translations and content by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

Don’t want to miss a post? Scroll to the bottom and click “Follow this blog.”

The Meaning & Benefit of Offering Torma

100,000 torma offering to the enlightened protector Sipé Gyalmo. Photo credit: Unknown

The offering of torma is a common practice within the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition. The Tibetan term “torma” [gtor ma] literally means “something that is thrown, tossed, or strewn.” This refers to the action of many kinds of torma being tossed into the sky as an act of offering. However, not every torma is offered in this way. External torma can be offerings of the three white things: butter, milk, and salt-free cheese, and the three sweet things: honey, crystallized sugar, and dark sugar such molasses or maple syrup. External torma are also commonly made from roasted barley flour called tsampa which is mixed with sacred substances and shaped according to the particular kind of offering being made. In general, peaceful offering torma of this kind have a round base and wrathful torma have a triangular base. One of the many kinds of daily offering torma within the Yungdrung Bön tradition is the water torma which is one of the four daily offerings of generosity.

Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché was born into the human realm in the ancient land of Tazik. He only traveled into the country of Tibet one time. During this brief visit, his teachings to the Tibetan people were centered around compassion and the use of torma as offerings as a substitute for killing animals to use as offerings.

Geshe Nyima Kunchap Rinpoche and Geshe Tenzin Yeshe Rinpoche prepare to perform the daily water torma offering. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

Every kind of torma offering has three parts: the preparation, the main practice and the conclusion. The specifics of these are according to the particular practice being performed and the kind of torma being offered. In general, When preparing the torma, the hands and utensils are washed and any container or plate used to present the torma must be clean and without any defect or damage. After being properly made and arranged, it must be ritually cleansed with incense and water. Having generated an intention of compassion and generosity, the torma is offered to a clean place. When possible, the torma are tossed onto roofs as being a place free of the defilement of having been walked upon and also being a higher place to offer to higher beings. For offering to lower beings, the torma are placed upon the ground in a clean place.

“Come here now and keep your protection vow! Accept these offerings of smoke and torma! Act as a companion to me! Expel the causes for harm and obstacles! Act to accomplish this entrusted activity!” 

— Extract from The Invocation of Chammo Lamlha, Goddess of Travel

Various peaceful and wrathful torma offerings. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

The recipients of the torma offerings are both the enlightened beings as well as the six kinds of beings within cyclic existence. The recipients can be classified in many ways. They can be classified into four categories known as “The Four Guests.” These are 1) the guests of reverence which are the enlightened beings, 2) the guests of exalted qualities which are the powerful, worldly protectors, 3) the guests who are among the eight classes of spirits and demons, and 4) the guests of compassion or charity. We offer to the enlightened beings to purify our sacred commitments with them, elicit their blessings and protection, and to develop our positive qualities of devotion and generosity. We offer to the worldly protectors in order to elicit their powerful and magical protection. We offer to the eight classes of spirits and demons in order to repay any karmic debts that we might owe to them so as to pacify any feelings of revenge or harm that they might harbor against us. And we offer to the guests of charity to alleviate their suffering and misery.

Torma offerings for the lu. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

“I offer this inexhaustible, decorated torma to the twenty-five classes of lu* who are surrounded by millions of friends and associates. Because we dig the earth, break the rocks, chop down trees, drain the ponds and streams, create contaminated smoke, and commit immoral acts near the homes and places of the lu; they faint, go mad, become angry, or grow weak.

Regardless of whatever violence, disagreements, or ill will have occurred in the past, because of offering this torma of nectar, may the diseases of the lu be pacified! May their hopes and wishes be fulfilled!”

— Extract from The Ritual of Regularly Giving Torma to the Lu

*Lu [Sanskrit: naga]

In general, the offering of torma increases wealth and resources. Secret torma is the offering of the body such as in the practice of chod. This conquers the view of the self as inherently existing. Ultimately secret torma is maintaining the view without self-grasping. This increases realization and is the greatest of all torma offerings.

Additionally, by offering torma we naturally practice six of the ten perfections.

  1. By giving food and water, we engage in the practice of perfecting generosity.
  2. By ensuring that everything is clean, we engage in the practice of perfecting discipline.
  3. By offering charity without greed or resentment, we engage in the practice of perfecting patience.
  4. By putting forth the effort to continually offer torma, we engage in the practice of perfecting joyful effort.
  5. By abiding in meditation, we engage in the practice of perfecting concentration.
  6. By understanding the emptiness of the giver, the recipient and what is given, we engage in the practice of perfecting wisdom.

The ritual specialist Geshe Nyima Kunchap Rinpoche offering a water torma to the lu. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

By offering torma we engage in the vow of individual liberation through our act of generosity and therefore eliminating the mind of harming other beings, and we engage in the bodhisattva vow through offering to the guests of charity. Additionally, our longevity, merit, good fortune and personal power increase. And we purify the causes to be reborn into the lower realms.

Yidam torma of the lama, yidam and khandro of the Mother Tantra. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

It is important to note the difference between “offering torma” and “yidam torma.” Although both are referred to as “torma” they serve very different purposes. A yidam torma is also prepared from tsampa mixed with sacred substances and has a specific form and attributes according to the associated meditational deity or yidam. However, the purpose of the yidam torma is to act as a sacred support for the presence of the deity during empowerments and meditation upon the yidam. This kind of torma is not offered. Once it has been consecrated, it is placed in the highest position upon the shrine and treated as the sacred abode of the deity.

All translations and content by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved. No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.

Don’t want to miss a post? Scroll to the bottom and click “Follow this blog.”

%d bloggers like this: