Bönpos Welcome Geshe Dawa Dhargyal as 34th Menri Trizin

H.H. 34thThe Bön community worldwide welcomes Geshe Dawa Dhargyal as the 34th Menri Trizin (abbot of Menri Monastery and holder of the Bön lineage). His January 1 selection from among 64 candidates followed a process that included prayers and rituals to Bön deities and protectors. 

Geshe Dhargyal received his second geshe degree at Menri, where he spent many years serving the 33rd Menri Trizin, His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche, and played many important roles in the monastery, most recently as general secretary (administrator) of the Yungdrung Bön Monastic Center Society at Menri. Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, founder and spiritual director of Ligmincha International, says he believes that the protectors chose very wisely.

34th Menri Trizin and His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima RinpocheThe 34th Menri Trizin Rinpoche was born November 29, 1972, in Amdo, Tibet. His father’s name is Palyon Bum and his mother’s name is Luyang Chukmo. At age 17 he became a monk at Gamal Monastery in Amdo, Tibet, and at age 18 he joined the Bön Dialectic School of Gamal Monastery. When he was 22 years old, he met the 33rd Menri Trizin, His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche. He received the Monk’s vows of Drangsong from His Holiness and was given the name of Dawa Dhargyal Wangpo. He received his geshe degree from Gamal Monastery at age 24.

After traveling to Menri Monastery in India when he was 25 years old, Geshe Dawa Dhargyal joined the Bön Dialectic School in Dolanji and received a geshe degree from Menri Monastery in 2012.

The Selection Process

Since the passing of His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin, His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche, who departed his body on September 14, 2017, the highest spiritual leaders of Yungdrung Bön engaged in deep discussion, prayers and rituals concerning the selection of the new Menri Trizin.

Candidates for the position were Bön geshes (similar to a Ph.D.) from Menri Monastery in India and Triten Norbutse Monastery in Nepal who have studied and practiced Bön sutra, tantra and dzogchen for 15 years or more. Only geshes living outside of Tibet were considered, due to the present situation. The names of candidates were announced December 10 by the Yungdrung Bön Monastic Center at Menri Monastery. Among the 100 eligible geshes, candidates who did not wish to participate could submit their application to resign from the process by December 18.

34th Menri Trizin (center) with Menri Lopon Trinley Nyima Rinpoche and Triten Norbutse Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung RinpocheOn December 19, the names of the remaining 64 geshes were written on small pieces of paper and rolled up into balls of equally weighted tsampa mixed with herbs in a ceremony led by His Eminence Menri Lopon Trinley Nyima Rinpoche. Two days later, the pills were put into two large bowls covered by cloths that were tied, sealed and locked the shrine. Monks and nuns made special prayers to Bön deities and protectors including the deity Sipe Gyalmo (Queen of the World) and Phurpa, special protector of His Holiness Menri Trizin.

The preliminary selection of the abbot took place on December 27. The bowls were carried from the Sipe Gyalmo Protector House to the main temple, where they were brought in front of the statue of Tonpa Shenrap (the Supreme Teacher and founder of the Bön tradition). H.E. Menri Lopon Trinley Nyima Rinpoche asked for the guidance of Sipe Gyalmo and began shaking the bowls. The two pills that jumped from the bowls were sealed and placed into the shrine for another five days of rituals.

Geshe Dhargyal (left) and Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche (third from left)Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Ligmincha resident teachers guided a live online prayer session on December 30 as an opportunity for Bön practitioners around the world to participate collectively in the historic occasion of the selection of the next abbot of Menri Monastery.

On the morning of January 1, the final selection ceremony, using the same process, was held. His Eminence shook the bowl with the two final pills, and the pill containing Geshe Dawa Dhargyal’s name was the first to appear.

Bönpos worldwide are joined in celebrating the selection of the 34th Menri Trizin. All are welcome to come to Menri Monastery February 16–21, 2018, for the enthronement of Geshe Dawa Dhargyal Rinpoche as the 34th Menri Trizin, spiritual leader of the Bön tradition.