Ligmincha Texas, Inc. is a Bön Buddhist Center located in Houston, Texas, one of very few in the western world. Our Center is an autonomous branch of Ligmincha Institute. We hold weekly and monthly practices, as well as periodic teachings and special retreats based on the wisdom tradition of Bön, the indigenous religion of Tibet. Bön has a rich and unique heritage and is one of the world’s most ancient unbroken spiritual traditions.
Most of our practices are open to anyone interested in learning more about Bön and experiencing first hand the beauty and peace these teachings have to offer. We welcome everyone, from every tradition, to join us. We aim to introduce these practices in an authentic manner to the western world, and in such a way that they remain beneficial when integrated into modern western culture. Please explore our website to learn more about the Bön Buddhist tradition and the activities at our Center here in the heart of Houston.
Ligmincha Texas received its designation as a 501(c)3 charity organization in November of 2013, and is currently raising funds in order to support a resident Lama for our Center.
Meet Our Resident Lama, Geshe Denma Gyaltsen
Geshe Denma Gyaltsen was born in the northern part of Nepal. In 1981 his father brought him to the Menri Monastery in Dolanji India, so that he could begin his training as a monk. This monastery is regarded as the mother Bön Monastery in exile.
While living at the monastery, Geshe Denma began his program of study towards obtaining a Geshe Degree. He excelled at his studies and when he became a senior student, he was asked to teach philosophy to the younger students. He successfully completed the degree program in 1996 and was awarded the Geshe certificate, which is considered equivalent to a Ph.D. in Bön Buddhist philosophy and religion. During his time at the monastery, he received all the Bön teachings, initiations, and transmissions in sutra, tantra and dzogchen from His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin and His Excellence Yongdzin Rinpoche.
Once Geshe Denma attained his Geshe degree, he became a senior teacher at the monastery and taught philosophy whenever he was in residence at Menri. Because of his accomplishments as a teacher, Geshe Denma was appointed to be the first abbot of Zhu Rishing Yungdrung Kundak-Ling Monastery, a Bön Monastery in Sikkim, India by His Holiness the 33rd Menri Trizin, along with the approval of the Tibetan government in exile. He served two terms there as abbot, from 1998 until 2003.
In addition, from the time of graduation until 2008, Geshe Denma was active in assisting Geshe Nyima Dakpa with the Bön Children’s Home, both by raising funds and helping with the administrative work whenever possible. The Home is a school and orphanage in Dolanji, which houses many children, providing them with food, healthcare, and a free education.
Over the years Geshe Denma has traveled many times to the United States, Austria, Poland, Canada, Russia, Belarus, Germany, Switzerland, and Holland to teach and to help raise funds for the Bön Children’s Home. In addition, Geshe Denma served as the treasurer and co-editor of the well-respected book, Opening the Door to Bön (Bongo). And from 2002-2005 he served as the elected secretary of the Local Tibetan Assembly in Dolanji.
From 2009 to 2013, Geshe Denma often traveled to the United States to participate in Bön practices and to learn more about what work his fellow Geshes were doing to bring this tradition to the Western world. In 2011, Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, founder and spiritual director of Ligmincha Texas and Ligmincha International, asked Geshe Denma to become the Resident Lama of Ligmincha Texas. Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s work is remarkable in spreading our spiritual tradition throughout the Western world, thus increasing the awareness of Bön teachings. Geshe Denma accepted the challenge and began coming to Houston to get to know the sangha of Ligmincha Texas, study English and begin work to acquire his religious visa and ultimately become Ligmincha Texas’s first Resident Lama.
In 2014 with the help and support from Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and members of Ligmincha Texas the formal application for the visa was made. In late October 2015, the application was approved and in December 20, 2015, Geshe Denma was awarded his R1 Visa. He arrived in Houston on January 3, 2016 welcomed by his grateful sangha and ready to assume his duties as Resident Lama for Ligmincha Texas!
Our Founder, Tenzin Wangual Rinpoche
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche originally came to Houston in 1992 when he was awarded a fellowship by the Rockefeller Foundation at Rice University with the support of and in collaboration with Anne Klein, a professor in the Department of Religious Studies. He was then awarded a second consecutive fellowship in 1993.
Our Center was founded here in Houston by Tenzin Rinpoche during that time. His vision was two-fold. Initially, he started our Center as a place for preserving and promoting the ancient wisdom traditions of Bön Buddhism with its extensive teachings on the healing and meditative arts. Towards this goal, Rinpoche taught from his deep knowledge of the Bön tradition and he also invited many other masters of Bön to come and teach.
Additionally, Rinpoche realized that the proximity of the Texas Medical Center and its focus on the medical arts and sciences provided him with a special opportunity. He envisioned a place where the healing arts of Tibet and the traditions of modern western medical science could come together, allowing each to benefit from the strengths of the other. Towards that goal, in 1996, Tenzin Rinpoche organized a medical conference with representatives of the Tibetan Healing tradition (SoWa Rigpa), Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and western medicine. This helped to plant the seed of collaboration with the Texas Medical Center, and in particular with Rice University and The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. From that seed, a tree has sprouted and grown. As a result of these collaborative efforts, research grants from the National Cancer Institute are now providing funding for several research projects that are exploring the health and healing benefits of these practices.
Tenzin Rinpoche moved from Houston in 1997, but the Center he founded has continued to flourish. Over the past 20 years it has provided a place for these masters of the Tibetan Bön Buddhist tradition to come from all over the world, and to share their knowledge and experience with us.
Our Relationship to Ligmincha International
Ligmincha International is a worldwide network of centers and Sanghas founded by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. The headquarters of Ligmincha International is the Ligmincha Institute at Serenity Ridge, a year-round retreat center located in Nelson County, Virginia, USA.