Most Recent Ligmincha International Annual Report

Serenity Ridge overview

The most recent Ligmincha International Annual Report can be found here (in PDF format):

2015 Ligmincha International Annual Report

GESHE YUNGDRUNG GYATSO

Geshe Yungdrung GyatsoGeshe Yungdrung Gyatso is the resident lama of Ligmincha Poland. He lives in the Chamma Ling Poland center in Wilga, near Warsaw.

Geshe Gyatso was born in 1980 in Dolpo in Bicher village, where the oldest Bon monastery, Dolpo Samling, is located. The monastery was founded by the great Yangton lineage master Yangton Gyaltsen Rinchen, an important lineage in master in the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyud.

His father was a Nagpa, a Bonpo lay practitioner, and he is a doctor in Tibetan medicine. His mother is a Nyingma practitioner. Geshe-la’s birth name was Tsewang Gyaltsen, and he received the name Yungdrung Gyatso (“Ocean of Immortality”) when he took his monk vows with His Eminence Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, the most senior teacher of the Bon tradition.

Geshe Gyatso remained in his village until he was 9 years old. From age 5, he spent his summers taking care of sheep and yaks. The winters he spent mostly with his father in a monastery. There he learned Tibetan reading and writing, recited mantras and sometimes helped his father prepare tsok offerings. At age 9, he and his father traveled to Kathmandu where he became one of the first monks to begin study at Triten Norbutse Monastery in Kathmandu.

There he received teachings from His Eminence Yongdzin Rinpoche who gave teachings in the morning, and in the afternoon did reading and writing. In 1994 a new large temple was finished, and His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche was invited for the consecration. After that, the dialectic school and meditation group started, and Geshe Gyatso joined the dialectic school, along with about 100 other monks.

Geshe Gyatso began studying for his Geshe degree at Triten Norbutse Monastery in 1994 and received his degree in 2009. After completing his Geshe degree, he did a 100-day retreat where he practiced tsa lung and trul khor (which work with breath, channels, chakras and movement).

During his studies at Triten Norbutse, he had two opportunities to visit Europe when the monastery sent a cham dance group to France, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium. After receiving his Geshe degree, he was again invited to visit several countries in Europe, including Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia and Poland, where he gave public talks and some teachings. During his third visit to Europe in 2013, he spent one month in Vienna, Austria, making Bonpo tormas and conducting rituals and a cham dance. Then he began traveling and teaching throughout Europe.

In 2010 and 2011, while he was a member of the board of Triten Norbutse Monastery, Geshe Gyatso came to know Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche well because Rinpoche visited regularly. During his third visit to Europe he met Rinpoche in Berlin. In 2013 Tenzin Rinpoche asked Geshe Gyatso if he wanted to stay in Poland and teach in the Polish sangha, and other European sanghas. In January 2015 Geshe Gyatso came to Chamma Ling Poland, and officially became resident lama of Chamma Ling Poland in March 2015.

Since that time, several retreats have been held in Wilga, along with teachings and practices in different cities in Poland. Every day the sangha has morning and evening practices, which anyone can attend. People also invite Geshe Gyatso to conduct special rituals and visit their homes.

Geshe Tenzin Yangton

Geshe Yangton 1 16 croppedGeshe Tenzin Yangton is the resident lama at Serenity Ridge Retreat Center, the headquarters of Ligmincha International located in rural Nelson County, Virginia.

Born in 1974 in Chharka (pronounced “Tsarka”), a remote village in the Dolpo region of western Nepal bordering Tibet, he is part of the ancient Yangton lineage, said to go back to the time of Buddha Tonpa Shenrap more than 18,000 years ago and traceable to Yangton Sherap Gyaltsen, who was born in 1077.

As a child, Geshe Yangton and his twin brother completed the customary three-year retreat. After a series of tests in which it was determined that Geshe Yangton would train to become a monk while his twin remained at home, in 1990 Geshe Yangton traveled with his uncle, Lama Tashi Gyaltsen, to Triten Norbutse Monastery. There, he took his vows as a novice monk from Yongdzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche. He studied mandalas (khyikhor), writing and grammar, learned many rituals and received teachings from Yongdzin Rinpoche.

In 1991, Tenzin Yangton travelled to Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India. In April of the following year, he enrolled in the Bön Dialect School in Dolanji, where he took the full 250 vows. His rigorous schedule included study and practice of sutra, tantra and dzogchen; reasoning and debate; rituals, art and poetry; numerous initiations and special events, and long retreats, among other things. He attained his Geshe Degree in 2006.

Geshe Yangton also became assistant to Menri Lopon Trinley Nyima Rinpoche, his uncle. As assistant to Menri Lopon, he had the opportunity to visit the United States, Europe and Russia. In 2007, he studied English in Houston, Texas with the support of western dharma friends and sangha members. He had known Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, founder and spiritual director of Ligmincha International for many years and visited Serenity Ridge a number of times during his travels.

After receiving his geshe degree, Geshe Yangton voluntarily taught younger monks to support the monastery and increase his learning. He was coordinator of Yanggon Thongdrol Phuntsog Ling Monastery in his home village of Chharka, Nepal, the Dolpo Tsaga Welfare Healthcare Clinic, and many other projects. He was preparing to move to Dolpo when Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche asked him to come to Serenity Ridge as the resident lama. He arrived at Serenity Ridge on May 29, 2014.

Plans are under way for Geshe Yangton to conduct regular meditation/practice sessions, rituals and retreats and workshops at Serenity Ridge, help during Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s retreats and visits of other lamas, and more. He is particularly interested in tantric rituals and may be available in the future to conduct workshops on areas such as making torma, the sang chod smoke offering ritual, soul retrieval and medicine Buddha practices. In January 2015, following the 2014 Winter Retreat at Serenity Ridge, Geshe Yangton will lead a Ngondro Practice Retreat for participants who have  received the ngondro teachings and transmission of the Experiential Transmission of Zhang Zhung prior to Jan. 1, 2015.

Geshe Yangton also feels a responsibility toward his monastery, Yanggon Tongdrol Phuntsok Ling (www.yanggon.org), and the Dolpo Tsarga Welfare Healthcare Clinic. He expects to continue his work to preserve the culture and teachings of Bön in general, and the Yangton lineage in particular, in his village of Chharkha and plans at some point to return to the area.

GESHE KHORDEN LHUNDUP GYALTSEN

Geshe Lhundup Gyaltsen A croppedGeshe Khorden Lhundup Gyaltsen is the resident lama of Ligmincha France. He lives and teaches in Paris.

Geshe Lhundup was born in Tibet in a very small village called Damranji, in Kham, about 375 miles from Lhasa, to a nomad family. His mother was a serious dharma practitioner. When he was about 6 years old he began to tend the yaks and sheep. At about age 12, he made the decision to become a monk (all of his brothers and sisters also became monks or nuns) and went to Patsang Monastery in Kham. Patsang is one of the lineages of important Yungdrung Bon families.

His first master, Rashi Togden Rinpoche, lived about 60 miles from Geshe Lhundup’s home. The master was from the Nyingma lineage and also a lineage holder of Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen, a great Dzogchen master of the Bon tradition of Tibet. Geshe Lhundup learned much from his master, who spent his life in dzogchen meditation. He spent a year in the mountain with his second master, Beru Togden Rinpoche, learning dzogchen and tsa lung. From his third master, Togden Sherab Phuntsok Rinpoche, Geshe Lhundup received, along with about 200 monks from all over Tibet, transmission of all of Shardza Rinpoche’s texts, plus trul khor and dzogchen teachings.

Geshe Lhundup was already a monk when, taking the advice of his uncle, a Phatsang lama who left Tibet in 1959, he decided to leave Tibet to study in India. In 1993, along with a group of 29 people (including four Bonpo monks) he escaped by traveling through the Himalayas, which included a month’s walk from Mt. Kailash to Nepal. They were met in Kathmandu by H.E Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, most senior teacher in the Bon tradition and founder of Triten Norbutse Monastery in Nepal. After offering them lodging at Triten Norbutse for a week, Yongdzin Rinpoche encouraged the monks to continue on to Menri Monastery in India, where they could study for the Geshe degree.

Geshe Lhundup studied at Menri Monastery from 1993–2009, progressing through the eight levels in the Bon dialectic school. The traditional course of study for all the monks included sutra, tantra and Dzogchen, and also Tibetan grammar, poetry, astrology, medicine, mandala painting, yoga and meditation. After 15 years, he received his Geshe degree.

Upon leaving Menri, Geshe Lhundup went to Dharamsala, India to learn English. After about a year, Tibetan friends in Europe advised him to go to France. He quickly got a residence card, and began working in a bakery, where he remained for a year. In France, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche contacted him in 2010 to provide advice and suggest that Geshe Lhundup begin working with Rinpoche’s students in France. Students at that time had a small practice group. They helped Geshe Lhundup get an apartment and take French lessons, and he began teaching yoga.

In 2013 Geshe Lhundup began working more directly with students in France. The group met for trul khor three hours each week, where sangha members helped him develop the French vocabulary of anatomy to help him to teach Western students. He also worked on a one-year meditation program so people with no prior meditation experience could progress in their practice..

What began as a small group of five to six people has grown to a sangha of about 25, and the group has met in a new location since September 2015. In addition to leading the Ligmincha France sangha, Geshe Lhundup also has taught several times in Germany, has been invited to teach in the Netherlands and expects to visit other countries in Western Europe.

Lama Yungdrung Lodoe

GesheLodoeLama Yungdrung Lodoe lives in Valle de Bravo, Mexico, where he is a teacher with Ligmincha Mexico. Born in Tenchen, Tibet, in 1978, Yungdrung Lodoe entered Tondol Ritod Monastery in Chumpo, Tibet, at age 9. There, he received training and teachings on rituals, practices and ceremonies for three years, followed by three years of meditating while in retreat in the mountains.

Yungdrung Lodoe studied Tibetan art for three years at the home village of Yongdzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, the most senior teacher in the Bon tradition. He also studied thangka painting with master Seregn Yonpal for three years in Chumpo, Tibet and calligraphy and mandala painting with master Are Tenzin for one year in Retod Gompa Monastery in Tibet. At the age of 26, Lama Lodoe went to India to study modern art.

In January 2011, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche asked Lama Lodoe to come to Mexico to paint mandalas for the Great Bon Stupa for World Peace at Chamma Ling Valle de Bravo. He has lived in Mexico since that time, working on projects for the Stupa.