What is Bon?

Discussion of the fifth religious tradition of Tibet.
Tenma
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What is Bon?

Post by Tenma » Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:07 pm

Okay, so recently, I asked on the conflict between the Gelugpas and Bonpos. I would like to ask, how did the enlightened Bon deities arise from the worldly local deities like the 5 sisters, 12 Tenma, Pehar Gyalpo, and what not of shamanistic Bon? Are these enlightened ones like Sherab Chanma, Sidpai Gyalmo, Yeshe Walmo, and Takla Mebhar worldly deities that became enlightened or what? Because I'm now confused after reading on Sidpai Gyalmo and her forms originating from a Persian river goddess.
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Sādhaka
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by Sādhaka » Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:20 pm

The first Dharma taught at the beginning of the 'universe' is Dzogchen.

Modern Bön (described on this forum by Mutsuk as a Sarma phenomenon; with similarities to Gelug, interestingly enough) may seem to have many teachings copied from Buddhism; but since ShangShung Nyengyud and the Twelve Small Tantras are original Bönpo Dzogchen Teachings or Yungdrung Bön not copied from Buddhism, then Bön is in accord with the first Dharma of the Buddha, even if some Bön teachings were copied from Buddhism.

All the Buddha's Teachings 'descend' from Dzogchen. It is not that the Pali canon was first and then the higher Yanas such as the Mahayana were invented later on, as some erroneously believe.
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pemachophel
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by pemachophel » Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:26 pm

Many people forget (or don't know) that the Rime (nonsectarian) movement in Kham was, at least in part, a Buddhist rapprochement with Bon. It was Khyentse Wangpo Who said that Bon was a valid Dharma leading to Liberation.

In terms of Gelug disregard for Bon, one of the ways many Gelug dis Ngagyur Nyingma is to say we are Bon, the implication being not orthodox Buddhist. In terms of Nyingma and Bon, while some Nyingma Lamas do not consider Bonpo Buddhists (my original Teacher and His wife, for instance), many have high regard for Bon and are quite happy and willing to receive Bon teachings. In addition, some Tertons, such a Dorje Lingpa, revealed both Buddhist and Bon terma. My Root Guru especially thinks highly of Bon practitioners' mantra siddhi. Last year, His daughter married a Bonpo. Many of my Teacher's Dharma friends and acquaintances faulted Him for this, but He has no problem with it. Of course, He grew up in Dolpo where there were lots of Bon.

Although our family is Nyingma, my son is a Bon Tulku who was, in his previous life, a student of the Bon Khyuntrul Rinpoche Who in turn was a student of the great Buddhist yogi Shakya-shri. Go figure.
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Fortyeightvows
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Sun Oct 01, 2017 2:28 am

Tenma wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:07 pm
Okay, so recently, I asked on the conflict between the Gelugpas and Bonpos. I would like to ask, how did the enlightened Bon deities arise from the worldly local deities like the 5 sisters, 12 Tenma, Pehar Gyalpo, and what not of shamanistic Bon? Are these enlightened ones like Sherab Chanma, Sidpai Gyalmo, Yeshe Walmo, and Takla Mebhar worldly deities that became enlightened or what? Because I'm now confused after reading on Sidpai Gyalmo and her forms originating from a Persian river goddess.
:good:
I actually thought about reposting your question so I'm glad you did! I look forward to the educated responses. :thumbsup:

And while so far no one has responded to it. I do like that the conversation has almost picked up right where it left off.

Ayu, I think your great, but too quick to lock threads.

Tenma
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by Tenma » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:53 am

Sādhaka wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:20 pm
The first Dharma taught at the beginning of the 'universe' is Dzogchen.

Modern Bön (described on this forum by Mutsuk as a Sarma phenomenon; with similarities to Gelug, interestingly enough) may seem to have many teachings copied from Buddhism; but since ShangShung Nyengyud and the Twelve Small Tantras are original Bönpo Dzogchen Teachings or Yungdrung Bön not copied from Buddhism, then Bön is in accord with the first Dharma of the Buddha, even if some Bön teachings were copied from Buddhism.

All the Buddha's Teachings 'descend' from Dzogchen. It is not that the Pali canon was first and then the higher Yanas such as the Mahayana were invented later on, as some erroneously believe.
So how was the first Buddha associated with mountain deities, spirits, and so on?
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Malcolm
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:07 pm

Sādhaka wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:20 pm
The first Dharma taught at the beginning of the 'universe' is Dzogchen.

Modern Bön (described on this forum by Mutsuk as a Sarma phenomenon; with similarities to Gelug, interestingly enough) may seem to have many teachings copied from Buddhism; but since ShangShung Nyengyud and the Twelve Small Tantras are original Bönpo Dzogchen Teaching...

You neglected the part where in repeating the opinion of Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, he states clearly that the twelve little tantras, which is the only part of Zhang Zhung Snyan rgyud he considers pre-buddhist, do not form a path. They are oral teachings about the basis.

His opinion is that modern Bon, so called Yungdrung Bon, is structured on the basis of Buddhism and is for the most part wholly derivative of Buddhism, apart from obviously autochthonic concepts and practice such as Sang, Lungta, etc. We can see this in Ye khrid mtha' sel, for example, which presents a Bon version of Naro Khachodma complete with a version of the triple OM mantra.

The original Bon, according to ChNN, was basically a state religion based on twelve lores (not connected in anyway with the twelve little tantras)
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[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

tingdzin
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by tingdzin » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:01 am

If you really want a good answer to your question, and not one that is just chewing gum for your mind, you will have to do a good bit of independent reading. One's definition of Bon will depend on a lot of factors, not the least of which is, where do you want to set your boundaries? There are as yet no final answers to many of the historical questions surrounding what we now call "Bon", and I have seen some of the people having the most dogmatic opinions on the subject here at this forum forced to change their views in the light of further information.

I believe Dan Martin has posted his Bon bibliography online, if you want to get an idea about how complex the subject really is. Those scholars who have studied the question most thoroughly still have a variety of opinions.

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kalden yungdrung
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:15 pm

Tenma wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:07 pm
Okay, so recently, I asked on the conflict between the Gelugpas and Bonpos.
Gelug had many conflicts with other Tibetan Traditions than Bön. The dalai lama 14 made after 1967 herein some corrections here and there in the west. If he would have done the same in Tibet from before 1967 , i doubt.
Dalai Lama = Talai Lama = Mongolian Title. Yes, Gelug knew very well to manipulate Tibetans regarding politics, strategy and diplomacy.


I would like to ask, how did the enlightened Bon deities arise from the worldly local deities like the 5 sisters, 12 Tenma, Pehar Gyalpo, and what not of shamanistic Bon?
Bön was the first serious religion to the Tibetans once. Sure we see a continued integration process, also after 800 , prove Bön Sarma. But Bön has also original Bön matters like in the ZZNG Dzogchen Tradition, which i adhere personal.

Are these enlightened ones like Sherab Chanma, Sidpai Gyalmo, Yeshe Walmo, and Takla Mebhar worldly deities that became enlightened or what? Because I'm now confused after reading on Sidpai Gyalmo and her forms originating from a Persian river goddess.
We have anywhere worldly and non Worldly deities, see herewith no special case. But one thing is sure the Bön Lineage is for sure never the same Lineage used in other Tibetan Traditions. In Bön Sarma we have an exceptional case, but that is a later history inside the Bön history. Some Bönpos are not so impressed by Bön Sarma , whereas others are.
Me personal have nothing against other Tibetan Buddha Traditions, but i keep ZZNG Dzogchen pure and not mixed up, which is not needed because it has everything a Dzogchenpa needs.

All in all we have mixed up Bön and original Bön and a Bönpo can make a choice what he/she preferes.

Below a link how i see Bön and her Lineage, explained by our Yongdzin Rinpoche.
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=78&t=23469
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Thomas Amundsen
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:10 pm

Tenma wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:07 pm
I would like to ask, how did the enlightened Bon deities arise from the worldly local deities like the 5 sisters, 12 Tenma
I'm kinda curious about this as well as I've only ever heard about he Five Tseringma Sisters and Twelve Tenma Goddesses from a Nyingma context. I had no idea they were related to the Bön tradition as well, although it does make sense.

Tenma
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by Tenma » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:55 pm

tomamundsen wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:10 pm
Tenma wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:07 pm
I would like to ask, how did the enlightened Bon deities arise from the worldly local deities like the 5 sisters, 12 Tenma
I'm kinda curious about this as well as I've only ever heard about he Five Tseringma Sisters and Twelve Tenma Goddesses from a Nyingma context. I had no idea they were related to the Bön tradition as well, although it does make sense.
Sidpai Gyalmo's retinue from what I know, but have no clue on the 5 Sisters nor Dorje Yudronma:
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?t=22074
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kalden yungdrung
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:13 pm

Tenma wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:07 pm
I would like to ask, how did the enlightened Bon deities arise from the worldly local deities like the 5 sisters, 12 Tenma


Sidpai Gyalmo's retinue from what I know, but have no clue on the 5 Sisters nor Dorje Yudronma:
viewtopic.php?t=22074
Tashi delek T,

Below maybe an answer to your question regarding the 5 Tseringma Sisters.

Mutsug Marro'
KY.

=============================

Oracles and demons of Tibet
By
Rene de Nebesky – Wojkowitz



THE SMAN GODDESSES

In the foregoing chapters we encountered already repeatedly the term sman {also sman mo and sman btsun). Thus in some Tibetan works the Tshe ring mched lnga are classified as belonging to the sman group; in some of the rDzogs chen pa books, the Tshe ring mched lnga are mentioned under the name bKa' srung sman btsun mched lnga.

Also one of the rNying mapa texts which we quoted above speaks of the goddess bKra shis tshe ring ma as the small btsun bKra shis tshe ring ma. Further, as had just been mentioned, a subdivision of the 12 bsTan ma are the 4 great sman mo (sman mo chen mo bzhi), of whom, however, only one bears the expression sman in her name: rDo rje sman gcig ma; but sman gcig ma is also a title by which the goddess rDo rje drag mo rgyal is addressed.

sMan - as had already been pointed out in other publications– is often used as the appellation of the consorts of the lha, the meaning of this word being both woman" and "medicine". In most Tibetan texts the word sman- short for sman mo or sman ma- is used as the appellation of a group of aboriginal Tibetan deities, who must stand in some relation to medicine since 2 kinds of gtor ma called sman gtor and sman rag gtor ma are offered to them; the sman gtor consists of various medicines, while the second kind of gtor ma is prepared by mixing medicines with blood.

The section of the Bön called snang gshen, is supposed to have dealt specially with the worship of the lha and sman.

The term sman btsun is mostly used as an alternative name for sman mo, though in some cases sman btsun appears to be not merely a title, but the name of a particular class of the sman mo.

About the sman btsun Text no. 92 (fol. 4a), says that they were subdued by Padmasambhava on the peaks of slate and snow-mountains, and Text no. 57 speaks on fol. 76b about the "4 sister-orders of the great sman btsun" (sman btsun chen mo mched sde bzhi); a sman btsun who is sometimes mentioned in the lha bsangs works is the sMan btsun demo dbu dktJr.

Also the term mo sman- mentioned in the enumeration of the sNang srid sde brgyad and in the Vair/urya dkar po - is perhaps not a general term, but rather the name of a subdivision of the sman. There are various spheres in which the sman mo live: some of them are said to dwell in the sky, others "in the calm, great lakes . . . on green meadows and in virgin forests" and in the earth.

The Padma thang yig claims that Padmasambhava subdued all the sman mo and lha sman at a place called gSil main Tsang.

As in the case of most of the Tibetan deities of pre-Buddhist origin, also the sman mo are supposed to form groups, which are called ''sisterhoods" (sman spun, sman mched); thus the gTsang ma klu 'bum speaks in several instances about the Byang sman mched bzhi, the 4 sman sisters of the North, and the 7 sman ma who dwell in lakes (mTsho sman ma bdun), while Text no. 5 (fol. 34b) mentions a sisterhood of 5 lake-dwelliq sman mo, the mTsho sman phyug mo spun lnga.

Some sources speak even about a group of 58 sman mo. According to the gTsang ma kill 'bum also the sman mo, just like the gnyan, sa bdag, gzed, and 'brog, are supposed to have their own Bön priest (bön po ).

The name of the Bön po of the sman is given on fol. 73b of the work here quoted: sman bön 'Brang thang gong sngon. The group of the sman mo is divided on feudalistic principles: there are both mistresses of the sman" (sman gyi gtso mo) and "queens of the sman" (sman gyi rgyal mo) as well as "minor sman" (sman phran).

An important subdivision of the sman mo are the gnam sman, the sman mo who reside in the sky. They are certainly closely related to another group of ancient Tibetan goddesses, the nam mkha'i lha mo.

Leader of all the gnam sman is the goddess Thog gi bu yug, apparently identical with the sakti of the mountain-god Yar lha sham po who bears the same name.

The gnam sman Thog gi bu yug is pale-red and wears a golden go zu; her right hand holds lightning, the left hand carries the corns of hail, and she rides on lightning. We may recall here that the goddess mThing gi zhal bzang ma, a member of the Tshe ring mched /nga group, is sometimes classified among the gnam sman. In the retinue of the rDo rje g.yu sgron ma we also mentioned the rDo rje ne ne gnam sman sgron.

Another prominent gnam sman is Mane ne, the mother of the legendary king Ge sar. Her full name is "the whitegnam sman Mane ne", Mane ne gnam sman dkar mo.

To the group of the gnam sman belongs most probably also the Bön goddess gNam lha byang sman mthing gi go zu can. The second part of her name indicates that she wears an azure-blue go zu. Those sman mo who dwell in lakes are given the name mtsho sman.
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kalden yungdrung
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:18 am

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kalden yungdrung
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:55 pm

IN ADDITION:


Tashi delek,

According Dmitry Ermakov we have 4 types of Bön , which are less or more, related to their followers /Bönpos.

=============================

4 TYPES OF BÖN

- Gdöd ma´i Bön -
The prehistoric Bön of Zhang Zhung and Tibet
An extremely ancient system of belief and ritual practices, which is largely extinct today.
A small part of it is represented by the traditions of the lha pa and dpa´bo, some aspects of which can be compared with Siberian Shamanism

- g.Yung drung Bön -
Sometimes also called Bön rnying ma
The teachings of the central Asian Buddha Mu ra Ta Hen, known in Tibet under the name of sTön pa gShen rab Mi bo.

- Bön gsar ma -
New Bön , a syncretic tradition created in the 8th century AD through the amalgamation of Yungdrung Bön and Shakyamuni´s Buddhism which was just newly introduced from India


- Mixed Bön -
A blend of these 3 types of Bön in different proportions, often with the addition of elements from other religions such as Hinduism, Taoism, Himalayan tribal religions, native Siberian belief systems etc.
Mixed Bön would include secular Bön or the civil religion of the Himalayan border lands studied by Charles Ramble in his “ The navel of Demoness as well as Buryatia Bo Murgel from the shores of lake Baikal, the religion of the Nakhi in Yunnan and so on.

I would argue that out of these 4 categories of Bön, only one namely Bön Sarma can be tentatively said to have originated in Tibet and even that is a long shot, as both elements which constitute it, gYung Drung Bön and Indian Buddha Dhamma – came from elsewhere.
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kalden yungdrung
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Tue Nov 21, 2017 10:19 am

Tashi delek,

On the Buddhist flag is integrated the Yungdrung / Swastika.
It shows somehow, the integration of Bön with Buddhism. :twothumbsup:
Yungdrung Bön Flag - 01.jpg
Yungdrung Bön Flag - 01.jpg (56.35 KiB) Viewed 1514 times
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kalden yungdrung
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:16 am

IN ADDITION:

This is also Bön, namely Bön Sarma

viewtopic.php?f=78&t=20867 :twothumbsup:
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kalden yungdrung
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:12 am

IN ADDITION:

The best meditation is no meditation

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kalden yungdrung
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:36 pm

IN ADDITION:

The best meditation is no meditation

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kalden yungdrung
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:59 pm

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kalden yungdrung
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Mon Dec 25, 2017 3:29 pm

Tashi delek,

Hidden treasures of Bön , is a documentary of Geshela Gelek form Triten Norbutse Monastery in Kathmandu.

It is a trip to Mustang where the Bön culture is observed.
Lopon La and Geshela Gelek - TNB - 012.jpg
Lopon La and Geshela Gelek - TNB - 012.jpg (56.6 KiB) Viewed 1084 times
http://videos.dhondo.com/watch/Xt7hliru6Gw
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kalden yungdrung
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Re: What is Bon?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:09 pm

Tashi delek,

Samten G. Karmay a well known person for Bönpos.
Here he gives an interpretation about what is Bön.
==============

Samten Gyeltsen was born in 1936 in Sharkhog, eastern Tibet. He received religious training in Dzogchen meditation from his uncle. He completed his studies in the Bon monastery in 1955, obtaining the degree of geshe, and left with a group of friends to Drepung Monastery, a Gelug gompa near Lhasa. The monastery was known for its high philosophical training.

After leaving Drepung due to the difficult political situation, Samten moved to Nepal and later to India. After working for some time in Delhi, he was invited to England by David Snellgrove under a Rockefeller fellowship. Upon moving to Europe, he assumed the surname Karmay. He studied under two mentors, Snellgrove and Rolf Stein, who both recognized Samten's knowledge of Tibetan texts. He earned an M. Phil degree at the SOAS, University of London.

In 1980 he moved to France, where he entered the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (National Centre for Scientific Research). During his time there, he was awarded with the CNRS Silver Medal for his contribution to Human Sciences.

A number of Revue d'Etudes Tibétaines was dedicated to him in November 2008. He also held the post of the President of the International Association of Tibetan Studies between 1995 and 2000, being the first Tibetan to be elected to the post. In 2005 he was a visiting professor at the International Institute for Asian Studies, under the sponsorship of Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (""Society for the Promotion of Buddhism"").



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samten_Karmay
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