Sunday, September 28, 2008


The Menri Monastery Namedor the now-destroyed early 15th century Menri Monastery in the Tsang region of Tibet, the Menri Monastery-in-exile in Dolanji is the spiritual and administrative center for all Bonpo. As Abbot, His Holiness Menri Trizin 33rd Lungtok Tenpai Nyima not only oversees the affairs of Menri Monastery and is the worldwide spiritual leader of Bon.
monks and nuns receive authentic training in Bon religion and culture. Sutra, Tantra, and Dzogchen studies are taught by traditional dialectic methods in conjunction with a curriculum in medicine, poetry, astrology, and grammar. Monks pursue a strict monastic life and look after children who have been orphaned or placed at Menri by families who cannot care for them. Resident students are educated through the tenth grade at the Central School for Tibetans in Dolanji, and many remain at the monastery to continue monastic training.

News From The Yungdrung Bon Monastic Center Operating under the leadership of the Abbot of Menri, the Yungdrung Bon Monastic Center (YBMC) is a democratically- structured organization run by monks who represent the various departments of the Menri complex. Together with the Abbot, they determine budgets and priorities and are accountable for carrying out the projects and expenditure responsibilities to donors and to the government of India. YBMC extends its deep gratitude to people and organizations from around the world who have made possible the completion of its important projects.
To the delight of everyone, His Holiness the Dalai Lama made a three-day visit to Menri Monastery in April 2007 to dedicate the new Tibetan Yungdrung Bon Library and to celebrate the growth and development of the Monastery and Dialectic School. He marveled at the changes that had occurred since his last visit, and he enthusiastically encouraged the Bonpos to continue their fine work, reminding everyone that Bon is the source and embodiment of the Tibetan way of life, and that there is much to learn from its profound teachings. He urged the monks and nuns to be diligent in their studies and in their dedication to keeping Bon alive. The occasion was marked with Long Life Ceremonies for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and His Holiness Menri Trizin, and debates were performed, along with colorful feasts, music and dance.

Under the leadership of the Abbot, the Yungdrung Bon Monastic Center has seen significant growth at the Menri complex. As of 2005, the population at the Center stands at 135 monks, 160 Menri children, 253 boys and girls at the Bon Children's Home, and 34 Nuns at the Redna Menling Nunnery. It is important to appreciate that since 1968 when the land had nothing on it but weeds, rock and dust, the Yungdrung Bon Monastic Center has completed housing for monks, nuns, and children, a dialectic school, two temples, a nunnery, library, health center, craft workshops, guesthouse, and farm. Also in the Menri complex is a settlement of about 75 families and a Tibetan School run by the Indian Government that educates children from the monastery, Bon Children's Home, and the Village of Dolanji.

History of Triten
The original Triten Norbutse monastery was established in the fourteenth century in central Tibet by the great Bönpo Master Shen Nyima Gyaltsen (born 1360), a descendant of the Shen lineage which is the lineage of Buddha Tonpa Shenrab, the founder of the Bön religion. For many centuries Triten Norbutse was one of the four main Bönpo monastic institutions in Tibet which provided a complete Bön cultural and religious education. Completely destroyed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, it has since been partially rebuilt, although there is no real possibility of studying there nowadays.
However, in 1987 the Triten Norbutse Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal was established by H.E. Yongdzin Lopön Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche on a hill facing the great Stupa of Swayambhu with the following intentions: To provide a full education and practice program in the Bön tradition to the younger generation of Bönpo living in areas of the Himalayan borderlands such as Dolpa and Mustang, as well as to Tibetan refugees.
Even though there have been Bönpo monasteries in Dolpa, Mustang, and other districts of Nepal for many centuries, today none of them is able to offer the opportunity to complete the full Bönpo study program leading to a Geshe degree. Furthermore, students, scholars and practitioners from other parts of the world should also be offered an opportunity to study and practice the tradition of Bön. To preserve and restore Bön’s cultural and religious heritage. To serve as a centre for the social and religious life of the Bönpo communities.

Triten Norbutse provides two main education programs:
An academic program, leading to the Geshe degree, provides an extensive and rigorous comprehensive study of a broad spectrum of the Bön religious tradition. It includes Bön philosophy of Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen pertaining to its major canonical texts as well as general Tibetan sciences and arts, namely astrology, poetry, medicine, Tibetan and Sanskrit grammar and various aspects of religious iconography such as Mandala, script and calligraphy. There are also courses on religious rituals, arts and music. Alongside lessons taught by specialized masters, the monks are encouraged to deepen their knowledge through regular lively debate.
Upon successfully completing this thirteen-year program, the monks are awarded the distinguished Geshe degree, the highest academic qualification in the Bön tradition, which corresponds to the European Doctor of Theology.
The Meditation Training Program concentrates on Dzogchen, the Great Perfection, which is a system of meditation on the Nature of Mind. This program transmits the entire teachings on the four major Bön Dzogchen texts enabling the students to acquire a deep understanding and experience of meditation.
Social Services
As a consequence of all these activities, the monastery has assumed a place of considerable importance in its community.
In Tibetan and Himalayan society, a monastery serves as a centre for the social life of the community in many ways: it is the meeting point on festive occasions; people come here with physical and mental problems to find help and guidance; there are public prayers and meditations for peace and prosperity in the country and the world; herbal medicine is gathered, prepared and consecrated; public lectures are given to reinforce faith, peace and harmony in the community; rites for the welfare of the deceased as well as for living beings are performed, and the monastery is an example of a favorable environment with a positive influence on its surroundings. As part of this community, the monk-students’ needs are met by the monastery; accommodation, food, clothes and books, as well as education and guidance are provided free of charge
Preservation work
A new library allowing easy and free access to materials on Tibetan and Himalayan studies, not only for monk-students in the monastery but also for anybody interested in this field, has been established. It contains the complete Bönpo canonical texts and many collections of other Buddhist texts. There are also works from philosophical systems of other eastern and western traditions in various western languages. .
With the objective of saving rare and precious texts and publishing them in different forms, such as CDs, books, tapes etc., we are computerizing rare Bönpo texts and recording important teachings as well as ritual chants. A photographic archive is also being built. Twenty such texts, including the complete works of H.E. Yongdzin Lopön Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, have so far been computerized and published in the form of books and Pecha. This work continues.
The Monastery brings out a yearly magazine containing articles and essays related to this tradition. We have also published several important works on various subjects related to Bön studies in collaboration with other academic institutions of eastern and western countries such as the National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka.
A research project on the effects of one of the many Bönpo meditation techniques has been carried out with some of our practitioners under scientific observation by leading American Scientists.
Present activities and plans for the future
The monastery continues to uphold the two sectors of the education program as its main activities and provides all necessary facilities and education.The monastery continues computerizing and archiving ancient texts and artworks, in book and digital format, to make them available for monks, scholars and lay people.
Triten Norbutse intends to start a school with a curriculum similar to that of the monks, with the aim of improving the education of lay practitioners in Dolpa and Mustang. This school will have an innovative dimension, combining necessary modern education with traditional subjects. Entrance will be open to lay practitioners regardless of gender or social status.
A centre for the practice of traditional Himalayan/Tibetan Medicine is planned, where both patients and scholars can come and benefit. It is envisaged that this centre will bridge traditional and modern medical practices. 
A new Bon nunnery is being completed in a pristine setting across the river from, and in view of, Menri Monastery. Called Redna Menling or "Land of Precious Medicine," it is the only Bon nunnery in India and only one of a handful in the world. Girls and women from Tibet and the borderlands arrive here to study and remain as nuns in the Bon culture. Redna Menling is a rapidly growing institution that is a solid reflection of women as leaders and practitioners of the Bon tradition.

1 comment:

Eternal Journeys Admin said...

Hi how do I get in contact with you? I am currently in Taiwan studying Chinese medicine and Qigong. My wife and I have experience in the Nyingma Palyul lineage.
We would like to study longer term to gain some stability in meditation do you offer this opportunity to westerners? We are also English teachers here in Taiwan and would love to find a placement at a monastery were we can offer our services and study longer terms. Please contact me.