Ringmo – the most frequented Bon Village in Dolpo
“Bon, the religion in Tibet that was practiced before Buddha made impact with his religious philosophy in the region flourished in the western Himalayan region of Nepal back in 11th century when the Tibetan Bons fled from Tibet in search of safe asylum.”
Many villages in the western Himalayas still practice the Pre-Buddha Buddhism, which is also closed to Shamanism. One of the major villages in western Nepal that houses the Bon followers and is the one of the major highlights of every trek in Dolpo, Ringmo is the wonderful village that nestles at dramatically beautiful location.
“The Bon monastery in Ringmo is named Thasung Tsholing Gompa that consists of nine houses and lies atop a steep eastern spur that lapses down to deep waters of Phoksundo Lake and underneath the steep rock wall.”
The myth on how Monastery got its name is interesting as well. As per the myth, to avoid the killings of prey by the hunters trapping them underneath the rocky walls, where now the Monastery is Lama Treton Tshewang Tshultrim built the monastery at the site. The killing edge then became a scared protective edge. Until the Lamas of the Thabzhi lineage had no male descendants, they were the caretakers of the monastery and the honor of protecting the Monastery was shifted to Treton Linage of Pungmo Village as the female from Thabzhi lineage married a man from the Treton lineage. At the present, Lama Geshe Samdrup Nyima preaches Bon philosophy to numerous young monks staying at Ringmo Monastery.
“Beginning with small Bon celebrations that observed important Bon rituals and festivals, the monastery experienced good days after 1996 with the support from WWF. As Tapriza NGO, steeped in 2000 to support the important shrine of Bons, many local thanka painters, statue builders and villagers extended their helping hands to support this important Bon Monastery of Dolpo.”
The monastery in Ringmo has chortens all around that manifest devotion to spirituality and valued ancestors. The chortens are not only the religious symbols, they also are the line that separate raw nature with human habitats.
Chortens in Ringmo demonstrate three different aspects. Some represent religious merit to the builder of chortens, few are the ones that act as place to conserve the relics of deceased one and few are abodes of deities.
“Not only in Ringmo, the Bon Monasteries in in Pugmo, Dho-Tarap and Parlä having similar chortens form a Mandala, which were all built by Great Master of Bon Treton Namkha Gyaltshen from Pugmo some 250 years ago so that the villages in Dolpo gets protection from all evils.”
Since, Ringmo and Phoksundo Lake are the major highlights of every trek in Dolpo, we urge trekkers to the region explore the Bon Monastery in Ringmo so that the religion on the brink to extinct gets larger exposure.