A Message from the Board of Directors
The Bon tradition has been a vibrant part of Tibetan culture for many millennia. Today there are thought to be about 1 million Bon practitioners. His Holiness of Bon, the 33rd Gyalwa Menri Trizin is currently recognized as the spiritual leader of the Bon. He founded the Menri monastery in Dolanji, India where monks and nuns are trained in the Bon tradition, and over 400 children are cared for and schooled through a tenth grade education.
Chongtul Rinpoche was educated at Menri monastery where he completed his Geshe degree, the highest attainment in the Bon tradition. While at Menri he headed the children’s education and welfare programs. In 2005, Rinpoche traveled to the West to promo t0 awareness of the Bon tradition and to help increase educational opportunities for Bon children. The following year he established Bon Shen Ling, the Tibetan Bon Education Fund, as a 501c(3) non-profit organization. Since then Rinpoche and Bon Shen Ling have provided student scholarships and have helped to preserve the Bon Cannon through scanning and digitizing the texts. Rinpoche has continued to teach principles of the Bon tradition throughout North America, Europe and Asia.
Bon Shen Ling and Rinpoche have begun planning several new school projects with the goal of educating Bon children in the skills needed to enhance job opportunities in India and elsewhere. Since there are few higher educational opportunities available, Bon Shen Ling will build a vocational training school in Dharamsala, India to teach skills applicable to the modern job market. All students will also be taught English and computer skills. Future vocational training schools are planned elsewhere in India, Nepal and Mongolia.
Dharamsala, India is the site of the Tibetan Government in Exile and houses a vibrant Tibetan community. His Holiness of Bon and Bon Shen Ling believe that a Bon cultural center in Dharamsala will enable Tibetans in exile, as well as Western visitors, the opportunity to learn about the Bon tradition of kindness and compassion. Bon Shen Ling will establish a cultural center in Dharamsala that will house the vocational training school, but will also house a museum and copies of the ancient texts. It will provide a place for lectures, conferences and cultural performances which will increase awareness of the Bon tradition and provide for cross cultural opportunities.
Bon Shen Ling also plans to create a cultural center in the United States which will be a site for Rinpoche’s teachings as well as a place for lectures, performances, exhibits and conferences. This center’s goal is to increase awareness of the Bon tradition and to promote cross-cultural interactions. We will work with other Bon support groups from around the world to support these projects as they provide a benefit for all Bon practitioners.
We invite you to join us in these exciting endeavors. We encourage you to become members of Bon Shen Ling and to attend Chongtul Rinpoche’s Bon teachings. We hope that you will help us with your generous contributions to our scholarship and sponsorship programs and will join us in funding the building of the vocational training schools and cultural centers. We invite your comments and correspondence.