His Eminence Yongdzin (Lopon) Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche is the most senior teacher in the Bön tradition. He was the co-founder of Menri Monastery in India, and also the founder of Triten Norbutse Monastery in Nepal.
Born in 1926 in eastern Tibet, at age 7 he entered Tengchen Monastery. He took monk’s vows at the age of 14, and at age 15 he began studies at Yungdrung Ling, a Bön monastery in central Tibet. From there, he traveled to Menri Monastery in Tibet in 1948 and received his geshe degree there in 1952. That same year he was elected to the position of lopon (head teacher) at Menri.
After leaving Tibet in 1960, H.E. Yongdzin Rinpoche went first to Nepal and then to England, where he spent three years studying, teaching and working. In 1964, he went to Himachal Pradesh, in Northern India, and worked to create a settlement and school in Dolanji for Bönpo refugees and also Menri Monastery to support the training of new monks. After a sufficient number of texts had been retrieved and published, His Eminence established a traditional dialectic school at the monastery to preserve the Bönpo philosophical tradition. In 1987, he founded a second Bön monastery, Triten Norbutse, just west of Kathmandu, Nepal, where he lived and taught for many years. Menri Monastery and Triten Norbutse Monastery are the two main Bön monasteries outside of Tibet.
His Eminence is the author of 13 volumes of texts in Tibetan, and he is considered the foremost living scholar of Bön. There are also many works by him available in English.
H.E. Yongdzin Rinpoche has frequently taught in Europe, the United States and Mexico. He has established a European center, Shenten Dargye Ling, in Bleu, France. He now resides permanently in Kathmandu, Nepal.