engaging the life force


Engaging The Life Force: Tse Dup Yang Bod

by Lumo Woekar and Menghak Rinchen

(published in Snow Lion Magazine)

In June 2010, 50 students in the US graduated from a three-year intensive training in an ancient Tibetan healing modality called Tse Dup Yang Bod. This teaching comes from an unbroken Tibetan lineage in the Bon Tradition, which is the original indigenous spiritual tradition of Tibet; originating from the Zhang Zhung empire, which predates the Tibetan Kingdom by many centuries.

The teaching comes from a 7th century manuscript written by Tsewang Rigdzin, son of the esteemed Bon scholar, Drenpa Namkha. In the past, shorter Yang Bod (Life Force) instructions have been given by other Lamas, but this particular body of instruction has never been given in an intensive and traditional manner. Its foundation is based on compassion for all living beings, and the recognition that suffering and one's mental and physical well being can be affected by many forms of obstacles which can be related to energetic imbalances.

It was taught by Geshe Chongtul Rinpoche, a Tulku in the Bon tradition, who now lives in the United States. Rinpoche has a foundation in the US called Bon Shen Ling, which is committed to the preservation of the Bon culture and its teachings. He believes the time is right for these traditional secret teachings to come to the West as the world experiences more personal, economic and environmental challenges; and believes this practice in particular can be of great benefit, not only to the practitioner, but also those in the service of helping others.

The healing technique is also known as Bon Soul Healing and is based on the five elements, Fire, Water, Air, Earth and Space, which are represented within the body as well as the world around us. These elements inside the body are affected by stress, trauma, or karma, and as a result, a form of soul loss can occur. If not brought back into balance, this can lead to mental, emotional or physical complications, illness, or even death.  


The training is quite comprehensive and students are taught the ways of developing the five inner elements as five specific types of energy, each having its own individual characteristics, which can be tested. The practice then involves learning to channel each element or compassionate energy, based on where the soul loss has occurred relating to certain organs and disease points. The essence is that when the element or elements are returned to balance, the soul and life force which were fragmented return to wholeness and the energetic disturbance ceases. Components of these instructions also contain Trul Khor (yoga), divination, energetic exercises including mantra recitation, and meditation, to name a few. Students were required to make a serious commitment to the studies and trainings, which included Preliminary Practices (the accumulation of 900,000 mantras of nine practices), the memorization of the ritual and life force ceremonies, and teacher-required conventions.

The empowerment ceremony was made all the more auspicious as His Holiness the 33rd Menri Gyalwa Trizin, Lungtok Tenpai Nyima the Supreme Head of the Bon tradition, came from India to initiate the students, and these practitioners received the title "Drup Shenpa" which means "healer" in this tradition.

back to Tse Dup Yang Bod Class Info