KHENPO TENPA YUNGDRUNG RINPOCHE
Rinpoche is the abbot (khenpo) of Triten Norbutse Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal, one of the two main Bon monasteries outside of Tibet. Khenpo Rinpoche was born in 1969 in Dhorpatan, a remote area of western Nepal. Established with aid from the Swiss Red Cross, the Dhorpatan settlement is one of the earliest refugee camps for Tibetans in exile; most of its residents are Bonpos from western Tibet.
The monastery in Dhorpatan, Tashi Gegye Thaten Ling, was founded by the 32nd Menri Abbot, Kundun Sherap Lodroe. Khenpo Rinpoche’s father, Lama Tsultrim Nyima, was an accomplished practitioner who dedicated his life to the welfare of the Dhorpatan community and the survival of the precious Yungdrung Bon tradition. It was a great loss to Khenpo Rinpoche and the community when his father passed away at a relatively early age.
At age 11 Khenpo Rinpoche joined other students in studying with Lama Sonam Gyaltsen Rinpoche, the abbot of Tashi Gegye Thaten Ling. After completing an initial course of study of the Bon ritual texts and Tibetan calligraphy, he transferred with three other students to Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India, for further studies. Khenpo Rinpoche said, “Upon our arrival at Menri Monastery I had the golden opportunity to see both His Holiness Menri Trizin Rinpoche and Yongdzin (Lopon) Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche. At that time they were living a simple life in terms of material possessions, but they were engaged in the great endeavor of re-establishing the Yungdrung Bon doctrine in the world.”
Khenpo Rinpoche and his fellow students were admitted to the dialectic school at Menri Monastery and for 13 years Khenpo Rinpoche studied the complete Bon philosophical system of sutra, tantra and Dzogchen; and the general Tibetan sciences including Tibetan grammar, poetics, white and black astrology, Sanskrit grammar, sacred geometry or arts, and general Tibetan medicine.
In 1986, Khenpo Rinpoche began teaching philosophy and general Tibetan sciences to younger students and he also participated in many ritual ceremonies, cultural and social activities. From 1989 through 1992 he served as accountant, treasurer and then president of the school, and for a time he also served as the monastery’s ritual leader and discipline master. In 1994, having successfully completed the traditional 13-year course of study, Khenpo Rinpoche passed the 10-day final examination and was awarded his Geshe degree (doctorate) with acknowledgment from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
After graduating, Khenpo Rinpoche went to Kathmandu to further his studies of tantra and Dzogchen under the guidance of Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche. In 1996 His Holiness Menri Trizin Rinpoche and Yongdzin Rinpoche appointed Khenpo Rinpoche as Pönlop (principal teacher) of Triten Norbutse Monastery. Khenpo Rinpoche says he strongly felt the blessings of His Holiness and Yongdzin Rinpoche and enthusiastically accepted the opportunity to serve the Bon community and its ancient teachings. Since then Khenpo Rinpoche has taught at the Yungdrung Bon Academy of Higher Studies at Triten Norbutse Monastery, under the blessings of Yongdzin Rinpoche.
In 2001, Rinpoche was appointed as khenpo (abbot) of the monastery by H.H. Menri Trizin Rinpoche and H.E. Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche. Triten Norbutse Monastery is one of the two main Bon monasteries outside Tibet. Today, 170 resident monks study and practice there.
Since 2005, Khenpo Rinpoche has taken the responsibility of establishing the congregation of Shenten Dargye Ling in Paris, France (http://shenten.org/), for the preservation, research, teaching and practice of the Yungdrung Bon tradition.