Tonpa Shenrab

May the Teacher come to our world!
May the Teaching be bright as bright as the sun’s rays!
May Teachers and Students increasingly learn and accomplish!
May there thus be good fortune that the teachings long remain!

Tonpa Shenrab, the Completely Enlightened One, the founder of the Yung Drung Bön religion, was born in 16,017 BC in the land of Olmolungring. Tonpa Shenrab appeared initially as an ordinary man. Before he attained enlightenment (Buddhahood), he went through the six realms of cyclic existence in countless births. He entered the door of enlightenment through the practices of accumulating merit and purifying himself, resulting in the attainment of the transcendental qualities of loving kindness and compassion. He is superior among all the exalted enlightened beings and is dedicated to the liberation of all sentient beings. In order to rescue them, he turned the Dharma Wheel of Bön three times as an antidote to all suffering.

Tonpa Shenrab is holding a Yung Drung Chakshing in his right hand and his left hand is in the meditation mudra. The chakshing is the primary symbol of Bön and represents the turning of the wheel of Bön (a combination of Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen) teachings. The meditation mudra symbolizes the natural condition of phenomena (Bön nyid) realized through the practice of the eternal Bön teachings. He sits on a jewel wheel throne symbolizing the mastery of Bön over the three poisons (ignorance, anger, greed).

Shenlha Odkar

a om hung a aa kar sa le öed a yang om dhu

Shenlha Odkar personifies one of the three main aspects of Tönpa Shenrab:

• Deity (lha) is Shenlha Wodkar
• Priest (shen) is Tönpa Shenrab
• Creator (srid) is Sangmo Bunpti

Shenlha Wodkar is the deity of Supreme Compassion. Out of his compassion the Bon teachings and practices have grown to assist all sentient beings on the path to liberation. He is the master teacher of all teachers and teaching has become his primary activity.

Odkar/Wodkar means ‘white light’ and his natural body is pearlescent, the body of perfection (dzog ku). Shenlha Wodkar is always dressed in elaborate, ceremonial robes with his hands in the meditation mudra. He sits on a throne supported by two snow lions, which represent Shenlha Wodkar’s supremacy over all life forms.

Yum Chen Sherab Chamma

Great Wisdom Loving Mother

om ma wa ma de ma hi mo ha e ma ho ma ye re pa ye ta dhu dhu so ha

Yum Chen Sherab Chamma (The Great Wisdom Loving Mother) is known as the Mother of all Enlightened Ones and source of all love and Compassion. She has many countless manifestations and also countable ones. Countable manifestations include at the inner levl (5 and 8) and expansive level with as many as 360. And then at the middle level 21 Chammas, and at the inner level mostly Eight Chammas, Protector from eight crises, (Chamma Jikpa Gye Kyop Ma.) At the inner most level is Chamma Kunga, and the 5 manifestations of the Body of Chamma.

All Bön deities come from Chamma, she is the compassionate and wise mother of all. Chamma is the feminine counterpart to Shenlha Wodkar. Her body is also “dzo ku,” the body of perfection. Chamma is available to everyone for comfort, guidance and healing as she has the power to dispel all obstacles such as fear, sickness, sadness or negative impact of demonic forces. She is thereby able to prolong life. Chamma holds a mirror in her left hand. This mirror represents the purity of Chamma heart as reflected in a perfect understanding of the karma and suffering of all beings. The vase in her right hand contains the essence of the potential hopes, dreams and accomplishments of all who are committed to Chamma. Her throne is supported, like Shenlha Wodkar, by two snow lions representing her supremacy over all life.

By Her blessing and outpouring of energies, She eliminates all Karmic obstacles. She heals, blesses and guides us when we are sick for she has a quality that can fulfill our wishes. Through our reciting her secret mantra and prayers, She will expand our life and clear up negative Karma, bringing peace and harmony to places in the home.


Tapihritsa was born as son of Rasang Lugyal at Dharog in Zhangzhung in the 17th century. From his childhood he bore a special interest in the virtuous deeds. At the age of eleven, he received complete ordination relating to Dzogchen from his master by the name of Tsepung Dawa Gyaltsen.

For nine entire years he remained fully committed in conducting retreat in a place known as Mamig, which is located toward the north of Mt. Kailash. It is believed that after accomplishing his intensive and systematic practice on Dzögchen teaching, he obtained the state of Buddhahood by dissolving his physical body into rainbow color.

Attaining the rainbow body means the body disappears from sight, leaving no trace of where it has gone. It is believed that practitioners of the great perfection, Dzögchen practice, may accomplish the rainbow body by total purification of the body, mind and spirit through devotion to the Dzögchen meditations. A practitioner who works hard and realizes the original self with no attachment can ultimately disappear from this planet, leaving only bits of hair and nails on the meditation cushion from which the practitioner has departed.

As a result of Tapihritsa’s marvelous teaching as many as twenty-five disciples have attained the Rainbow Body Accomplishment.

Drenpa Namkha

Recollection Sky

a ah om hung dren pa mu la ha ri ni sa si di hring hring hung hung dza dza

The name of the Bön deity Drenpa Namkha means memory as vast as the sky according to H.H. 33rd Menri Trizin. This deity has knowledge of the past and the future as well as the present. Drenpa Namkha provides protection from bad fortune, disease, and unhappiness through aspects like the Medicine Buddha and the prosperity deity Zamba Lha.

The deity has appeared in human manifestation as a prince in Zhang Zhung and later was born in 718 as a Tibetan who preserved teachings and made prophecies for a future time such as the present.

Khyung Mar

Red Garuda

hung tro ta ya ga ru na tri trong ha ra nye lo yo so thun du

Khyung Mar, or Red Garuda, is a Wisdom protector manifestation of pure awareness, one of the wrathful deities of Bön. An important Bön deity, Red Garuda represents the fiery power of energy. This deity protects against obstacles of the outer, the inner and the secret. He transforms the five poisons and liberates sentient beings from suffering. The Red Garuda healing practice is highly effective physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Khyung Mar is one of the Tantric methods practiced for yourself or others as needed to bless or exorcise or to heal accordingly. This is a very powerful teaching instructing us to transform into the deity of the Red Garuda and to integrate into the full energies and qualities of the Deity.

Sidpa Gyalmo

Queen of the Universe

so ma ma za nye lo yo ram thun jo

Sidpa Gyalmo (Sipé Gyalmo), Queen of the Universe, is the chief wrathful protector deity of Yungdrung Bön. She has a horrifying aspect in order to frighten evil ones. Her job is to protect all sentient beings from harm. She is a deity of exorcism and healing using her ferocious aspect to transmute all negative energies thus assisting in the healing of all sentient beings. Sipe Gyalmo is indigo in color with three faces: the right face is white and represents the father, the left face is red and represents the mother, the center of the face is indigo and represents her omnipresence. She is riding on a mule and has six arms holding:

• A victory banner indicating her triumph over emotional afflictions
• A sword made of a thunderbolt symbolizing her eradication of hostile forces and gaining control over life and death
• A phurba (glorious dagger), symbolizing the salvation of all sentient beings from illusion
• A mirror symbolizing the reflection clearly appearing of all cosmic truth in her wisdom mind
• A hook, symbolizing the liberation of all sentient beings
• A skull cup filled with blood, symbolizing her devouring of devils who have broken their pledge

Her body is draped in skulls and fresh flayed human skin to indicate her dominion over evil and death. Her indigo color represents her control over boundless space; the flames surrounding her represent her ultimate power to burn away ignorance and all negativity.

Sipe Gyalmo has a special shrine in all Yungdrung Bön temples where prayers are said to her round the year, morning and night by a Sipe Gyalmo prayer master. These prayer masters thank her for her special love and protection of Yungdrung Bön and all sentient beings. They ask her to liberate the world from evil and bring everlasting peace.

Yeshe Walmo

Wisdom Protector

om a bhi ya nag po bé söd so ha

Yeshe Walmo, Wisdom Protector, is considered the wisdom aspect of Sipe Gyalmo. Throughout the ages, whenever the Bön religion suffered persecution, lamas would hide Bön texts and sacred ritual objects in mountains. Yeshe Walmo is the deity in charge of keeping Bön texts and sacred items safe. She is the preserver and protector of all Bön wisdom and allows these objects to be found when times are ripen. These hidden objects are known as “terma” and the finder, usually a dakini, is known as a “terton.” Dakinis, feminine spirit beings, often manifest in human form. There are many stories of termas being discovered by tertons in Tibet even in this modern day.

Yeshe Walmo is in the same color as Sipe Gyalmo, but has only one face and two arms. She’s standing on one foot dressed in peacock feathers, which symbolize the transmutation of poison (ignorance). In her right hand, she holds a flaming thunderbolt sword, which cuts away ignorance. Her left hand holds a vase filled with the waters of long life. She wears a tiger skin, which displays her prowess over the most ferocious energies of nature. She stands upon a lotus flower representing the purity of her wisdom and is surrounded by flames burning all ignorance.

Yeshe Walmo works swiftly when called upon for any assistance (health problems, business problems, life problems, etc.) and is an especially good aide to students and scholars.