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The Importance of Mindful Speech

The sacred texts are considered a manifestation of enlightened speech and are respected in the way that they are created, handled, and stored. Scriptures are written with ink of gold, silver, copper, turquoise, or other precious substances.

From the point of view of the Yungdrung Bön religious philosophy, there are three doors through which we act: through the door of the body, through the door of speech, and through the door of the mind. Therefore, all actions whether positive, negative, or neutral are performed through these three doors. From this knowledge, spiritual practitioners apply the guidance of the Ten Virtuous Actions of Body, Speech, and Mind.

The Three Virtuous Actions of the Body:

  1. Rather than killing, protecting the life of other beings.
  2. Rather than stealing, practicing generosity.
  3. Rather than engaging in sexual misconduct or causing others to break their vows, keeping one’s own vows and respecting the vows of others.

The Four Virtuous Actions of Speech:

  1. Rather than lying, speaking the truth.
  2. Rather than creating discord, speaking in a way that brings people together.
  3. Rather than using hurtful speech, speaking gently and kindly.
  4. Rather than gossiping or mindlessly talking, speaking in a useful way or reciting prayers.

The Three Virtuous Actions of the Mind:

  1. Rather than coveting the possessions and accomplishments of others, being generous and open.
  2. Rather than wishing harm to others or feeling resentful, cultivating the desire to help others.
  3. Rather than holding wrong views, practicing the authentic teachings 

The importance of mindful speech is emphasized by it having four guidelines for behavior when the body and mind have only three. According to the esteemed spiritual master Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche in his Most Profound Sky Treasury:

“The conceptual mind is like a king and speech is like his minister. The minister accomplishes the king’s commands but the king alone is useless to do anything.

Similarly, having stopped countless offenses by restraining speech through mindfulness, the negative faults of the mind are never established.”

According to the 22nd Menri Trizin Sonam Lodro Rinpoche, also known as Sherap Gongyal, in his 43 Trainings for an Enlightened Mind:

“Even for someone who has entered into the Great Vehicle, the most superior practice,

if they talk a lot, their concentration can become deluded.

Without commenting on the good or bad of self or others, contemplate what is inexpressible and unmodified.”

And further,

“When harsh words are used to destroy the mind of others,

it will degenerate the practice of generating the mind of enlightenment.

Because of that, it is improper to destroy the mind of others with rough speech.

Therefore, renounce the use of harsh words.”

And his advice for bringing slander and disregard to the spiritual path:

“Even though someone continually expresses unpleasant things about me to the entire world,

I will maintain a mind of kindness and speak about their good qualities.”

The Tibetan syllabary is thought of as sacred rather than just an ordinary alphabet since these are the syllables used to record the guidance and teachings of the buddhas. Because of the sacred nature of the Tibetan syllabary, it is used as a mantra in practices that purify the previous negative expressions of speech as well as bless and empower present and future expressions of speech. Having transformed one’s self into the enlightened deity of speech, Chetak Ngomé, the Tibetan alphabet, known as the ALI KALI or the vowels and consonants, is recited while visualizing the syllables spinning on the tongue while both radiating and receiving wisdom light which purifies and blesses every aspect of speech.

“This ALI KALI destroys the negativities of speech and increases the power of mantra recitation 100,000 times.  In the morning when the crow leaves its nest, recite it 21 times.  In the evening when the crow returns to its nest, recite it 21 times.  Do this recitation continuously and as isolated speech [without interrupting it with ordinary speech]. There is immense power in doing a million recitations.  By doing this, the power and capacity of Lishu Taring blazed.”

— From The ALI KALI, the Cause for Enlightened Words and Source of the Scriptures

Having completed the recitation of any mantra, if the ALI KALI is recited three times at the end, it is said that it will increase the power of the mantra by 100,000 times. Similarly, it is traditional that at the conclusion of any kind of recitation of prayers or mantras, Bönpos will recite the mantra OM DHAR MA BHI SHU DHÉ TSA TRA HUNG PÉ and then blow upon their trengwa, or mala. This specific mantra is said to then empower the ordinary speech of the day with the positive qualities of the recitations.

These are only a few examples of the advice and methods given by the enlightened ones and spiritual masters that teach the importance of mindful speech and how to purify and bless speech in order to support our spiritual development.

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.

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Ripening the Mind-stream with the Practice of Realizing Impermanence

A traditional offering of butter lamps for the deceased. Photo credit: Unknown

In the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, the practice of realizing impermanence is used as a method to ripen the mind-stream of an individual in order to prepare a solid foundation for further spiritual development. By reflecting upon the truth of the impermanent nature of all worldly phenomena, the wild mind that craves entertainment and distraction, and constantly seeks things to acquire or posses, is tamed. When the truth of impermanence is deeply realized rather than merely understood intellectually, the mind has a more open and relaxed relationship with worldly phenomena. Positive experiences such as love and joy are more appreciated since they are understood to be fleeting. Patience with discomfort and suffering is easier knowing that it too will not last. For the spiritual practitioner, the realization of the truth of impermanence turns the mind away from meaningless distraction and towards the spiritual path.

Traditionally, in order to deeply realize impermanence, the practitioner would reflect upon worldly phenomena. For example, thinking about how each season has come and gone since childhood, or the constant changing of the weather. Often the practitioner would go to the cremation ground or cemetery and reflect upon the fact that no matter how powerful, rich, famous, or adored a human being has ever been, no one has been able to live forever. In modern times, the truth of impermanence can be seen throughout the world.

As a support for the practice of realizing impermanence, the English translation of The Chanted Verse of Impermanence from the Aural Transmission of Zhang Zhung is being made publicly available for personal use. While undergoing the practice of realizing impermanence as a foundational practice, this prayer is chanted before and/or after a fervent period of reflection. Once impermanence has been realized and the mind has been tamed, this prayer can be chanted daily as a reminder and motivation to remain focused upon meaningful activities of body, speech and mind. The translation can be downloaded from this link:

“Even though all phenomena change, I alone expect to be permanent.

How sad!

Bless me that the realization of impermanence will arise in my mind-stream!

When thinking of death, I am instantly without distraction, but then I become lazy and procrastinate.

How sad!

Bless me that the realization of impermanence will arise in my mind-stream!”

—From The Chanted Verse of Impermanence

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.

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3rd Anniversary of the Parinirvana of H.H. the 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoché

Menri Monastery shrine dedicated to H.H. 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoché. Photo credit: Khenpo Nyima Künchap Rinpoché.

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 2020 this date coincides with September 11th. On this day, Yungdrung Bön religious centers worldwide will recognize this auspicious day with special prayers and rituals.

Golden statue of HH 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoché in his home village.

Supplication Prayer to H.H. the 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoché

“The omniscient wisdom of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions is condensed into a single essence in you, Highest One.

You carry out the enlightened activities of spreading the vast and profound teachings of Tönpa Shenrap.

To you, Lungtok Tenpé Nyima, I supplicate and pray.”


To the lama who is the embodiment of all of the Victors and spiritual masters,

who acts principally through the accomplishment of Bön for sentient beings who are as limitless as the sky,

I offer prostrations with my body, prostrating with my arms, legs and head!

I prostrate with my speech, chanting with a joyous and inspired melody!

I prostrate with my mind, prostrating with single-pointed motivation and devotion!

May the negative actions and defilements of my three doors become purified!”

— From Offerings for the Lama

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.

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The Mind of Generosity

His Holiness 34th Menri Trizin Rinpoche and other Menri monks offering the mandala. Photo credit: Unknown


With devotion and non-attachment, and for their complete satisfaction,

I offer to the four supreme places a golden mandala of the three thousand-fold 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!”

— From the publication The Heartdrop of Jamma, the Loving Mother

For more information or to order the publication, see previous post:


Practicing Generosity and Non-attachment

His Eminence Menri Ponlop Yangtön Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche being offered a mandala representing all inner and outer offerings. Photo credit: Unknown

“Mandala Offering


Within a golden mandala of a boundless buddha realm are arranged heaps of beautiful and brightly shining precious jewels.

These vast clouds of offerings, both real and imagined, that include the completely fulfilling and marvelous wealth and riches of both gods and humans,

I and all other sentient beings present this offering to the three precious jewels in order to perfect the two accumulations of merit and wisdom.

Please accept this with your compassionate blessings!”

— From The Accomplishment of Purifying Defilements with DU TRI SU, A Lamp that Clears Away the Darkness and Shakes the Depths of Cyclic Existence

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.

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