Spiritual Leader of the Bön Community
His Holiness the 33rd sMenri Trizin, is the spiritual head of the worldwide Bön community, and the abbot of sMenri Monastery in Dolanji, India. His Holiness was born in 1927 in Amdo, Eastern Tibet. He began his religious studies at age 8 at the Kyong Tsang monastery.
At age 16 he entered the monastery’s dialectic school, and received his Geshe degree. He furthered his studies at the original sMenri monastery, Yungdrung Ling, Kharna, and Drepung monasteries.
During the 1959 Chinese invasion, His Holiness and many other Bön monks and refugees fled to Nepal, and then to India. In 1964, at the request of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, he founded a school in Massori, northern India, for Tibetan refugee boys to receive a high school education. This school was staffed with volunteers from the West. Geshe Sangye Tenzin Jong Dong (as he was known then) remained as head of the school for three years, teaching Tibetan grammar and history.
Each month he sent his salary, three hundred rupees, to the refugee Bonpo lamas living in Manali, India for them to buy food. He also helped create a meditation center in Manali for the lamas and monks. Later the school that he founded was moved to the south of India, where it became the first permanent Tibetan settlement in the region.
In the 1960’s, His Holiness was a visiting scholar and teacher in Oslo, Norway. He also studied in Christian monasteries in England and travelled to Rome, where he had a private audience with Pope Paul IV. In 1968 he was chosen as the new Abbot (Trizin) of the new sMenri Monastery in Dolanji, and with that title assumed the role of spiritual leader of all Bön.
His Holiness founded the Bön Dialectic School at sMenri Monastery, as well as the Bön Children’s Welfare Center and the Redna sMenling Nunnery in Dolanji.
Because of His Holiness the 33rd sMenri Trizin’s tireless dedication, Dolanji has become a a thriving center of Tibetan culture and education for exiled Tibetans and new generations of Tibetans. Today there are approximately 900 Bonpos residing in Dolanji.
His Holiness has graced Yeru Bön Center with a strong personal connection. He has visited Yeru Bon Center twice, most recently in June 2013.