Volume 18, Number 1 / February 2018

dharmawheeliconLetter from the Editors

Auspicious New Beginnings in 2018

Menri TrizinHis Holiness Geshe Dawa Dhargyal Rinpoche, the new 34th Menri TrizinDear Friends,

We have lots of wonderful news to start the New Year!

On January 1, 2018, the new 34th Menri Trizin was announced: His Holiness Geshe Dawa Dhargyal Rinpoche. You can learn more below about the selection process, as well as some of the details of his life growing up in Tibet and coming to India.

Bönpos everywhere are invited to the celebrations at Menri Monastery in India during the enthronement, which will take place February 16–21. Let's all be there in spirit!

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche will be hosting a special TWR LIVE Losar webcast on February 17 with Ligmincha International resident lamas participating as well. Other TWR LIVE webcasts are coming up, too.

The Voice of Clear Light newsletter begins the new year with a wonderful teaching excerpt from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche on "Longevity, Well-Being and Finding Freedom" from the 2018 Fall Retreat at Serenity Ridge. We joyfully announce that we will now start including a teaching excerpt in every issue of the Voice of Clear Light!

Enjoy a letter from Rob Patzig, president of Ligmincha International, about new projects happening this year, including a NEW online ngöndro course offered through Ligmincha Learning. Find out all the details in this issue.

Also included in this issue:

  • Special retreat in February with Marcy Vaughn on "Sherap Chamma: Mother of Wisdom and Love."
  • Details about spring retreats on "The Five Wisdoms" at Serenity Ridge and in Vienna, Austria.
  • GlideWing's next online workshop on the topic of waking and sleeping, beginning February 16.
  • More pith instructions teachings coming on TWR LIVE.
  • Meditation as Medicine, a just-released report on a study showing great benefits of meditation.
  • Link to a TWR LIVE conversation with teachers from six diverse Tibetan spiritual lineages.
  • Lishu Institute's new course of study beginning in September 2018.
  • An update from The 3 Doors Outlook for the new year.
  • Common Ground among Six Spiritual Traditions of Tibet – a TWR LIVE conversation.
  • The latest issue of Ligmincha Europe Magazine.
  • The Spanish translation of the December VOCL.

And as always, you can find Rinpoche’s upcoming teaching schedule here on Ligmincha's website.

Sending wishes of blessing, good health and good fortune,
Aline and Jeff

windhorseicon Bönpos Welcome His Holiness Geshe Dawa Dhargyal Rinpoche as 34th Menri Trizin


34th Menri TrizinNEWHis Holiness Geshe Dawa Dhargyal Rinpoche, the new 34th Menri TrizinThe Bön community worldwide welcomes His Holiness Geshe Dawa Dhargyal Rinpoche 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 HolinessGeshe Dawa Dhargyal and His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche

The 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.

34th Menri Trizin and YongdzinHis Holiness Geshe Dawa Dhargyal Rinpoche and His Eminence Yongdzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche

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, any candidates who did not wish to participate could submit their application to resign from the process by December 18.

On 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 in 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.

34th Menri Trizin AFrom left: H.E. Menri Lopon Trinley Nyima Rinpoche, Geshe Dawa Dhargyal Rinpoche, Khenpo Tenpa Nyima Rinpoche, abbot of Triten Norbutse Monastery in Nepal

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 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 add their collective prayers on 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.

34th Menri Trizin CFrom left: His Holiness Geshe Dawa Dhargyal Rinpoche, Geshe Tenzin Gyalpo, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Sangye Lama

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.

TWR blue red Longevity, Well-Being and Finding Freedom

An Edited Excerpt from Oral Teachings Given by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Fall 2017

It's definitely true that as humanity – as a society and as individuals – we do want to live as long as possible, and as well as possible. We want to learn as much as possible, serve as much as possible and live with each other in harmony as much as possible. That's for sure, there's no question about it. But it seems like it's limiting yourself if you are always thinking about trying to keep your body alive forever. First of all, it's not going to happen. Second, you might be wasting your time and also draining your energy faster than necessary. Sometimes, the more you struggle with life and aging and its many challenges, the more you are going to drain your energy rather than preserving it.

TWR Paris France 2017According to the principles of the teachings, when we turn toward that boundless space, infinite awareness, the warmth – that inner refuge –  there is no death. In that sacred space, there is no death. In that unceasing, unfolding energy there is no death. This sense of the deathless, ceaseless, changeless – the essence of ourselves – this is the ultimate realization, the ultimate recognition, what we need to achieve. So in some sense, longevity is important here, but not for trying to keep this body forever. I'm trying to convey what the relative and what the ultimate sense of longevity mean. Both are equally important.

At the same time, whatever your life situation is, it is important to be able to maintain some sense of well-being. We may find that we wake up in the morning feeling weak, lost, misplaced. We may feel like, “I don't know what to do, who I am, where I am, how I can feel stronger, better today, to do what I'm doing for the rest of the day.” Sometimes we do feel that we lose those energies. But we don't have to lose those energies if we have a better way of working with them. That is the place where these kinds of teachings are of benefit: working with relativity, working with circumstances, working with the natural elements, working with our own psychological states, working with inner knowledge and inner wisdom, working with the supports of the guardians, deities and wisdom beings.

So there are a lot of possibilities for what to work with. And, of course, no one has to work with what they don't believe in, or don't understand or don't want to understand. I always say this wherever I am teaching. No one has to do anything. One thing I have learned and that I try to practice in life is that you don't have to do anything if you don't want to do it. In the Bön teachings, Tonpa Shenrap always taught based on people's ability, what they are capable of understanding.

What matters is what you personally understand, and that you connect with what you understand, and that you apply what you understand directly to your life. Along with your understanding, there's always a sense of your staying open and trusting that there are more places for your growth. Because you are staying open with that trust, then those things that you are not capable of understanding at the moment, you won't undermine them, saying that they are bad, thinking that only what you are able to follow at the moment is the correct path and that all other paths are not good. It's not like that.

Now, I don't know if any of you feel that you are in the final stage of your development . . . [laughter]. If so, then I'm not sure why you would even be here. But because you are here, you believe there is still more space to step into and explore, and at the same time you believe that you know enough and are practicing as best you can. Holding that sense of space and trust I think is very important, even though what you are stepping into may not be very clear, and you may not know it very well at the moment.

TWR Senge Yongdzin January 2018Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche with his son, Senghe, and teacher, H.E. Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak RinpocheSo, there are a number of ways to understand and approach the teachings of longevity. And I think all of them are equally important to understand. The first view that I mentioned is the idea of deathless essence. This is important to understand because at some point you are not going to avoid death. You can avoid the struggle with death; you can avoid the fear of death; you can achieve peace with death; but you can not avoid death itself. If you are doing the practice of longevity to try to prolong life and delay death, that's fine, but not with the deep desire to avoid death entirely. That is just mistaken.

I've seen so many people in my life, again and again, unwilling or unable to accept death. They don't have any peace with death – it just happens to them. Some people even come to the stage where cognitively they are not able to feel or see anymore; they are not able to feel their fear anymore. In that place they simply become numb, and then death just happens to them. But it's not like they have peace with it, where they are in a position to die in peace. This seems difficult for them. So the sense of longevity practice in cases like this would be to find some rest in the space that simply accepts that death is approaching. 

However, longevity is not only about death. For example, there are circumstances in your life, things that you wish were different. Just look at your life and you will see many of them. Whatever it is for you, you wish it were different. But it has not been different for all these years, and very likely, it will not be different for the rest of your life. The only thing that can be different is the way you look at it – to be completely okay with whatever it is, to be completely not bothered by it. You are not only not bothered by it, but you are completely okay with it. You are not only okay with it, but you have a feeling of peace with it. You are not only feeling peace with it, but you are kind of every now and then enjoying it secretly. You are not only enjoying it, but at some point you can't imagine how your life will grow without that situation or that famous person being a big part of your development. Not only that, but you might begin to see that situation and that person as the greatest, truest opportunity for self-development in this lifetime. That situation and person is transformed. From struggle to peace, from blockages to opportunity – that's the work. So death is like that. Circumstances are like that.

There are things you feel that you are trying to do in your life, that you just want to change. We want to stop aging. There are people out there who actually believe that death can be avoided. Some people believe that in the next 15 to 20 years, it will be possible that people can live for a few hundred years. New technology, medicine. It's fine if that happens. But what is the purpose behind it? It's being so deeply identified with and attached to this one pain identity. But that's not a freedom, it's a trap.

There are some things in life that are a natural process that you cannot change. Maybe its something that doesn't need changing, but your ego thinks you need to change it. The situation is not a problem; rather, it's that the ego has a problem with the situation. Whatever the situation is, or wherever it is, it is fine just as it is, even though the ego may hate it. The situation will continuously evolve, that happens naturally. But the key is that one's ego has to evolve with the situation. That's called practice. We need to know what those situations are and not waste our time trying to change them; rather, we need to try to accept them. It's better to have peace with them rather than fight with them, trying to change them.

In these teachings then, there is the ultimate sense of what it means to achieve longevity, and there is the relative sense of working to overcome obstacles by working with the elements and nature and circumstances. So the ultimate and relative sense of the true aspects of longevity practice are both there. The main core of my message, though, is not to always think about fully avoiding the obstacle or unpleasant condition, or one's death, but rather, to have a better relationship with it. That is my main message. I have reflected about this a lot, because it seems like people have very strong feelings of only wanting to change it. Success for them is looked at as only one thing: to change it to the way I want it. True success is about the way one looks at that issue without changing it, and having a total freedom from it. That's the best success. Enlightenment is actually like that. You are the one who changes. You become free.

 ligmincha-international logo New Projects on the Horizon

Letter from Ligmincha International President Rob Patzig

prayer flags snow SRDear Sangha and Friends,

The year 2018 has begun with an extraordinary event! Last fall we entered a period of mourning and reflection as on September 14 His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche, the 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoche, passed away. And while no one can replace His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche, we rejoice in the appointment of his successor, the 34th Menri Trizin, His Holiness Geshe Dawa Dhargyal Rinpoche.

Under the auspices of the 34th Menri Trizin, and with the wisdom and guidance of our own Rob Patzig TWR May 2017Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche with Rob Patzigprecious teacher and spiritual director, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, we must all continue to work together to keep the Bön teachings alive for as long as there are sentient beings in need of them. To that end, you will see many new programs arriving this year from Ligmincha. Among the highlights are:

Rinpoche will release a new book by the fall: Spontaneous Creativity: Meditations for Manifesting Your Positive Qualities. When we are not driven by our pain or fear, we can open fully to whatever each moment of life has to offer us and to the treasure what we have to offer life. The gifts and potentials that arise spontaneously from within us are far more authentic and alive than anything our strategic mind might plan. Not bound by our limitations and agendas, we are more flexible, more aware and more productive – more successful in every way. This book helps us access this inner source and allow its authentic expression in our creative work and everyday lives.

We also will be releasing new courses this year on Ligmincha Learning. The first will become available starting March 2: a nine-month study and practice of the ngöndro, or preliminary practices, of the Experiential Transmission of Zhang Zhung. In “Ngöndro: The Foundational Practices,” videos of Rinpoche’s 2014 ngöndro retreat at Serenity Ridge are supplemented by support videos with Serenity Ridge resident lama Geshe Tenzin Yangton, print materials, a discussion forum, and monthly live practice and discussion sessions with John Jackson. To our knowledge, this is the first time this teaching has ever been offered online. This is a very special opportunity to connect with and prepare oneself for dzogchen teachings. Other new courses will follow later in the year. 

Under the direction of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Geshe Tenzin Yangton and several of Rinpoche’s more senior students are putting together criteria and support materials for starting small practice groups. All around the world we hear of people interested in creating local sanghas, or practice groups. We will soon launch a program for “hosts,” people who open their homes or offices to groups for practice, to learn how to succeed in such activities. We will offer videos and other materials on things such as preparing a shrine; how to select topics, books and videos to watch together; how to practice together, and more. Our goal is to make it easy to start a group to study the Bön teachings and learn and practice with Rinpoche and other Ligmincha teachers.

Finally, we have a committed group of technically savvy students who are taking responsibility for planning and improving our online activities. From our websites to social media to Ligmincha’s YouTube channel, all of these will become easier to use and work with.

As always, these projects are impossible without donations of time and money from practitioners like you. At this time we have a special need for support of our online programs. In particular, we need volunteers to help catalog and assign key words to the recordings at our Ocean of Wisdom website. We are also seeking a person who can help us upload to our YouTube channel, another who can help manage the channel, and someone with experience in social media marketing who can help us further the reach of Rinpoche’s TWR LIVE broadcasts. The above positions require at least five years of experience with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s teachings and a consistent daily practice. Other needs include a detail-oriented person who can transcribe Rinpoche’s Facebook live recordings.

For more information about these volunteer needs, please email the social media committee.
If you would like to volunteer for other kinds of projects, please This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
To make a financial contribution, visit our donations page.

In Bön,
Rob Patzig, President
Ligmincha International

 prayerflags1  Losar 2018

Welcome the Tibetan New Year February 17 on Ligmincha’s Facebook Page

PrayerFlagMountainAll are invited to join Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Ligmincha resident lamas and Ligmincha President Rob Patzig in a special live broadcast on Ligmincha International's Facebook page for joyfully ushering in the Tibetan New Year, the Year of the Earth Dog.

Saturday, February 17, 2018, 10–11:15 a.m. New York time

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche will be joining the webcast along with resident lamas, including (by our publication date) Geshe Yungdrung Gyatso from Poland, and Lama Kalsang Nyima and Lama Yungdrung Lodoe from Mexico. Rob Patzig will join the webcast from Serenity Ridge in Virginia. The webcast will begin at 10 a.m. New York time and should last approximately 75 minutes.

New Years Sang Drone footage Salvadore EspinosaNew Year's Day sang offering at Serenity Ridge Retreat Center. Drone footage by Salvador Espinosa.Losar, which in Tibetan means “new year,” is celebrated widely by Tibetans and Tibetan Bön and Buddhist centers throughout the world. This is a time to reflect on the passing of the old year and open to the possibilities of the new year.

For those who live near a gompa (meditation hall), the first day of Losar is often when families go to the gompa to pay their respects to the lama, circumambulate the temple, offer prayer flags to the monastery, raise prayer flags at one’s home and spend time with family. Often Tibetans will bring offerings to the gompa, such as flowers or butter lamps for the shrine or cookies for tea with the lama, and receive blessings that all activities of the coming year will be successful.

Please join us online for this special webcast.

View live on Ligmincha International Facebook page

Sherap Chamma icon 'Sherap Chamma: Mother of Wisdom and Love'

Serenity Ridge Retreat February 1618 with Marcy Vaughn

Sherap ChammaSherap Chamma, Mother of Wisdom and Love, is the source of wisdom, and her medicine is love and compassion. The teachings of Sherap Chamma comprise one of the most important tantric cycles of the ancient Bön tradition.

Marcy Vaughn, senior student of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, will help participants learn a beautiful and simple meditation practice enabling each to directly connect with the divine feminine energy.

With visualization, the sound of mantra and deep contemplation, participants can make a personal connection to this sacred form of the universal mother, Sherap Chamma, and are guided through this connection to innate wisdom and the love and compassion that naturally radiate from that wisdom.

Learn more/register

SerenityRidge new icon Upcoming Spring Retreats Focus on 'The Five Wisdoms'

Retreats at Serenity Ridge in Virginia and Vienna, Austria

Five Wisdoms calligraphyJoin Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche in exploring “The Five Wisdoms” this spring. Rinpoche will teach on the topic at the Serenity Ridge Spring Retreat April 13–15 and in Vienna, Austria May 11–13.

Wisdom has a specific meaning in dzogchen: the recognition of the natural state, one’s true nature. It does not refer to something we come by gradually or with age or experience; rather, it describes the recognition of the complete perfection in this moment, in any given moment.

When we realize the unbounded openness and pure awareness of our natural mind, this recognition displays itself as five distinct wisdom qualities.

  • Wisdom of emptiness: Seeing all phenomena including oneself as lacking inherent existence, we are open without boundary.
  • Mirrorlike wisdom: Recognizing all appearance as the display of the clear, unobscured nature of mind, we are rich with unlimited potential.
  • Wisdom of equanimity: Free of the bias of accepting or rejecting, we embrace all experience with openness, awareness and warmth.
  • Discriminating wisdom: Realizing the uniqueness of each appearance, we ripen the spontaneously arising virtuous qualities.
  • All-accomplishing wisdom: Complete in this moment, we express positive qualities creatively, spontaneously and effortlessly for the benefit of all.

Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in this special retreat in the United States or Europe.

Registration for the Serenity Ridge retreat opens February 16. Check the Serenity Ridge website article for registration information at that time.

Learn more

knotblueicon  ‘Ngöndro: The Foundational Practices’

New Ligmincha Learning Online Course Starting in March!

Ligmincha Learning is pleased to offer a NEW online course, “Ngöndro: The Foundational Practices.” This completely new course will begin March 2 and will continue for nine months until December 2, much longer than other online courses, due to the number of meditation practices and the commitment of the practitioners to accumulate 100,000 repetitions of many of the practices. Registration is now open for this course!

Tapihritsa-240wThe ngöndro teachings are a set of nine practices that offer complete instructions for taming, purifying and perfecting the suffering mind. Although these practices are considered the foundation for entrance into the five-part cycle of Tibetan Bön dzogchen teachings – Bön’s highest teachings on the nature of mind – many practitioners adopt the ngöndro as their main meditation and complete the nine sets of 100,000 repetitions over the course of a lifetime. They are considered to be the foundational practices for the entire tradition.

The ngöndro practices can be divided into three groups.

The Three Practices for Taming Oneself:

  • Opening Your Heart with Guru Yoga
  • Impermanence
  • Admitting Your Misdeeds

The Three Practices for Purifying Oneself:

  • Bodhicitta: Generating the Mind Intent on Enlightenment
  • Going for Refuge
  • Offering the Mandala

The Three Practices for Perfecting Oneself:

  • Purification Through Mantra
  • Offering Your Illusory Body as a Tsok
  • Request for Blessings

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche generally teaches the ngöndro only at the beginning of the five-year Experiential Transmission of Zhang Zhung dzogchen cycle. He recommends it for dedicated practitioners who feel a strong connection to the Bön lineage. Within the ngöndro are found practices that are used in many other meditations and practices, such as the guru yoga, bodhicitta and refuge prayers, prostrations and the Three Heart Mantras.

twrcutsideregi72This online course is drawn from recordings of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s ngöndro teachings at Serenity Ridge in Virginia in 2014 over the course of a weeklong retreat (the first in a five-year dzogchen series offered each December at Serenity Ridge). Additional recordings include demonstrations by Geshe Tenzin Yangton, Serenity Ridge’s resident lama, on how to create a shrine, make prostrations and perform mandala offerings.

The course includes teaching videos on each of the topics, many guided practices and a thorough written practice guide. You will be able to download MP3 audio recordings of each of the guided practices. Everyone also is encouraged to study the book Opening the Door to Bön and engage in the discussion forum to share insights, gain support from peers and resolve any questions with the course mentor, John Jackson. Live guided group meditations via Zoom will be held monthly so the whole group can join together for practice.

Course Dates: March 2–December 2, 2018
Cost: $495 for the nine-month course, $297 for people who have taken the ngondro with Tenzin Rinpoche before. Cancellation fee: $25 during the first week of the course.

Registration is now open.
Learn more/register

Also starting in March: "Transforming our Emotions Through the Six Lokas" with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. March 16–May 5, 2018.
Learn more/register

 knotredicon February GlideWing Workshop

'The Truth That Sets You Free: Discovering Your Inner Wisdom Through Practices of Waking and Sleeping'

profile tenzin wangyal rinpocheThe next GlideWing online workshop with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, “The Truth That Sets You Free: Discovering Your Inner Wisdom Through Practices of Waking and Sleeping,” will be held February 17–March 11, 2018. Learn and practice from your own home, at your own schedule, with personal guidance from Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.

This three-week workshop is about becoming liberated from fear and other disturbing emotions so you may live more fully and genuinely in all aspects of life. Ultimately, it's about achieving final liberation, or enlightenment.

The meditations taught in this workshop include daytime contemplative practices from the dzogchen, or "great perfection," tradition of Tibetan Bön Buddhism. They also include sleep yoga practices of the night from the Bön Mother Tantra, which offer helpful support for one's dzogchen practice. Through these practices and meditations, Rinpoche helps you to discover the truth of who you are: a sense of spacious awareness that is beyond the ego-based identity and which is eternal, changeless, indestructible and serene. Realizing this truth is what liberates us from the fear and negative emotions that have trapped us in suffering.

Learn more/register

Coming in March: FREE three-week online course, "Focusing and Calming Your Mind: The Tibetan Practice of Zhine" with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. March 17–April 1, 2018.
Learn more/register

twr live logo TWR LIVE Pith Instructions Continue in 2018

Free Facebook Broadcasts with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

TWRLiveLogoForLigLearningHomepage-300x148Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche plans to continue offering teachings in his Pith Instructions series on TWR LIVE this year. View the three January teachings in this live Facebook series in the Ligmincha Learning website’s archive of recordings, and look for more to come.

The first teaching of three related broadcasts, “Discovering the Dance of Stillness,” was held January 18. "Finding the Melody in Silence" was held January 27, and "Embracing the Warmth of Spaciousness" on January 29.

In the Pith Instruction series, which began in 2017, Rinpoche draws from his own years of personal practice and reflection on the heart-essence of the teachings of dzogchen, or "great perfection," to offer these teachings and guided meditations. The practice of dzogchen can transport the practitioner directly into the nature of mind, our real essence.

Check the links below to learn about upcoming broadcasts and view past teachings.

More about TWR LIVE
Video introduction to the Pith Instructions series
Archive of past TWR LIVE recordings

Hung 'Meditation as Medicine' Research Study Results

Pain Reduced by One-Third Among Online Workshop Participants

Rinpoche blwhIn summer 2016, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and GlideWing Online Workshops offered a three-week online workshop featuring Bön Buddhist teachings and meditation practices for reducing physical and emotional pain. A formal research study was conducted to determine the effects of the workshop.

The findings showed that participants’ physical and emotional pain were reduced by more than one-third after three weeks, and that the effects persisted after the workshop. There was a very strong correlation between worst daily levels of pain and levels of draining or wasted energy for participants on the days of the workshop. TrueHealingCover

The workshop, "Healing from the Source: Meditation as Medicine for Body and Mind," was based on meditation practices detailed in The True Source of Healing by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Hay House, 2015. Study volunteers were invited to bring to the workshop any form of pain they wished to heal – anything from mild physical, mental or emotional discomfort to severe or deeply rooted pain – and were encouraged to engage as fully as possible in viewing the instructional videos, practicing the meditations and completing the study-related surveys. 

Throughout, participants learned how to host their pain in open awareness. They were encouraged to cultivate kindness toward self and kindness toward pain, and with any dissolution of pain they were guided to notice any positive, healing qualities arising from the space that opened up.

Read the Pain Study Report

The next GlideWing session of "Healing from the Source" is scheduled for June 30–July 22, 2018. 
Learn more

ahicon  A Meeting of Hearts and Minds

'Common Ground Among Six Spiritual Traditions of Tibet'

TWR LIVE 6 Lamas FB Event   Banner.001On January 3, 2018, acclaimed Tibetan Buddhist teachers from six diverse Tibetan spiritual traditions participated in a TWR LIVE discussion of the common ground between their respective traditions — Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, Nyingma, Jonang and Yungdrung Bön. The live broadcast was recorded and can be viewed via the links below.

The event was unique not just for its esteemed presenters and subject matter, but also for its considerable online exposure, with nearly 42,000 views of the recorded broadcast logged within the first six days of the livestream, many of them by Tibetan viewers. In advance of the broadcast, Voice of America interviewed Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche on its Cyber Tibet television program.

Transcending sectarian interests, the esteemed panelists drew from their deep knowledge and rich lifetime experience to examine shared values and commitments toward the well-being of society and the world. Their conversation was conducted in Tibetan and simultaneously translated into as many as 18 languages, including English. CommonGround5 1

Presenters included:

Chakung Jigme Wangdrak Rinpoche
Khen Rinpoche Jampa
Yangten Rinpoche
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
Sogan Rinpoche
Jonang Gyaltsab Rinpoche
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

This event is part of an ongoing series of TWR LIVE Conversations hosted by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. Future conversations may include interfaith discussions among female Buddhist teachers with a focus on women's important role in spirituality—one to be conducted in Tibetan, another in English, with simultaneous translation into multiple languages.

View original "Common Ground" recording in Tibetan
View "Common Ground" recording overdubbed with simultaneous English translation
Links to translations in other languages
More about TWR LIVE

lishu-logo Lishu Institute's New Curriculum

Interviews with Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Sangmo Yangri

Lishu Institue

Lishu Institute, Ligmincha’s residential retreat center for intensive practice and study of Bön in Northern India, will complete its first three years of teaching and study in June and will begin a new cycle in September 2018.

The curriculum has been revised, and participants are now able to apply for any of the three 10-week cycles offered during a year, as well as for the entire yearly cycle of study.

The schedule for 2018–2019 is as follows:

  • September 4–November 10, 2017: Demonstration of the Meaning of the Tantra of the Twelve Small Precepts (practice on the natural state of the mind)
  • January 15–March 23, 2018: The Practice Manual Called the Six Essential Points of the Bodhichitta (Six Lamps – practice of vision)
  • April 9–June 15, 2018: The 21 Nails

The following edited interview with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, founder and spiritual director of Lishu Institute, and Sangmo Yangri, who designed the curriculum for the new program, conducted by student Tiany Tefy, originally appeared in the Autumn 2017 issue of Ligmincha Europe Magazine.

Rinpoche, Lishu Institute will introduce a new curriculum in September 2018, after the completion of the first three-year program. Does this mean the vision of the institute's mission has changed?

There will be changes in the curriculum starting next year, but the main purpose of Lishu Institute hasn't changed. The emphasis has always been and will continue to be providing long-term, residential and in-depth studies in the Bön tradition, preserving Yungdrung Bön's rich teachings and unique heritage.

Although students only began studying at Lishu Institute in 2015, the vision, preparation and work began many years before. We initially planned a five-year program of study, but discovered that this would not be feasible for most people. So we turned that into a three-year program, with the flexibility to come for only 10 weeks at a time to study specific topics.

After reviewing the results of the first three-year term, we are introducing some changes. We are adapting to people's needs. A big change is that, because of the redesign of the courses, students can begin at any time, and commit to as much of the curriculum as they want. Or, students can come to study specific aspects of the Bön teachings according to their interests and background.

There is so much benefit that comes from stepping out of one's daily routines to study and practice dharma. We want to support as many people as we can, and we want to recognize that the modern world makes such a commitment quite difficult. These changes are meant to help with that.

We are not diluting the teachings, or simplifying them. Sangmo-la has diligently put this program together. And Geshe Sherab Lodoe and Sangmo-la are very skilled, very experienced teachers. They, and visiting teachers, will continue to present the highest quality courses. What we are doing is adding emphasis to the areas that are most relevant to the greatest number of students. So it is a continuous change with the flow of conditions.

What are the main changes from the first program?

The main change is that the Nine Ways of Bön, which is more study-orientated, will not be carried over. The Ma Gyud and Dzogchen teachings, which are practice-oriented, will remain. Moreover, there will be a new teaching on the Bön Lam Rim, a foundational text, together with a Ngöndro retreat.

Lishu Institute also will offer more short-term (two-week) retreats. For example, we currently have such a retreat on the practice of Yeshe Walmo on the calendar. This will give the opportunity to more people to experience the environment of Lishu Institute and get a taste for in-depth study, without having to start with such a big commitment.

lishu-1Teachers, students and others gather on the top balcony of Lishu with surrounding mountains in the background.

What future developments are foreseen for Lishu Institute?

There will continue to be changes and refinements to the curriculum and its presentation as we learn from our experiences. I think that you will see some blending of the residential program with online supplementation. We have many dedicated students who cannot make the financial commitment to travel to India for an extended period. And so, while I strongly encourage students who can to go to Lishu Institute, it isn't realistic to think that this is possible for everyone.

Online programs also are a good way to extend what is taught at Lishu Institute. We might offer onsite programs with online components that go on before, during or even afterwards. Then, students who desire can really go deep into the teachings. This would be a good way to study the Tibetan language, for just one example.

There may also be more special-topic courses, like the Powa retreat held last year. There are many wonderful Bön lamas and teachers who we would like to invite to Lishu Institute to share their knowledge. But first we must establish a solid foundation or base. We need to see more students coming to Lishu Institute.

Rinpoche, do you have any words or advice?

lishu-3 1Geshe Thupten Gyaltsen Negi, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and Sangmo Yangri

I believe that Lishu Institute is very important. I have been teaching in the West now for over 25 years, and I am overjoyed to see how many students are connecting to Bön, how many geshes and lamas are coming to the West now from the monasteries in India, Nepal and Tibet. A next step is for Western students to really engage deeply with Bön – to learn the texts in their original language, to commit to extended practice and study retreats, to really bring the essence of the teachings into their cultures and experience.

One of the great features of Buddhism and of the Shenrap in general is that it adapts itself to each culture that it encounters. That flexibility is what makes it as alive today as it has ever been. However, the origins of the teachings, their language, symbolism and unique flavor, must be preserved. These qualities keep us connected to the lineage of masters, root lamas and enlightened beings. Lishu Institute is here for that purpose: to help motivated students deepen and solidify their connection to the lineage of Yungdrung Bön. 

Sangmo-la, the first three-year program at Lishu Institute will be completed in June 2018. Tell us about what has happened since September 2015.

Last June we completed the first two-year teaching, on the Nine Ways of Bön and then the Six Great Methods (Tummo, Dream Yoga, Chöd, Phowa, Bardo and Sleep Yoga) from the Mother Tantra. This year, the teaching is on Dzogchen, the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyud cycle. There are three retreat/teaching periods of 10 weeks each per year. Most of the students attended one or two periods. During the first year, three students completed the whole cycle and in the second year, two students completed the whole year. It has usually been a small group of students so that those who are determined can do in-depth study and practice.

Please tell us more about the retreat.

The first year was more study oriented, whereas the Ma Gyud and Dzogchen cycles are more practice oriented. These are intensive practice retreats. The daily schedule starts at 6.30 a.m., and the last practice session ends at 8:30 or 9 p.m. There are four practice sessions a day and two hours of teaching. Moreover, the students perform daily different rituals and prayers (smoke offering, Sur offering, Chöd, prayers to the Bön protectors).

Does it mean that the students also learn to perform these rituals?

Yes they do. The main focus of the teaching is of course the given topic, the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyud this year. Additionally, the students will learn how to sing and recite the prayers, how to play the sacred musical instruments for different rituals and how to make torma for offerings. The different activities of the day will provide students with various opportunities to practice.

Each student has different interests: some people feel naturally attracted to devotional practices, others to more analytical meditation, and some like both. When the students go back to their homes, they will continue practicing what works for them.

What are the assets of Lishu Institute for retreat?

lishu-4 2Student and teachers gather together outside Lishu.First, the environment of Lishu Institute is very conducive for practice and study. The institute is located in the countryside, surrounded by beautiful lush green areas and mountains. Yet for India, easy to access, there is an airport in Dehradun, the closest big city. Second, India is definitely a very potent place for spiritual practices. Third, Lishu Institute is close to Menri Monastery, the mother monastery of Yundgrung Bön. Lastly, the retreats are organized in a way that the students do not need to take care of any logistic regarding everyday life. The only thing they have to do is to clean their own room.

Do you have many exchanges with Menri Monastery?

The students usually go to receive blessings from the great masters in Menri Monastery at the end of each cycle. For instance, at the end of the last Ma Gyud retreat in June, they met and received blessings from His Holiness. At the end of the Phowa retreat, Menri Lopon Rinpoche performed the kusha grass ceremony.

Moreover, we have received at Lishu Institute several masters from Menri Monastery to give teachings, we hosted nuns from Redna Menling Nunnery to perform tsok offering, and Menri Lopon Rinpoche bestowed very important initiations before we started the Ma Gyud and Dzogchen cycles.

Please tell us about the new curriculum.

We will maintain the Ma Gyud and the Dzogchen teachings. Instead of the Nine Ways of Bön, we'll introduce the Lam Rim (path to enlightenment), which will be done with a ngöndro retreat practice. This is a very important teaching in Bön. Last June, when the students met with His Holiness, he insisted that this foundational teaching should be given to and practiced diligently by the students. Especially for those who study the higher vehicles of tantra and dzogchen, he said several times how crucial this is.

Furthermore, the curriculum won't be a three-year program any longer, but several modules. There will be three modules per year, and each of them can be attended independently. Of course, for all the modules on tantra and dzogchen, we recommend that people attend the foundational teachings if they have not received and practiced those previously.

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche also talked about short-term retreats in the new curriculum. Sangmo-la, can you say more about that?

Actually we have already organized two-week retreats for specific groups. With the new curriculum, we plan to have two short retreats per year. The focus of Lishu Institute will still be the longer retreats, yet we would like to provide the opportunity for more people to benefit from the Lishu Institute environment. These short retreats will also enable people to visit the great Stupa in Dehradun, to discover the nearby Bön Za Mongyal Monastery and of course Menri Monastery.

What will a year at Lishu look like?

As I said, there are three teaching periods per year; the first period from September to November will be on the Lam Rim. The two other periods, from January to March and then from April to June will be on one of the Six Yogas of the Mother Tantra or on Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyud. Between these long retreats, in December and in March, we'll organize two-week retreats, for example, on the Sipe Gyalmo healing ritual.

Who will be the teachers for the new curriculum?

Menri Geshe Sherab Lodoe, who is the current resident teacher at Lishu Institute, will continue to teach. I will translate Geshe-la's teachinglishu-6 2Sangmo Yangri and Menri Geshe Sherab Lodoe from Tibetan to English and teach some topics as well. You can find detailed biography of the Lishu Institute teachers on the website www.lishu.org. Geshe Thupten Gyaltsen Negi, who has visited sanghas in Europe several times, will carry on his tasks as administrative and logistic manager.

Do people need to apply to attend one of the retreats?

For the two-week retreats, people can register by contacting us directly. For the 10-week retreats, we'll still request people to fill in an application form. There are two reasons for this: first, filling in the form helps the person to clarify their motivation to commit for a long period. The second reason is, it is important for us when working with a group to have an idea of people's background.

For further information please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The 3 Doors square icon The 3 Doors in the New Year

New Report, Online Meditation and North American Academy

TWR in Mexico during The 3 Doors International RetreatAs The 3 Doors greeted the New Year in January, Outlook Report 2018 offered a colorful summary of where the organization has been and where it is going. The 3 Doors, founded by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, teaches ancient Tibetan meditation methods that are relevant to modern life. Please take a look and learn about The 3 Doors Practitioners Association (3PA), Programs and News, Development Initiatives and more.

Read Outlook Report 2018 

Outlook Report 2018 was presented at The 3 Doors International Retreat in Merida, Mexico in January 2018, where the themes included collective wisdom, service to others and connections within The 3 Doors community. Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche enjoyed learning from 3 Doors Academy graduates about the service they bring to the world in their homes, communities, schools and professions, and he offered practices and inspiration to continue.

Look for a report on the International Retreat on The 3 Doors website and in the next issue of VOCL.

Register for 'The Joy of Embodied Presence'

Led by 3 Doors Senior Teacher Laura Shekerjian, this four-week online meditation program explores the body as a powerful doorway into open awareness and the vibrancy of direct experience. The next four-week session starts on April 21, 2018.

  • Use shifts in posture to open the body, connect with stillness and increase inner stability.
  • Use breath to slow the moving mind and deepen relaxation.
  • Refine attention to bodily sensation to increase attunement to the present moment.
  • Recognize how the immediacy of bodily experience, when grounded in the space of being, increases joy and deep well-being.

Learn more and register

Apply to Next North American 3 Doors Academy

Applications are being accepted for the next 3 Doors North American Academy. It will begin in October 2018, and the six group retreats will be held at Serenity Ridge Retreat Center in Shipman, Virginia over two and one-half years. The North American Academy is taught by 3 Doors senior teachers Marcy Vaughn and Gabriel Rocco.

The Academy provides the opportunity to engage deeply in the process of self-discovery. It is rigorous in the sense that participants are asked to make an active and ongoing commitment to self-reflection and meditation. It is challenging at times, since facing yourself can be humbling and disorienting. And it is frequently joyful, since the freedom of going beyond perceived limitations and experiencing the abundant resources of your true nature is liberating. A great strength of the program is that it draws upon the collective power of the group for support in transforming personal limitations.

Learn more and apply

twricon Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche's Teaching Schedule

Upcoming Retreats for February–May 2018

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s new 2018 teaching schedule by date and location is available on the Ligmincha International website.

The schedule includes Rinpoche’s in-person teachings at Ligmincha International retreat centers or other locations throughout the world. It also includes his online teachings offered through Ligmincha Learning and GlideWing. A schedule of free TWR LIVE teachings offered regularly through Rinpoche’s Facebook page can be found on Ligmincha Learning as broadcasts are scheduled.

The schedule will be updated as teachings are added or revised.

Here is a list of Rinpoche’s retreats and presentations as we know them so far for February through May:

Schedule by date
Schedule by location

Om icon Ligmincha Europe Magazine Autumn 2017

Featuring Worldwide Sangha News

Enjoy the latest issue, published in late December 2017. 

View here


Spanish Translation of VOCL
Link to December Issue Now Available

Look for the translations of Voice of Clear Light newsletters at the top of the Voice of Clear Light website. We hope to have the translation of VOCL in Portuguese at a later date.

Read VOCL in Spanish


Upcoming Retreats

Serenity Ridge Retreat Center

The retreats listed below will take place at Serenity Ridge Retreat Center, Ligmincha International headquarters located in rural Nelson County, Virginia. To register or for more information, click on the links below,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or call 434-263-6304. 

February 16–18, 2018
Special Retreat: Sherap Chamma: Mother of Wisdom and Love
with Marcy Vaughn
Learn more/register

April 13–15, 2018
Spring Retreat: The Five Wisdoms
with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Learn more/register

June 24–July 7, 2018
Summer Retreat: Tummo: Inner Fire of Realization
with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

October 17–21, 2018 
Fall Retreat: Powa: Transfer of Consciousness from the Bön Mother Tantra
with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

December 27, 2017–January 1, 2018
Winter Retreat:
The Experiential Transmission of Zhang Zhung, Part 5
with Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche
Prerequisite: Previous completion of Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Experiential Transmission of Zhang Zhung series.

To register for any of the above retreats, or for more information about teachings in the Bön Buddhist tradition of Tibet, please  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , call 434-263-6304 or visit the Serenity Ridge website.