Following the Chinese occupation of Tibet, Menri and most of the other important Bön monasteries were destroyed. The Cultural Revolution was quite difficult, with the Chinese burning many Bonpo texts and melting religious statues, so that this period can be called the third persecution of Bön. Several Bonpo lamas fled to India and Nepal, including Lopon Tenzin Namdak (sLob- dpon: Head Teacher bsTan-dzin rNam dag) former chief tutor (dPon-slob) of Menri monastery in Tibet, and founder of Triten Norbutse monastery and of its Dialectics school. Here is an outline of Yongdzin Rinpoche activities.
Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche was born in Dhorpatan, a very remote area of western Nepal. At the age of 11, he joined other monks at Tashi Gegye Thaten Ling, his local monastery. After completing an initial course of study in Bön ritual texts and Tibetan calligraphy, he moved to Dolanji, India for further studies at the Dialectics School of Menri Monastery. For the next 13 years Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche studied the complete Bön philosophical system of Sutra, Tantra, and Dzogchen; as well as the general Tibetan sciences including Tibetan grammar, poetics, white and black astrology, Sanskrit grammar, sacred geometry or arts, and the general Tibetan medicine.Read more...
Khenpo Gelek Jinpa was born un 1967 in Eastern Tibet, in the Khyungpo region. He became a monk when he was 19 and he studied first meditation and Dzogchen with the master Bönying Rangdröl. He was also trained in philosophy by the scholar Geshe Drangsong Yungdrung who had founded a college at the Tsedrup Monastery. He went out of Tibet in 1992 and first joined the monastery of Dolanji, where he had the opportunity to deepen his knowledge, before he finally arrive in Triten Norbutse Monastery where he obtained the Geshe Degree. He is a disciple of Yongdzin Rinpoche from whom he received a thorough training in the Dzogchen methods. He accomplished the Tummo retreat twice — one before his departure from Tibet and the second time in Normandy in 2001, for an academic research program about the effects of the Tummo practice.Read more...
Gomdra Khenpo Tsultrim Tenzin Rinpoche is born in East Tibet (Kham), province of Hor. On request of his grandfather he become a monk at 13. At the age of 14 he has completed the traditional set of preliminary practices for esoteric Bon doctrines, better known as "Ngondro Bumgu" according to Drenpa Yabse cycle. (Drenpa Yabse was largely followed before the advent of Shadzapa's Kusum Rangshar) He stayed in Lungkar Gonpa and studied Bon philosophy and received transmission of Kalung Gamtso from Lama Lungkar Gelong.Read more...
Ponlob Tsangpa Tenzin Rinpoche (born 1970) is the Head Teacher of Triten Norbutse monastery.
Ponlob Rinpoche started his studies under the guidance of Lama Sherab Gelek and Khenpo Öser Jinpa. From the first he learned ritual skills, liturgical chants and the use of sacred instruments. From the latter he received teaching, transmissions and initiations. For a period of three years his main focus was to purify his mind-stream and to accumulate merit through the practice of the preliminaries, and once he had completed these to focus on the main practice of dzogchen. Thereafter he studied sutra, tantra and dzogchen with Lungkar Ponlob Drangsong Tsultrim Namdak.
A pivotal moment in Ponlob Rinpoche’s spiritual life occurred in 1986 when he met Yongdzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, the foremost teacher in the Bon tradition, and an accomplished master of dzogchen. Ponlob Rinpoche had the great opportunity to receive ordination from Yongdzin Rinpoche who holds the unbroken lineage of monastic discipline. Since that time Ponlob Rinpoche has been unremitting in his quest to master the knowledge and practice of Yungdrung Bon.
In 1992 Ponlob Rinpoche came to India and Nepal. He entered Menri monastery and for nine years he continued to study sutra, tantra, dzogchen, and general Tibetan sciences, under the great blessings and guidance of H.H. Menri Tridzin Rinpoche, and H.E. Yongdzin Rinpoche, first in the Bon Dialectic School at Menri monastery and later at the Yungdrung Bon Academy of Higher Studies at Triten Norbutse monastery. Throughout these years of intensive study, Ponlob Rinpoche received the initiations, transmissions and instructions that are traditionally bestowed by the teacher to students with the aim of enhancing their understanding and experience of the teachings.
In 2001, upon successful completion of his studies, Ponlob Rinpoche was one of the first six geshes to graduate from Triten Norbutse monastery. Following his graduation, he continued to study, practice and teach at Triten Norbutse. In 2004, he was appointed and enthroned as the Head Teacher or Ponlob of Triten Norbutse monastery by and with the blessings of H.H. Menri Tridzin Rinpoche, H.E. Yongdzin Rinpoche, and Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche. As the Head Teacher Ponlob Rinpoche has the responsibility to maintain the highest standards of monastic education and discipline which he does through his exemplary teaching, knowledge and inspiration. Since his assuming responsibility many geshes have studied and graduated under his guidance.
Since 2014 Ponlob Rinpoche is teachings in Europe. He is widely appreciated for his intelligence, dedication to meditation practice, and his ability to present any topic in a highly accessible way while relating it directly to our meditation practice.
Geshe Samten Tsukphud was born in Khyungpo, Eastern Tibet, in 1975. His grandfather was a famous thanka painter and practitioner. There are also well-known thanka painters on his mother’s side, among them Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche’s uncle: Yangpel. His father taught him to read and write, and to recite the common prayers. In 1986 when Yongdzin Rinpoche visited Tibet for the first time after his escape, Tengchen, Yongdzin Rinpoche’s home monastery, was just rebuilt. Geshe Samten Tsukphud took the basic vows and became a monk in Tengchen. He learned the rituals, the ritual instruments, reciting, the monastic rules, and he practiced Kalung Gyamtso (bka’ lung rgya mtsho), which are the Preliminaries (Ngöndro) by Shardza Rinpoche.
Geshe Lungrigh was born in 1974 in Kham Khyungpo in eastern Tibet. In his early childhood Geshe Lungrigh was invited to the Monastery by his older brother. His older brother became the 27th Master of Khenpo Rinpoche lineage in Yungdrung Tengye Ling Monastery. At the age of thirteen, Geshe Lungrigh entered the monastery and became a monk. He was learning Tibetan reading and writing and was practicing all the main prayers, rituals and ritual melodies with his root Master and his Teacher. Since 1990 Geshe Lungrigh has practiced a preliminary phowa practice for 100 days and Tummo practice for 100 days with a group of monks in the Monastery.Read more...
Drubthonpa Sangye Mönlam (Ghen Sangye Mönlam) was born in Khyungpo, Tibet in 1955. He came from Tibet to India in 1983, at the age of 29. In the same year he became monk in Menri Monastery, Dolanji, taking his vows from the 33rd Menri Tridzin Lungtog Tenpa’i Nyima Rinpoche and from Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche. He began to study and practice Ngondro under the guidance of Yongdzin Rinpoche. He has been attending the meditation class to study and practice meditation for three years. Among the many teachings he received during that time are Atri Ka lung gyatso, which he received from Tsundru Rinpoche, and Kunzang Nying thig (Heart Drops of Dharmakaya) and Dzogchen Khu sum rang shar, which he received from Yongdzin Rinpoche.
Amchi Nyima Samphel whose lineage brings together both the medical and religious elements of Bön healing. He is a graduate from the traditional Tibetan medical school and belongs to the family lineage that heals the king of Mustang (kingdom located in the north of Nepal) for many generations.
Khenzur Nyima Wangyal Rinpoche was born in 1961 in the Tibetan refugee camp of Pokhara, Nepal. His parents had fled Tibet across the Himalayas in 1959. In 1962, they moved to a Tibetan settlement founded in Dhorpaten, Dhaulagiri province, western Nepal. This is where Nyima Wangyal grew up, with his brother and sister.
He learnt the Tibetan alphabet and reading from his father. He was eight years old when his father passed away. He was then raised and educated in the traditional Tibetan way by his uncle Khenpo Khyungtsün Dongrig Sonam Gyaltsen Rinpoche, who has been sent to Nepal from Menri Monastery (refounded after exile in India), to become the second abbot of the Bon Monastery of Dhorpaten, which was the first Bon monastery in exile.
Khenpo Sonam Gyaltsen Rinpoche taught him reading/writing, prayers and rituals. He was a very serious teacher, a very good practitioner, and so skilled at calligraphy that he was often commissioned to copy texts, notably the Atri Preliminary text, the twelve volumes of Ziji (the biography of Tonpa Shenrab Miwo), the Gyalwei Chagtri, two volumes of Gyalshen Namthar (collection of commentaries by Yongdzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche) and numerous ritual texts, all published in New Delhi, India.
Many Bonpo masters spent time in the Monastery of Dhorpaten. From Menri Monastery (Tibet) the 32nd Abbot Sherab Lodrö Rinpoche, Yongdzin Sangye Tenzin Rinpoche, Yongdzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, and many high lamas from Dolpo, Nepal.
In 1976, following the request of his uncle, Nyima Wangyal received from Yongdzin Rinpoche the Dzogchen Atri teaching instructions and transmission (lung) for the first time. During the summer, he also received the initiation (wang) of DU TRI SU from Yongdzin Rinpoche, during a seven-day ceremony prepared by Khenpo Sonam Gyaltsen Rinpoche for the people of Dhorpaten.
In 1977, Nyima Wangyal was taken by his uncle to Menri Monastery, in Dolanji (near Solan), North India. There he became a monk and was handed over to Yongdzin Rinpoche to receive his teachings and to serve him as his personal assistant.
Nyima Wangyal lived with Yongdzin Rinpoche until 1995. Yongdzin Rinpoche is his root master and main spiritual teacher. With him he had the great opportunity of meeting great Bonpo masters from Tibet.
In 1978, Nyima Wangyal joined the newly opened dialectic school at Menri. That same year, his mother passed away in Dhorpaten, Nepal.
In 1979, at Menri Monastery, Nyima Wangyal received the initiation of the complete Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Dzogchen cycle and other Dzogchen initiations from Drupwang Tsondü Rinpoche, who was the Drupdra Khenpo of Khyungpo Ri Tse Druk Monastery in Tibet, a lineage holder of the Shardza tradition, being the disciple of the first Shardzi Gyaltsab Jalüpa Lodrö Gyatso.
In 1984, Nyima Wangyal received all the initiations (outer, inner, secret) and transmissions of all the yidams of the Bon tradition from His Holiness the 33rd Abbot of Menri Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche and His Eminence Yongdzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche.
In 1986, Nyima Wangyal concluded his Bon studies at Menri Monastery under the guidance of H.H. the 33rd Abbot, H.E. Yongdzin Rinpoche and Geshe Larampa Tsondü Gongphel, and was awarded the Geshe degree (equivalent to a PhD) after several years of systematic study of the Bon philosophy and psychology.
In the following summer, Yongdzin Rinpoche travelled to Tibet (for the first time since the Cultural Revolution) with Geshe Nyima Wangyal and Geshe Tenzin Wangyal. His main purpose was to visit his mother and to give advice to Bonpo lamas and monks on how to preserve and develop the Yungdrung Bon tradition. They visited all the Bonpo people in the three provinces of Tibet : U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo. Rinpoche gave teachings and initiations.
There, Nyima Wangyal met and connected to great lamas, yogis and practitioners who survived the Cultural Revolution.
In Luphuk Gön Monastery (in Hor, Kham), Geshe Nyima Wangyal received many rare initiations from the great Dzogchen practitioner Ragshi Togden Drimed Yungdrung Rinpoche.
In the fall of 1986, Yongdzin Rinpoche founded the Triten Norbutse Monastery on the northern hill of Kathmandu, Nepal. At the very beginning only Rinpoche and Geshe Nyima Wangyal lived there. At that time, there was no dialectic school and no extensive daily course of Bon study and philosophical debate in Nepal. It was the first Bon monastery in Kathmandu.
In 1992, Yongdzin Rinpoche and Menri Trizin Rinpoche selected Geshe Nyima Wangyal as the first abbot of Triten Norbutse Monastery. He took care of all the daily needs of the monks. The same year, Yongdzin Rinpoche travelled again to Tibet, with Khenpo Nyima Wangyal. They visited many Bon monasteries and Yongdzin Rinpoche gave many teachings, transmissions and initiations.
In 1995, Khenpo Nyima Wangyal decided to leave the monastery and its monastic rules, in order to live as a Tibetan yogi in different countries, situations and circumstances. He felt, according to his nature, that this would be a good way to develop his practice of Dzogchen.
In 2001, at Triten Norbutse Monastery, he had the great opportunity to receive again all the Bon initiations from his root master Yongdzin Rinpoche. This was very good for Khenzur Nyima Wangyal as he experienced in his practice a much stronger connection to his root master. He was very happy because he felt the blessings of all the great Dzogchen masters.
From 2002, at Triten Norbutse Monastery, he had another opportunity to receive teachings from Yongdzin Rinpoche on the Dzogchen Zhang-Zhung Nyen-Gyüd, the Dzogchen Namkha Trul-Dzöd, the Ma-Gyüd (Mother Tantra), etc.
In 2002, following the advice of Yongdzin Rinpoche, Khenzur Nyima Wangyal started preparing different kinds of special Bon protection amulets. In Kathmandu, he created Künthub Sungkhor Khang, a workshop (still running and successful) where he started manufacturing high quality traditional amulets, with his wife and family. The spiritual mantra amulets are sent to Tibet, China, Nepal, India, Europe, America, Mexico, Canada, etc. Through this activity, Khenzur Nyima Wangyal shares his spiritual experience, helping others in their life and practice.
In 2013, Khenzur and his family settled near Paris, France.
Since November 2015, as organized by Shenten Dargye Ling (Blou, France), Khenzur Nyima Wangyal Rinpoche has been teaching meditation on a regular basis in Paris, to a Sangha group of practitioners during evenings and weekends, and also in different countries abroad.
Thank you to Waltraud Benzing and Yungdrung Tenzin (Dominique Troulay) for this biography.