The Founder

Monday, 13 September 2010 14:38

H.E. Yöngdzin Lopön Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche is the principal teacher and primary scriptural authority of the Bön religion today. Born in Kham province in Eastern Tibet in 1926, at the age of seven he entered Tengchen monastery as a young monk. From 1952 he served as the principal teacher - Lopön - at Menri, the main Bönpo monastery, but in 1957, as Chinese communist pressure caused continuing problems for monastic life, Lopön Rinpoche went into retreat at Dangra Lake in northern Tsang. In 1960, like tens of thousands of other Tibetans, Lopön Rinpoche tried to escape to India, but was shot and held in communist imprisonment for 10 months before managing to escape over the Himalayan border to Nepal.

In 1961 the famous British Tibetologist David Snellgrove invited Lopön Rinpoche to London University where together they translated, and in 1967, published “The Nine Ways of Bon“, the first academic study of the Bön tradition in the West. In 1969 Lopön Rinpoche also worked on Prof. Helmut Hoffmann´s colossal Tibetan-German-English dictionary at the Bavarian State Academy of Munich.

H.E. Yöngdzin Lopön Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche

H.E.Y.Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche
H.E.Y.Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche
H.E.Yongzin Rinpoche in Shenten
H.E.Yongzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche

Having legally established the Tibetan Bönpo Foundation in Uttar Pradesh in August 1966, the following year Lopön Rinpoche succeeded in initiating the Bönpo community and monastery in exile at Dolanji in northern India. Following the passing away of the 32nd Abbot of Menri in 1968, Lopön Rinpoche facilitated the appointment of the 33rd abbot of Menri Monastery, H.H. Lungtok Tenpai Nyima and his recognition as the official spiritual head of the Yungdrung Bön tradition. In India he continued to teach, write, and in particular tried to trace the tradition’s abandoned manuscripts. Many of the most important were smuggled out of occupied Tibet and republished in New Delhi. In 1978 a sufficient number of texts had at last been published to enable a curriculum to be arranged for Tsennyi study, a program that applies analysis and logic to the doctrines by dialectical debate. The first group of students graduated with the Geshe degree in 1986 and, during a later visit, H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama was strongly impressed by the high level of the students. Hence Menri Monastery has been continuing its achievements for preserving the ancient spiritual tradition of Bön.

Refugees from Tibet still continue to arrive to Nepal regularly after a highly dangerous journey across the Himalayan mountains away from ethnic and religious suppression in their home country. Many come with the wish to continue their studies in exile as this is prohibited or restricted in occupied Tibet. Indigenous Bönpos from the Himalayan borderlands, too, needed a new religious home and education centre after their traditional connections to Tibet were interrupted because of the political situation. This prompted H.E. Yongdzin Lopön Rinpoche to establish a second training monastery in Nepal in 1987 – Triten Norbutse. Here again a complete course of Bön philosophy and general Tibetan sciences was set up in 1994, and to date 27 Geshe candidates have graduated up to now.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 September 2010 09:07 )

Contact address

Triten Norbutse Monastery
Ichangu - 6, Teenghare,
G.P.O. Box 4640
Katmandu, NEPAL
Tel: 977-1-4890229
Tel/Fax: 977-1-4890119
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