By Tenzin Monlam
Menri Trizin Rinpoche is currently in state of Thukdham at his Pal Shenten Menriling Monastery in Dolanji, Himachal Pradesh.
DHARAMSHALA, September 15: The spiritual head of the Bon tradition, the 33rd Kyabje Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche, passed away yesterday at around 6:25 p.m. at Pal Shenten Menriling Monastery in Dolanji, Himachal Pradesh.
The octogenarian head of the Bon tradition was considered one of the main spiritual leaders responsible for the revival of the tradition both inside and outside Tibet after China’s occupation of Tibet in 1959 and the Cultural Revolution.
CTA President today expressed his condolences over the passing of Rinpoche. “I express my heartfelt condolence over the untimely passing of Menri Rinpoche. Rinpoche spent a lifetime preserving the Bon tradition in exile. I urge Tibetans to pray for his quick rebirth and once again spread the Bon tradition.”
The Tibetan government in exile today held a prayer service. Tibetans and various Tibetan NGOs have also expressed their condolences.
Yung Drung Bon Monastic Centre Society, in an official announcement, has urged the followers to engage in virtuous action and abstain from any non-virtuous deeds.
Like many renowned spiritual leaders, Menri Trizin Rinpoche has entered into a meditative state known as Thukdham. According to Tibetan Buddhist Tantric practice, it is a state when the body retains its heat, emits no odors or shows signs of decay despite being clinically dead. The posture could be in lying down posture or sitting posture.
According to the announcement, the public viewing of His eminence’s Thukdham to receive blessing is scheduled from September 16 to October 2 at the Menri Monastery, where Rinpoche breathed his last yesterday.
Rinpoche was born in the village of Kyongtsang in Amdo Province in 1929. At the age of 8, his father Jalo Jongdong took him to Phuntsog Dargye Ling Monastery where he began his lifelong study of the Bon tradition.
At the age of 25 he completed his Geshe Degree in Philosophy under the guidance of Lopon Tenzin Lodro Gyatso and traveled south to the Bon province of Gyalrong the following year, where he printed copies of the Bon Kanjur from traditional woodblocks and brought it back to the monastery.
He along with few Bon monks played an important role in preserving copying and printing of sacred Bon texts and literature, which they managed to smuggle into exile on mule’s back after the occupation.
After extensive preparatory initiations, it was only in 1969 when Rinpoche assumed his duties as the 33rd Abbot of Menri and accepted the responsibility of reestablish the original Menri Monastery in Dolanji. The pre-Buddhist religion in Tibet was founded in 1405 in the Tibetan province of Tsang.