October 27, 2014

Listen Prof. Michael Lackner online…
Listen Prof. Donatella Rossi and Rolf Scheuermann online…
Listen Ven. Lopön Trinley Nyima Rinpoche online…

Erlangen Witnessed Unique Tibetan Cultural Event

In October 2014 the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities “Fate, Freedom and Prognostication” in Erlangen received a visit from the Venerable Lopon Trinley Nyima Rinpoche, master of the Tibetan Bon religion.

The Bon religion and its socio-cultural traditions antedate the advent of Buddhism in Tibet (seventh century AD). The Bon religion thus represents the most ancient cultural expression of the Land of Snow. Lopon Trinley Nyima Rinpoche was born in 1962 in Nepal; he belongs to the revered "Yangton" lineage of spiritual masters, one of the oldest lineages of the Bon religion. He is the Director of the Bon Dialectic School of the New Menri Monastery, which was established in the Tibetan diaspora in India (Dolanji, Himachal Pradesh).

On October, 23rd 2014 Lopon Lama Trinley Nyima Rinpoche created within the framework of his visit a tridimensional Bon icon out of clay that, according to his intention, “seeks the peace and prosperity of Erlangen” and on October, 27th 2014 he delivered a public lecture on “Bon Religion and Divination” in the auditorium of the castle of the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg(FAU)

The icon prepared by Lopon Lama is called a gtor ma (pr. tor ma); the term is generally translated as 'sacrificial cake', because the object has been an essential component of rituals since very ancient times in Tibet.

There exist numerous kinds of gtor mas, depending on their function: offering to deities, apotropaic, cosmological, propitiatory, and so on. They are usually made of butter and dough which are then colored with natural dies. This one is made of molding clay. It is a kind of gtor ma that has a propitiatory function for a specific place or institution (in our case, Erlangen and IKGF) and to favor prosperity for human beings, animals, and the environment.

The center represents the axis mundi: sitting on a cushion symbolically made of the five elements (earth, metal, wood, fire, and air), it confers stability and solidity to the place. It is surrounded by icons which epitomize protection from the four cardinal points of the compass, thus making the location a sacred and unassailable place where all sentient beings are safe, cared for, and happy. The presence of the small animals reminds us that we are totally interdependent with nature and that it is vital for us to recognize and respect such interconnection.

Photo Gallery

For further information, please see the consortium’s website ( or the following links:


For further information, please contact Dr. Esther-Maria Guggenmos at

International Consortium for Research in the Humanities

"Fate, Freedom and Prognostication. Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe."

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Hartmannstr. 14, D3
91052 Erlangen
Telefon: +49 (0) 9131 85-64337