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The 34th Menri Trizin

His Holiness Gyalwa Menriwa Lungtok Dawa Dargyey Rinpoche (rGyal-ba sMan-ri-ba Lung-rtogs zla-wa dar-rgyas Rin-po-che) was born as Norbu Sampel (Nor-bu bSam-’phel) in 1972 in the Domey (mDo-smad) region of Amdo, eastern Tibet, to a Bonpo family. At the age of five, he entered primary school and studied for three years, and then at the age of eight, started to learn Tibetan reading and writing, Bon ritual texts, and mantra recitation.

In 1983, at the age of eleven, he entered Gamal Monastery (dGa’-mal dGon), where he took the five precepts and had his hair cut by the head lama, Khyungtsa Tenpa Gongpel Rinpoche (Khyung-tsa bsTan-pa gong-‘phal Rin-po-che). When he turned seventeen, he took the vows of a novice monk with the abbot of Gamal Monastery and was given the monastic name Tsultrim Nyima (Tshul-khrims nyi-ma). One year later, he officially enrolled at the Dialectic School of Gamal Monastery and studied all of the various topics required, such as logic, ways of knowing, the perfection of wisdom, and so forth.

In 1994, when he was 22, he had the fortune to meet the 33rd Menri Trizin, Lungtok Tenpai Nyima (sMan-ri Khri-’dzin Lung-rtogs bstan-pa’i nyi-ma), who was on his first visit back to Tibet after being exiled to India. During this visit, the future 34th Menri Trizin was able to take the vows of a fully ordained monk from the 33rd Menri Trizin, and he was given the name Dawa Dargyey Wangpo (Zla-wa dar-rgyas dbang-po). It is said that this was an auspicious meeting, as the 33rd abbot’s name was Nyima, meaning “sun,” who bestowed upon the young man the name Dawa, meaning “moon.” Just a few years later, in 1997, after having received his geshe degree, he made the decision to undertake the long and difficult journey to India, in order to continue his studies at the newly-established Menri Monastery (sMan-ri dGon) in Dolanji, India. After pursuing his studies for 14 years, he was awarded a second geshe degree in 2012 in the presence of His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin, after which he began to serve the monastery as the General Treasurer.

The 33rd Menri Trizin passed away in September 2017 and, following a traditional selection process, Dawa Dargyey was announced as the 34th Menri Trizin, being enthroned the following year. He spends most of his time giving teachings and working to preserve and protect the Bon teachings for future generations.