Sangmo Yangri Ph.D.

Ligmincha Teachers

Sangmo Yangri, Ph.D., one of the two primary teachers at Lishu Institute, in Dehradun, India, is a scholar, teacher, translator and the first Tibetan female to receive a Ph.D. in the area of Tibetan Bón studies. She is in charge of the curriculum at Lishu, assists Geshe Sherab Lodoe with translation and teaches internationally.

Born in 1980 in Solan, India, she was immersed in the Bön tradition and culture from early childhood, as her father was a close friend and disciple of His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin, Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche, and His Eminence Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche.

Dr. Sangmo holds degrees in both Bön and Buddhist studies from the Central University of Tibetan Studies in Varanasi, India. In 2007, she received her first master’s degree in Bön philosophy with a thesis on “The twelve Interdependent originations in the Bon tradition.” She then completed a master’s degree in Buddhist philosophy, with a thesis on the “The lineage of Bhikshuni ordination in the Bön tradition.”

At Central University, the other four Tibetan schools (Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu and Gelug) had Ph.D. students, but there were no doctoral students. She realized it would serve the preservation of the Bön tradition and inspire other students, especially female students, for her to earn a Ph.D. in Bön studies. In all the five schools, before Sangmo Yangri, only one female student had completed a Ph.D.

Dr. Sangmo earned her Ph.D. in Bön and Buddhist traditions in 2013; her dissertation dealt with the “Analysis of the traditional exposition of the way in which the world came into existence according to Bön tradition and Buddhism.” She obtained s grant from the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund for two years of her studies. In 2013, her work was awarded the Prime Minister Award (Sikyong Award) from the Tibetan Government in Exile in India.

She has written and published several articles in Bön-go, the periodical journal of Menri monastery; the Journal of Zhangzhung cum Tibetan culture; Mutri tsenpo; Ligmincha Europe Magazine; and Tibet Times. She has been an invited speaker at the Yungdrung Bön conferences at Menri Monastery, and has participated in several international Bön and Buddhist conferences. She has been interviewed on Voice of America Tibet for her achievements. She also edited a book of the great scholar Palden Tsultrim, A Commentary on the Three Ornaments of Poetry.

Before working as a teacher and translator at Lishu Institute in Dehradun, India, she taught at the Ratna Menling Nunnery in Dolanji for one year. At the nunnery, she gave guidance to all the Bön philosophy nuns and students and prepared study materials for them. In 2015, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche appointed her as a teacher at Lishu Institute by. She has given lectures on the Nine Ways of Bön and the hagiography of Buddha Tonpa Sherab Miwoche, taught the Tibetan language to Western students and providea translation for visiting lamas and teachers.

In addition to serving on the faculty of Lishu institute, Dr. Sangmo lectures and teaches internationally about the Bön tradition. Her book Escape from Darkness: The Spiritual Journey of the Buddha’s Daughter Shenza Nechung, published in 2019 by Ligmincha’s Sacred Sky Press, includes her translation of part of an ancient text on Tonpa Shenrap, along with her preface, introduction and commentary.