Structure of the Foundation
The Foundation shall be a charitable organization based on international collaboration, initially consisting of Yongdzin Lopön Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche as honorary member and Geshe Gelek Jinpa, Dmitry Ermakov and Carol Ermakova as founding members.
Proceeds from all materials produced by the Foundation, such as books, documentaries, practice manuals, shall be reinvested into the Foundation.
Objectives of the Foundation
The Foundation seeks to preserve the rich knowledge encapsulated in the Yungdrung Bön tradition for the benefit of all peoples the world over.
Its charitable activities shall take a two-pronged approach:
- ensuring the teachings of Yungdrung Bön are preserved in the West;
- ensuring the teachings of Yungdrung Bön are preserved in situ.
The Foundation shall implement its aims through the following broad charitable activities:
1. Translation of key texts and production of books and other educational study materials
2. Transcription of teaching seminars given in English by erudite, bona-fide teachers
3. Facilitation of practical seminars and retreats
4. Creation of an archive containing both digital and physical records. This shall be made available to the international academic community.
5. Facilitation of research into all aspects of Bon, Zhang Zhung and other geographical areas where Bon is or was practised
6. Education, including Tibetan language courses and seminars covering the art, medicine, astrology and other aspects of the Yungdrung Bon tradition
7. Support of institutions and individuals pertaining to the Yungdrung Bon religion in situ, largely through education; the world is changing and modern skills are needed to survive in modern times and to ensure this ancient tradition is preserved on an international level. The Foundation shall therefore actively seek funds to invest into the education of teachers, including English language and IT courses. It shall also support the traditional skills such as religious art, medicine etc.
Why is it important to preserve Yungdrung Bön teachings through translations and edited transcripts?
Since leaving Tibet during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Yongdzin Rinpoche has devoted his whole life to preserving his lineage for future generations, and an important aspect of this is publishing books. His first mission in exile was to collect the scattered copies of the Bön Kanjur and Katen which had either been somehow miraculously smuggled out of Tibet or had survived in ancient Bön temples in Nepal. Yongdzin Rinpoche's aim was to gather and reprint the text necessary to re-establish the Geshe training programme in exile, and it is thanks to his tireless efforts that teachers such as Khenpo Tenpa and Geshe Gelek now have the knowledge and qualifications to teach us.
Here in the West, we are very fortunate. We can simply browse the internet or look in a bookstore to find many books on Buddhism, and even a few on Bön. However, authentic translations by erudite masters are very rare indeed, so it is our joint responsibility to do all we can to ensure the teachings of our great master, Yongdzin Rinpoche, are recorded intact, seriously and respectfully, not only as study and practice aid for ourselves, but also as an invaluable legacy for future generations. As Yongdzin Rinpoche is the current, supreme lineage holder, his teachings and translations are imbued with the powerful blessings of the living lineage transmission.
For the last twelve years, Carol and Dmitry have been offering their work on a volunteer basis, with the proceeds from the sale of all books and transcripts channelled either into Shenten Dargye Ling or Triten Norbutse. However, the time and work involved in producing so many books now means that the project can no longer run in this way. Therefore, with the full support of Yongdzin Rinpoche, Carol and Dmitry are in the process of establishing a Foundation for the Preservation of Yungdrung Bön to help preserve Yungdrung Bön doctrines and culture intact in both East and West.
As Yongdzin Rinpoche says: 'Books are my friends.'