The Shenten Dargye Ling center
The History of Shenten Dargye Ling
H.E. Yongdzin Lopön Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche founded Triten Norbutse Monastery in Nepal in 1987. After the monastery was firmly established, Rinpoche perceived the need to make the teachings and transmission also accessible in the West. In 1989 he was the first person to give Bön teachings in the West. From 1989 until 2019, Yongdzin Rinpoche has travelled to Western countries every year, sparing no effort to teach and transmit Yungdrung Bön and, more generally, Tibetan culture to students from 35 different countries.
At the beginning of 2001 Rinpoche established Shenten Dargye Ling in France for the preservation, research, teaching and practice of Yungdrung Bön. The Tibetan name Shenten Dargye Ling means “the Sanctuary where the Teaching of Tonpa Shenrab Flourishes”. In 2005 Loel Guinness, a student and friend of Rinpoche’s generously donated the property for this new monastery in western France to transmit the teachings of the Yungdrung Bon tradition to the West in a completely authentic way, in its entirety and at the highest quality.
In 2006 Shenten Dargye Ling was recognized by the French Ministry of Interior as a Religious Congregation, confirming its status as a fully independent and authentic spiritual organization. This was the first time, since Buddhism entered Tibet some 1200 years ago, that Yungdrung Bön has been recognized as an independent religion having its own pre-Buddhist spiritual and cultural heritage.
Yungdrung Bön, the original religion of Tibet, is one of the world's most ancient spiritual and cultural traditions. It has a unique and very rich heritage, and its deep knowledge helps sentient beings to cope with the demands of daily life and ultimately leads them all to attain the full enlightenment.
The Congregation of Shenten Dargye Ling comprises ordained monks and nuns, as well as lay practitioners. The ordained community is organized under Shenten Dargye Ling Congregation, headed by Khenchen (Abbot) of Triten Norbutse, Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche. Since 2013 Geshe Gelek Jinpa has served as Khenpo (Abbot) of Shenten Dargye Ling. The lay community is organised under Shenten Dargye Ling Association.
Over the past years Yongdzin Rinpoche, Khenchen Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche, Khenpo Gelek Jinpa and other lamas and Geshes have transmitted the incomparably profound Dzogchen teachings according to the four great Dzogchen Cycles of Yungdrung Bön and elaborated ancient texts by their insight and experience.
Rinpoche established in Shenten Dargye Ling also a regular “Gomdra”, or a four-year meditation school of seventy-days each year, giving westerners the opportunity to deepen their practice and learn meditation and philosophy in the same systematic way that monks do in the main Bön monasteries. The first Gomdra program according to the Dzogchen Atri Cycle took place in 2009-2012; and the second one according to the Practice Manual of Dru Gyalwa Yungdrung on Oral Transmission of Zhang Zhung in 2014-2017. The third, ongoing Gomdra focuses on the Dzogchen Cycle of Drakpa Korsum, and its extensive commentary of Yangtse Longchen.
H.H. the 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche visited Shenten Dargye Ling in 2010. This occasion was an extreme opportunity to bring together the "Sun and Moon" of the Bön tradition. During his visit, His Holiness gave many teachings and conferred the initiation of Sherab Chamma. He concluded his visit with his blessings, saying that this monastery will be the main place for the practice and study of authentic Dzogchen in the West. His successor, H.H. the 34th Menri Trizin Lungtok Dawa Dhargyal Rinpoche visited Shenten Dargye Ling in 2019 and gave teachings and the Red Garuda initiation.
Thanks to Yongdzin Rinpoche's considerable contribution to preserving and transmitting the Bön tradition, his most cherished wishes are being fulfilled through the dedicated and intensive work of masters in the monasteries he established: one in India, one in Nepal, and one in France. The extraordinary spiritual and cultural heritage of the ancient kingdom of Zhang Zhung, the Yungdrung Bön, is flourishing today. Its traditions of scholarship and practice are perpetuated, its history is studied, and its vast collection of canonical texts is preserved.
Activities of resident lamas and monks
Resident lamas and monks practice the three practices of generosity daily: Sangchöd and meditation in the morning, Surchöd in the afternoon, and Chöd and meditation in the evening.
In addition to these daily activities, they recite prayers, perform rituals and Tsoks (offerings, ganapuja) on special days and occasions. At the request of Sangha members, lamas and monks recite Bardo prayers, long life prayers, and perform rituals to remove obstacles.
Regular teachings and practice retreats
Shenten Dargye Ling holds regular teaching and practice retreats during the summer and autumn, as well as at Christmas and Easter. These retreats are open to all interested students and practitioners of any nationality. During the retreats, accommodation and meals are provided at an affordable rate.
The resident lamas give weekly teachings to the local communities, organise social and charitable activities, and receive visitors to Shenten Dargye Ling Monastery.
Personal retreats and Gomdra
Practitioners are welcome to come to Shenten Dargye Ling to undertake personal retreats and Thögal Dzogchen retreats under the guidance of the resident lamas.
The four-year programme of the Third Gomdra, according to the Yangtse Longchen, a detailed commentary on the Dzogchen cycle of the Drakpa Korsum, began in 2019 and is currently running.
International conferences and events
Shenten Dargye Ling also organises and hosts international conferences and academic research events on the Yungdrung Bön and the ancient kingdom of Zhang Zhung, the origin of Tibetan culture and tradition.