By Tenzin Dharpo
His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Menri Trizin Rinpoche. file photo
DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 30: The Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Friday said that he is saddened by the passing away of the spiritual head of the Bon tradition, the 33rd Kyabje Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche.
The Dalai Lama said that he heard of the unfortunate news while in Europe and felt sadness reflecting back to the meeting with the Bon lama a few months back in New Delhi where they discussed many personal and public matters.
The 82-year old said that the late Menri Trizin had been a true companion of Tibet who had stuck together in times of both good and bad. His contribution in the spheres of both Tibetan religion and politics has been exemplary, the Dalai Lama wrote in a statement issued by his private office.
The egalitarian Tibetan leader also said that he would pray for the late Tibetan Lama who passed away on Sept. 15 and also urged all his followers to pray for him and his wishes to be fulfilled, and to maintain the good standards of the Bon tradition that exists today within the Tibetan community.
The 33rd Kyabje Menri Trizin passed away 15 days ago at Pal Shenten Menriling Monastery in Dolanji, Himachal Pradesh, the seat of the Bon in exile.
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.
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.
According to the announcement by Yung Drung Bon Monastic Centre Society, the public viewing of His eminence’s Thukdham to receive blessing is scheduled from September 16 to October 2 at the Menri Monastery.
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 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 by Miwoen Sherab in 1405 in the Tibetan province of Tsang.