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About Bon

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Under the Guidance of the Abbott of Bon, the Bon Foundations supports Menri Monastery (Medicine Mountain), situated in Northern India, through provides basic needs including food, clothing, shelter, and education to the monks, nuns, and children of Menri as they are the future of Bon.  The Bon Foundation also helps to maintain the magnificent monastery complex known as The Shining City so that it can continue to inspire residents, practitioners, scholars and sitters to work together to preserve this extraordinary ancient culture.

The Origin of Bön

Bon originated in Olmo Lungring—Ol symbolizes the unborn; Mo the undiminishing; Lung Tonpa Shenrab’s prophetic words; and Ring his everlasting compassion.

Olmo Lungring constitutes one-third of the world and is described as an eight-petalled lotus under a sky. The inner region contains palaces, rivers, and parks. Its center rises Mount G-Yung-Drung Gutseg, symbolizing permanence, indestructibility, and the Nine Ways of Bon. At the base, four rivers flow towards the four cardinal directions.

To the South, Barpo Sogye, and Tonpo Shenrab’s birthplace.

To the West and North, Tonpa Shenrab’s wives’ and children’s palaces.

To the East, the temple Shampo Lhatse.

The intermediate region has twelve cities, four of which align with the cardinal directions. In contrast, the third region includes the outer land. An ocean and snowy mountains encircle these regions.

Access to Olmo Lungring is gained by the arrow way named after Tonpa Shenrab shot an arrow to create a passage through an impenetrable mountain range.

Some scholars relate the Olmo Lungring to Mount Kailash and its four rivers. Others refer to the Middle East and Persia at the time of Cyrus the Great. To Bonpo, geographic identification is less important than the mythological origins of their religion. As Lopon Tenzin Namdak pointed out, symbolic descriptions that combine history, geography, and mythology are well-known in ancient scriptures.

Lungtok Tenpai Nyima, His Holiness Menri Trizin 33rd

In 1929 in Kyongtsang, Amdo, on the 15th day of the 5th lunar month, Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoché was born in Tibet. He learned to read, write, and chant in the monastery of Phuntsok Dargyé Ling at the age of eight.

At 25, he completed his Geshé Degree under Lopön Tenzin Lodro Gyatso Rinpoché. Then, the following year, he traveled South to the Bön province of Gyalrong, where he printed copies of the Bön Kanjur. After gathering materials and using mules to carry more than 100 volumes of the sacred texts, he made an arduous six-month journey back to his monastery.

In 1969, he assumed his duties as the 33rd Abbot of Menri Monastery. He led the re-establishment of Menri Monastery in Dolanji. After years of tireless efforts, he displayed the truth of impermanence. He passed into nirvana on the 27th day of the 7th lunar month in 2017.

Dawa Dargyal Rinpoche, His Holiness Menri Trizin 34th

On January 1, 2018, four months following the death of His Holiness Menri Trizin 33rd Lungtok Tenpai Nyima

Reading List

The following publications are recommended as useful for those interested in Bon studies. We are grateful to the Ligmincha Store for their annotations on the following books. Most of these books can be ordered through www.ligminchastore.org, and some are available on www.amazon.com.

GENERAL INTRODUCTIONS TO BON

BON DZOGCHEN

OTHER TOPICS/STUDIES OF BON

Female Buddhas:
Women of Enlightenment in Tibetan Mystical Art

Dawa Dargyal Rinpoche, His Holiness Menri Trizin 34th

On January 1, 2018, four months following the death of His Holiness Menri Trizin 33rd Lungtok Tenpai Nyima, a Menri Geshe–Dawa Dargyal–was chosen to succeed him as the 34th Menri Trizin by means of a unique process. The Bon Foundation extends its congratulations to H.H. Menri Trizin 34th, Geshe Dawa Dargyal Rinpoche! An accomplished practitioner of Yungdrung Bon, he worked closely and faithfully with H. H. Menri Trizin 33rd in the administrative oversight of Menri. We are so happy to offer him our very best wishes and support.

A Brief Biography of His Holiness the 34th Menri Trizin Lungtok Dawa Dargyal Rinpoche

His Holiness the 34th Menri Trizin Lungtok Dawa Dargyal Rinpoche, the spiritual head of the world Bön community, is from the Do-me region in Eastern Tibet. Born November 29, 1972 to Pelyön Bumsel and Luyang Chukmo, his birth name was Norbu Sampel. His birthplace, known as Zingchu, is located in the area of Jadur Ngönmo and Dungri Karpo mountains near Pel Shenten Gamel Yungdrung Dargyal Ling monastery.

In 1983, at the age of eleven, he entered Gamel Monastery, where the head lama Khyungtsa Tenpa Gongpel Ripoche cut his hair and gave him the name Zöpa Tsöndrü. In this way, he began monastic life, and took the five basic precepts of a genyen from the learned Lopon Kelzang Dargyal. At the age of seventeen, he took the vows of a novice monk with Gamel Monastery’s Khenpo Shérap Tarchin Rinpoche and the great Lopon Kelzang Dargyal, who gave him the name Tsultrim Nyima. In 1992, he officially entered the Dialectic School at Gamel Monastery where he completed his Geshe degree in 1996.

In 1994, he witnessed the long-awaited return visit to Tibet of the 33rd Menri Trizin, His Holiness Lungtok Tenpé Nyima. During this visit, the two would meet for the first time, and the future 34th Menri Trizin was able to take the 250 vows of a fully ordained monk from the 33rd Menri Trizin, who gave him the name Dawa Dargyal Wangpo. Thus it would come to pass that the 34th Abbot, named Dawa (“moon”), followed after the 33rd Abbot, named Nyima (“sun”), forming an auspicious connection like the moon proceeding in the path of the sun.

When he was 25, he had the aspiration to study at Pel Shenten Menri Ling Monastery, the main monastic seat of the Yungdrung Bön tradition, which had been reestablished by the 33rd Menri Trizin in Himachal Pradesh, India. He eventually made the difficult journey to India with his fellow monk Tapkhé Gyatso, and arrived at Menri Monastery in October, 1997.

In accordance with the tradition and strict rules of Menri Monastery, he retook the twenty-five vows of a novice, and became one of the ordained monks of Menri Monastery. He entered the Menri Dialectic School, where he studied mainly with His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin, and Menri Ponlob Thinley Nyima Rinpoche, along with many other Géshés and teachers. While pursuing his studies, Rinpoche also held a variety of jobs in the monastery, serving as the Treasurer, Disciplinarian, and Vice President at the Dialectic School. He was also the Chief Treasurer of Menri Monastery, Treasurer of the Yogi Temple, and a member of Menri-tshang. When circumstances allowed, he also taught students in the philosophy classes. In 2012, at the age of 39, he was awarded the title of Géshé.

Like a vase being filled, he received all the empowerments, transmissions, and oral instructions of the inner, outer and secret tantras of Bon that had been transmitted continuously down through the line of Menri abbots. Similarly, he obtained numerous guiding instructions on the unsurpassed Great Perfection teachings from his root lama, His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin.

After attaining his Géshé degree, in accordance with the wishes of His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin, he served Menri Monastery as the General Treasurer of the Yungdrung Bön Monastic Centre Society, and then in 2014, took on the responsibility of General Secretary.

On September 14, 2017 the world Bön community suffered a major loss when the great, compassionate, loving leader and ultimate refuge, His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoche, displayed the impermanence of his own body, in order to overturn his disciples’ clinging to permanence, beyond this realm of sorrow. At that time, His Holiness Lungtok Dawa Dargyal was serving as the General Secretary to the Yungdrung Bon Monastic Centre Society, and although full of grief, he took on the major responsibilities of organizing the memorial service and vast cremation ceremony.

On the morning of January 1, the great Géshé, the monk from Zingchu, Dawa Dargyal, was selected as the 34th Menri Trizin, through the authentic and unique tradition of selecting the Abbot of Menri Monastery, called Tagdril. Bönpos worldwide joined in celebrating the selection of the 34th Menri Trizin. From the time of his selection until the time of his enthronement, his main commitments were the practices of the tutelary deity Welpur Chenmo, and the offering rituals to Nyammé Shérab Gyaltsen.

His enthronement took place on February 20, 2018, the 5th day of the first month on the Tibetan calendar, the birth anniversary of Nyammé Shérapབ Gyltsen. With Menri Ponlob Thinley Nyima Rinpoche leading a crowd of monks and lay people, he was led with auspicious white scarves to the golden throne in the main temple of Menri Monastery. On September 6, 2018, a formal grand enthronement ceremony took place. Thousands of devotees came to Menri Monastery to celebrate the new beginning and seek the blessings of His Holiness the 34th Menri Trizin Lungtok Dawa Dhargyal Rinpoche.