Khenzur Nyima Wangyal Rinpoche: the journey of a Dzogchenpa


Khenzur Nyima Wangyal Rinpoche is a contemporary lay Dzogchen master, disciple  of His Eminence Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche — is root master — and of His Holiness, the late 33rd Menri Tridzin, Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche. Erudite in Dzogchen Bön, he lives with his family in France, near Paris where he has been teaching since 2015, offering an introduction to Dzogchen view.

Nyima Wangyal Rinpoche shares with anyone who wishes, the experiential instructions pointing to the realization of the natural state of the mind, towards the integration of all phenomena with the primordial dimension, towards the continuity of the practice and towards the development of meditation and confidence during the meditative journey. He emphases on the importance of openness and lucidity, as well as of genuine experience and actual wide sharing of the means and fruits of the practice.

Khenzur Nyima Wangyal Rinpoche was born in 1961 in the Tibetan refugee camp of Pokhara, Nepal. (His parents had fled Tibet across the Himalayas in 1959.) In 1962, they moved to a Tibetan settlement founded in Dhorpaten, Dhaulagiri province, western Nepal. This is where Nyima Wangyal grew up, with his brother and sister.
He learnt Tibetan alphabet and reading from his father. He was eight years old when his father passed away. He was then raised and educated in the traditional Tibetan way by his uncle Khenpo Khyungtsün Dongrig Sonam Gyaltsen Rinpoche, who had been sent to Nepal from Menri Monastery, (refounded after exile in India), to become the 2nd abbot of the Bon Monastery of Dhorpaten (founded by Lama Tsultrim Nyima Rinpoche. It was the first Bon monastery in exile.

Khenpo Sonam Gyaltsen Rinpoche taught him reading/writing, prayers and rituals. He was a very serious teacher, a very good practitioner, and so skilled at calligraphy that he was often commissioned to copy texts, notably the Atri Preliminary text, the Gyalwei Chagtri, two volumes of Gyalshen Namthar (collection of commentaries by Yongdzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche) and numerous ritual texts, all published in New Delhi, India.
Many Bonpo masters spent time in the Monastery of Dhorpaten. From Menri Monastery (Tibet) the 32nd Abbot Sherab Lodrö Rinpoche, Yongdzin Sangyej Tenzin Rinpoche, Yongdzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, and many high lamas from Dolpo, Nepal.

In 1976, following the request of his uncle, Nyima Wangyal received from Yongdzin Rinpoche the Dzogchen Atri teaching instructions and transmission (lung) for the first time. During the summer, he also received the initiation (wang) of Du Tri Su from Yongdzin Rinpoche, during a seven-day ceremony Du Tri Su Drubpa prepared by Khenpo Sonam Gyaltsen Rinpoche for the people of Dhorpaten.

In 1977, Nyima Wangyal was taken by his uncle to Menri Monastery, in Dolanji (near Solan), North India. There he became a monk and was handed over to Yongdzin Rinpoche to receive his teachings and to serve him as his personal assistant.
Nyima Wangyal lived with Yongdzin Rinpoche until 1995. Yongdzin Rinpoche is his root master and main spiritual teacher. With him he had the great opportunity of meeting great Bonpo masters from Tibet.
In 1978, Nyima Wangyal joined the newly opened dialectic school at Menri. That same year, his mother passed away in Dhorpaten, Nepal.

In 1979, at Menri Monastery, Nyima Wangyal received the initiation of the complete Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Dzogchen cycle and other Dzogchen initiations from Drupwang Tsondü Rinpoche, who was the Drupdra Khenpo of Khyungpo Ri Tse Druk Monastery in Tibet, a lineage holder of the Shardza tradition, being the disciple of the first Shardzi Gyaltsab Jalüpa Lodrö Gyatso.

In 1984, Nyima Wangyal received all the initiations (outer, inner, secret) and transmissions of all the yidams of the Bon tradition from His Holiness the 33rd Abbot of Menri Lungtok Tenpai Nyima Rinpoche and His Eminence Yongdzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche.

In 1986, Nyima Wangyal concluded his Bon studies at Menri Monastery under the guidance of H.H. the 33rd Abbot, H.E. Yongdzin Rinpoche and Geshe Larampa Tsondü Gongphel, and was awarded the Geshe degree (equivalent to a PhD) after several years of systematic study of the Bon philosophy and psychology.

In the following summer, Yongdzin Rinpoche travelled to Tibet (for the first time since the Cultural Revolution) with Geshe Nyima Wangyal and Geshe Tenzin Wangyal. His main purpose was to visit his mother and to give advice to Bonpo lamas and monks on how to preserve and develop the Yungdrung Bon tradition. They visited all the Bonpo people in the three provinces of Tibet U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo. Rinpoche gave teachings and initiations.
There, Nyima Wangyal met and connected to great lamas, yogis, and practitioners who survived the Cultural Revolution.

In Luphuk Gön Monastery (Hor in Kham), Geshe Nyima Wangyal received many rare initiations from the great Dzogchen practitioner Ragshi Togden Drimed Yungdrung Rinpoche.

In the fall of 1986, Yongdzin Rinpoche founded the Triten Norbutse Monastery on the northern hill of Kathmandu, Nepal. At the very beginning only Rinpoche and Geshe Nyima Wangyal lived there. It was the first Bon monastery in Kathmandu. In Nepal there was at that time no dialectic school, no extensive daily course of Bon study and philosophical debate.

In 1992, Yongdzin Rinpoche and Menri Trizin Rinpoche selected Geshe Nyima Wangyal as the first abbot of Triten Norbutse Monastery. He took care of all the daily needs of the monks. The same year, Yongdzin Rinpoche travelled again to Tibet, with Khenpo Nyima Wangyal. They visited many Bon monasteries and Yongdzin Rinpoche gave many teachings, transmissions and initiations.

In 1995, Khenpo Nyima Wangyal decided to leave the monastery and its monastic rules, in order to live as a Tibetan yogi in different countries, situations and circumstances. He felt, according to his nature, that this would be a good way to develop his practice of Dzogchen.