Spiritual Exemplars

Spiritual exemplars provide a special opportunity to define and understand spiritual development in general and positive spiritual development in particular.

Mustang Bon Foundation has had the benefit and privilege of drawing on the spiritual wisdom and guidance of primary lineage teachers of both the Nyingma and Bon Traditions.

The Foundation has enjoyed the support and guidance of His Holiness the 33rd Abbot of Menri; and, we have been particularly blessed to have had access to and received repeated teachings from Rahob Tulku Rinpoche during his lifetime.

We currently are advised by and work closely with Geshe Sonam Gurung, who was born in the Mustang Valley.

His Holiness the 33rd Abbot of Menri Lungtok Tenpei Nyima Rinpoche (1929-2017)

At the age of 25, His Holiness achieved a Geshe degree at Kyangtsang Monastery under the guidance of the chief teacher Horwa Drungrampa Tendzin Lodro. He first visited the West thanks to the Rockefeller Foundation and David Snellgrove, who brought him, Lopon Tenzin Namdak and Samten Gyaltsen Karmay to London in 1961. In 1968, at the new Tibetan Bonpo settlement in Dolanji, after a seven days long, special ritual of selection process by the highest bonpo teachers and lamas, he was appointed on the golden throne of Nyamed Sherab Gyaltsen as the 33rd Abbot of Menri Monastery. He was enthroned on the 4th of March 1969 as supreme head of all the Bonpo followers and the chief of all the Bonpo Lamas both in exile and in Tibet, and received the name Lungtok Tenpai Nyima as his enthronement name. Lungtok Tenpai Nyima was the first Tibetan monk to have an in-person meeting with Pope Paul VI and had a great relationship with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.

Rahob Tulku, Thupten Kalsang Rinpoche

Rahob Rinpoche obtained a Geshe degree from Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, and a degree in Indian Buddhism and Sanskrit from Varanasi University in India.

Rinpoche spent over 80 years mastering and integrating meditation practices from different schools of Buddhist meditations. These schools include The Great Completion (Dzogchen) and Gelugpa concentration and emptiness meditation from Tibet and India, Theravadin mindfulness meditation from Thailand, and Shingon and Zen Buddhism from Japan.

Rinpoche was considered an emanation of Padmasambhava, and was the incarnate Tulku of Rahob Monastery in old Tibet. Rinpoche has a long and close relationship with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama. In 1965 at His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s request, Rinpoche translated Opening the Wisdom Eye, the first of the Dalai Lama’s books to be published in English.

Geshe Sonam Gurung

Geshe Sonam Gurung received his training for the Geshe degree under the guidance of His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin, the Abbot of Bon Menri Monastery and lineage holder of the Yungdrung Bon spiritual tradition. Geshe Sonam served as personal assistant to His Holiness. Following the direction and continued guidance of His Holiness, Geshe Sonam translated many of the key texts in the Bon Dzogchen canon. In particular, he translated significant works from Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche. Shardza Rinpoche’s key texts – Heart Drops of Kuntuzangpo, Kusum Rangshar; and the Treasury of the Expanse – are detailed yogic roadmaps of the Bon Dzogchen pathway to enlightenment, combining both utterly clear philosophic foundation as well as detailed practice explanation. Geshe Sonam’s goal is to make these teachings available on a global basis in forms appropriate for the 21st Century.


In addition to teaching and translating, Geshe Sonam oversees the Mustang Cultural and Education Center in Jomsom.

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