At age 7 he entered Tengchen Monastery, a local monastery, where his uncle served as chant leader. There he began an extensive education course and at age 14 he took his vows as a monk. While there from to , he spent most of his time helping to execute wall paintings, making use of his training, since age 11, as an artist and painter. In late , he went on a pilgrimage in Nepal and western Tibet, returning to Yungdrung Ling in mid to begin his studies in philosophy. From until late , Yongdzin Rinpoche lived and studied with his tutor and the master Gangru Tsultrim Gyaltsan Rinpoche, who had retired after 18 years of service as lopon, the principal teacher, of Yungdrung Ling.
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We are shipping to all international locations. Learn more here about our many free resources and special digital offers. He has also been actively responsible for the Bonpo refugees of Tibet, organizing for them a prospering settlement at Dolanji.
Thanks to his efforts, a new location for Tibet's old Menri Monastery has been established. At the age of five he left his parents' house to study with his uncle, who lived in the same village. Bon, Tibet's original religion, has two main teachings: old and new. New Bon was influenced by Buddhism; but the original old Bon also influenced Buddhism when the Buddhist teachings first came to Tibet. With his first main master, Gonruponlob, Tenzin Namdak spent six years on a small island studying grammar, astrology, poetry and Sanskrit.
The master and his young student were the only inhabitants of the island. Part of the intense process of his education involved the boy having to find his own nourishment with the result that he was hungry most of the time. When I become a master and have disciples, I shall give them food, he then decided. The name of the monastery, Menri, means medicine mountain. It was after finishing his early studies on the island that he arrived at Menri Monastery. He then made a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash , from where he once again returned to Menri.
There Tenzin Namdak continued his education under the guidance of the Menri Lopon Sangye Tenzin , his principal master and his predecessor as the main master of the monastery. When he had finished his formal studies of philosophy, logic, Vinaya , cosmology and the Prajnaparamita , he also completed studies of the Tantric and Dzogchen systems. He finished the studies for the geshe degree and at the age of thirty was approved by all the teachers of the monastery to be the new Lopon, or principal teacher of Menri.
Lopon Namdak escaped from Tibet in the notorious year of , together with forty monks of Menri Monastery. Only half of the monks survived the difficult and dangerous journey over the mountains to Nepal. Together with two other Bonpo lamas they went to London to assist Snellgrove as his main informants on Bon culture. At the end of , after three years in England, Lopon Namdak went to India in order to find land for a monastery and a settlement of Tibetan Bonpo refugees.
In , he found land in Dolanji, near Simla, and gathered all the remaining monks together there to establish the new monastery.
He was fortunate in obtaining the economic assistance of the Save the Children Fund to start this Bonpo settlement. After this he went back to Europe, where he worked for six months in Munich, Germany with Western Tibetologists.
He might have remained in the West, but the monastery and the settlement needed him badly, so he returned to India. Ten years later the students of the Dolanji monastery were ready for higher education, so the time had come for establishing a Bonpo Dialectic School. Since that time the Dialetic School has been maintained by the settlement, with occasional outside sponsorship. Lopon says he has had a hard time keeping his early decision to always give food to his disciples.
Whenever someone offered him some special food, he always shared it with us, says Geshe Tenzin Wangyal , who was one of the Lopan's first students and one of the first geshes to qualify at Dolanji after completing the eight years of study required. He was also the first Bonpo master to come to the West to teach.
New students now come to Dolanji mostly from the Bonpo monasteries of northwestern Nepal. The settlement also has a primary school for the boys and girls of the village. It is entirely sponsored by Tibetans living in Nepal and receives no official help.
The Education Center now has all the necessary buildings ready, but otherwise very little means of support. Lopon himself divides his time between Dolanji and the new school in Kathmandu. You western people are so easy to teach, you always say 'yes' to everything,. Many things have changed in Europe [in the past twenty-five years], including people's attitude toward religion, he said.
When I was in England during the sixties, nobody was interested in the teaching. This teaching was one in a series given prior to the Kalachakra Initiation by preeminent lamas representing each of the five Tibetan traditions. Menu Search. Cart You have no items in your shopping cart. Search: Search. My Account Login. Shambhala logo. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.
Related Books. Related Topics Bon Tradition. The following article is from the Summer, issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only.
The Journey of a Great Bön Master
We are shipping to all international locations. Learn more here about our many free resources and special digital offers. By Dr. James Manganiello.
Biography of a Great Bön Master
We are shipping to all international locations. Learn more here about our many free resources and special digital offers. He has also been actively responsible for the Bonpo refugees of Tibet, organizing for them a prospering settlement at Dolanji. Thanks to his efforts, a new location for Tibet's old Menri Monastery has been established.