The 7th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
|Articles by alphabetic order|
About The Bon
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It is challenging to create a narrative that presents a well-rounded perspective of these ancient peoples, due to several facts, some of these being that the roots of Bon existed as an oral tradition,
Many references exist in the vast reservoir of Tibetan scriptures but not until the American John Vincent Bellezza began to do extensive research beginning in the early 1990’s did overwhelming evidence of this territory the size of Texas and California combined begin to take shape.
In his book, Tibetan Stones of Time:Exploration of the Ancient Bon Kingdom of Zhang Zhung, Bellezza’s findings date the stone remains to the Iron Age, a time span from the First millennium BC to the period of the first Buddhist Kings of the 7th century AD.
An excerpt from the recent article by Juergen Kremb Buamann’s new book, The Silver Palace of Garuda, The Discovery of Tibet’s Last Secret, reads as follows.“…the remnants of ancient foundations are everywhere, and the remains of ramparts extending several hundred meters line the top of the cliff.
Locals call the mountain “Khardong,” or “In the View of the Palace.”
Bon has survived continuously as a living tradition especially among the lay people who despite the over whelming odds, have passed on their culture and religious traditions from generation to generation.
When disturbances occur and afflictions manifest within these complex relationships, a shaman or Bon priest responds by way of ritual to facilitate the healing of physical and environmental as well as spiritual distress by mediating between the unseen forces to restore harmony.
Scholars have also agreed that Tibetan prayer flags originate from the ancient Bon culture. Symbolizing the union and balance of the five elements, prayer flags are a principle way of transmitting prayer, and acknowledging the divine.
This veiled mystery is a source of fascination to scholars and student alike presenting the earnest seeker a rich opportunity for future discovery. For example, the Bon as a religion is believed to have originated from the land of Olmo Lungring in Tazik.
Many modern day scholars recognize Tazik as the present day Tajikistan, which is situated northwest of the once thought to be mythical Kingdom of Zhang –Zhang, which is West of Tibet, near Mt Kailish, a holy place for many religions.
As the teachings flourished throughout the ancient empire of Zhang –Zhung they were brought to Central Tibet sometime before 600 A.D. Tibetan Buddhism, distinct from its Indian and other Asian counterparts, arguably owes much of this uniqueness to the influence of Tibetan Bon.
examining, perceiving and experiencing our intrinsic relationship to nature, and to the natural mind is an ever- evolving unfoldment of revelation and practice whose transforming mere existence into an experience of living with universal wisdom and compassion for all.
Yungdrung doctrine, or otherwise known as Eternal Bon, is dedicated to perpetuating the teachings of their founder Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche, who occupies a preeminent position in Bon culture similar to that of Sakyamuni in Buddhism.
- Cha Shen Thegpa: the Way of Prediction - Describes the four methods of prediction; astrology, ritual examination of causes, and prophecy
- Nang Shen Thegpa: the Way of the Visual World - explains the psychophysical universe, as relating to the origin and nature of gods and demons living in the world and the methodology of exorcism and the liberation of beings through energetic exchange
- Si Shen Thegpa: the Way of Existence –describes the phases after death and the methods for guiding living beings toward final liberation
- Ge Nyen Thepga: the Way of a virtuous layperson’s path, offers ten principles of practices for well being, and the practice of fasting
- Drang Song Thegpa: the Way of Monkhood - explains the rules of monastic conduct and the first level of tantric practices
- A Kar Thegpa: the Way of Pure A or Primordial Sound – elucidates higher tantric practices and the necessary rituals of visualization as well as the tantric practice of che rim, explaining how to cut the bonds of rebirth, death and the intermediate state
- Ye Shen Thegpa: the Way of Primordiality – expounds upon the essential reasons for having the appropriate master, place and occasion for tantric practice and emphasizes the perfection tantric process dzog rim, and obtaining the illusory body, gyu lu.
- La na me ba: the Unsurpassable Way – details the doctrine, views, meditation and behavior of the Great Perfection, Dzogchen
Yungdrung Bon founder Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche
During his whole life his efforts to propagate the Bön religion were obstructed by the demon Khyabpa Lagring (Khyab-pa Lag-ring), that fought to destroy or impede Tonpa Shenrab’s work until eventually the demon was converted and became his disciple.
This was his only visit to Tibet.
Symbology in Yungdrung Bon
Noteworthy is the fact that our earth, moon and solar system spin counter-clockwise, and that scientists theorize the nebula that created our universe also was spinning counter clock-wise and thus generated the spin of our solar system.
As well, this reflects the design of the double helix of DNA.
And so it is that the pilgrims’ mystical path is simultaneously generating cosmic life force internally and assisting the world’s cosmic evolution externally, in this dual circumambulating of “the navel of the world”.