His Holiness 34th
THE 34TH ABBOT OF MENRI BON MONASTERY
His Holiness the 34th Menri Trizin Lungtok Dawa Dargyal Rinpoche, the spiritual head of the Bön is from Do-mé region of Tibet.
Rinpoche reincarnated in 1972 in the area known as Zingchu, located in the area of Jadur Ngönmo and Dungri Karpo mountains, where the holy sites were blessed by past Bön masters like Gyabön Zingpa Tuchen. Chhuktruk Tsang family line of Mayön Déwa as a son of Pelyön Bumsel and Luyang Chukmo. His families were members of the community around the monastery Pel Shenten Gamel Yungdrung Dargyal Ling. In 1977, at the age of five, he entered the local primary school and continued there through the second grade. At the age of eight, he started to learn basic Tibetan reading and writing, chanting ritual texts, and continuing into basic Bon practices like refuge and mantra recitation from his teacher, the great Géshé Dratok Pelchen Kyapchok.In 1983, at the age of eleven, he entered Gamel Monastery, where the head lama Khyungtsa Tenpa Gongpel Ripoche cut his hair and gave him the name Zöpa Tsöndrü. In this way, he began the monastic life, and took the five basic precepts of a Genyen from the learned Lopon Kelzang Dargyal. As his education progressed, he learned the chanting of the Dru tradition from many Geshes and tutors, and studied the monastic chantings, ritual instruments and melodies. In time, he would take on a variety of responsibilities in the monastery like acting as shrine master, masked dancer, and so forth. At the age of seventeen, he took the vows of a novice monk with Gamel Monastery’s Khenpo Shérap Tarchin Rinpoche and the great Lopon Kelzang Dargyal, who gave him the name Tsultrim Nyima. In the same year, he began his basic studies of Collected Topics with Lopon Kelzang Dargyal. In 1992, at the age of eighteen, he officially entered the Dialectic school in Gamel Monastery. There, with Lopon Yéshé Gyeltsen, he completed Collected Topics, and went on to study Valid Cognition, Grounds and Paths, the profound Perfection of Wisdom, and so forth.
In 1994, when he was twenty-two, he witnessed a long awaited event in the Bön community of Tibet: the 33rd Menri Trizin, His Holiness Lungtok Tenpé Nyima, traveled from India, making his first return visit to Tibet. During this visit, the two would meet for the first time, and the future 34thMenri Trizin was able to take the 250 vows of a fully ordained monk from the 33rd Menri Trizin, who gave him the name Dawa Dargyal Wangpo. Thus the 34th Abbot, named Dawa (“moon”), followed after the 33rd Abbot, named Nyima (“sun”), forming an auspicious connection like the moon proceeding in the path of the sun.In 1996, at the age of twenty-four, he completed his Géshé degree, rising to the rank of Géshé Lharampa among the monks of Gamel Monastery. As before, he continued to take on responsibilities like serving as debate disciplinarian, assembly disciplinarian, and so forth.In 1997, when he was twenty-five, he first had the aspiration to study at Pel Shenten Menri Ling Monastery, the main monastic seat of the Yungdrung Bön tradition, which had been reestablished by the 33rd Menri Trizin in Himachal Pradesh, India. He eventually made the difficult journey to India with his fellow monk Tapkhé Gyatso. On October 7, 1997, he arrived at Menri Monastery. In accordance with the tradition and strict rules of Menri Monastery, he first retook the twenty-five vows of a novice, and became one of the ordained monks of Menri Monasatery, the practitioners of the three trainings.
On October 10, he entered Bon Dialectic School in Menri Monastery. At Bon Dialectic School, he studied mainly with His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin, and Menri Ponlob Thinley Nyima Rinpoche, along with many other Géshés and teachers. His studies were based on the three main bodies of texts used in the Menri curriculum: Various Canonical Scriptures by the eighth teacher of Yeru Wensaka Monastery, Azha Drogon Lodro Gyaltsen; The Five Magical Lamps by Nyamme Sherab Gyaltsen; and Canonical Scriptures by the 22nd Abbot of Menri Monastery, the omniscient Nyima Tenzin Wangkyi Gyelpo. In this way, he pursued his studies at Menri Monastery for fourteen years, refining his knowledge of Yungdrung Bön’s distinctive traditions of Sūtra, Tantra, and Dzogchen, as well as studying all of the common sciences. In 2012, at the age of 39, he was awarded the title of Géshé in the presence of His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin and Menri Ponlob Thinley Nyima Rinpoche. While pursuing his studies, Rinpoche also held a variety of jobs in the monastery, serving as the Treasurer, Disciplinarian, and Vice President at the Dialectic School. He was also the Chief Treasurer of Menri monastery, Treasurer of the Yogi Temple, and served as a member of Menri-tshang. When circumstances allowed, he also taught students in the philosophy classes. He had received a complete set of all the empowerments, transmissions, and oral instructions of the “inner”, “outer” and “secret” tantras of Bön, along with empowerments and transmissions like those related to five tutelary deities known as the Sé-khar Chok-nga. Thus, like a vase being filled, he received the empowerments, transmissions, and oral instructions that had been transmitted continuously through the line of Menri abbots. Similarly, he obtained numerous guiding instructions on the unsurpassed Great Perfection teachings, like the profound Fifteen Periods of A-tri, the Oral Tradition from Zhang Zhung, and so forth, from his root lama, His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin, the Abbot of Menri Monastery. After he attained his Géshé title, in accordance with the wishes of his root lama, His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin, he began to serve Menri Monastery as the General Treasurer of the Yungdrung Bön Monastic Centre Society, and then in 2014, took on the responsibility of General Secretary. On September 14, 2017 the world Bön community suffered a major loss, when the great, compassionate, the ultimate refuge, loving leader and guide His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoche, displayed the impermanence of his own body, in order to overturn his disciples’ clinging to permanence, beyond this realm of sorrow. At that time, His Holiness Lungtok Dawa Dargyal was serving as the General Secretary to the Yungdrung Bon Monastic Centre Society, and although full of grief, he took on the major responsibilities in organizing the Memorial Service and vast cremation ceremony.
On the morning of January 1, the great Géshé, the monk from Zingchu, Dawa Dargyal, was selected as the 34th Menri Trizin, through the authentic and unique tradition of selecting the Abbot of Menri Monastery, called Tagdril. Bönpos worldwide joined in celebrating the selection of the 34th Menri Trizin at Menri Monastery. From the time of his selection, until the time that he would rise to the golden throne of the Menri Trizin, his main commitments were the practices of the tutelary deity Welpur Chenmo, and the offering rituals to Nyammé Shérab Gyaltsen.His enthronement took place on February 20, 2018, the 5th day of the 1st month on the Tibetan calendar, the birth anniversary of Nyammé Shérap Gyltsen at Menri.