Lopon Sangye Tenzin Rinpoche

The Bön Lineage

Lopon Sangye Tenzin Rinpoche was the first lopon, or head teacher, of Menri Monastery in India.

Born in 1917 into the Jyab ‘Og family, an esteemed lineage within the Bön tradition, he lived his early years in the nomadic region of Hor, Tibet. He studied for many years in the Drepung Monastery of the Gelug tradition, as well as under masters of other schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He became an accomplished master of sutra, tantra and dzogchen. He lived a simple life, much of it in solitude, yet he was considered by many to be the greatest Bön scholar of his generation.

Lopon Sangye Tenzin Rinpoche, a teacher of His Eminence Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche and Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, was known for his very direct, clear and strict teaching style. As Tenzin Rinpoche’s first root master, for three years he gave Tenzin Rinpoche the formal dzogchen teachings of the Zhang Zhung Nyen Gyü (Oral Transmission of Zhang Zhung).

A few months after completing these teachings and entering a new cycle of the same teachings, he became gravely ill and asked H.E. Yongdzin Rinpoche to take on his role as lopon at the monastery. Lopon Sangye Tenzin Rinpoche died in Dolanji in 1977 at age 67. After his death, according to his wishes, his savings were used to found the Bön Dialectic School at Menri Monastery.