The Nine Ways Of Bon

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The Nine Ways Of Bon

Post by sherab zangpo on Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:39 am

Please Discuss.
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Re: The Nine Ways Of Bon

Post by Gerry on Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:20 am

What do you want to know?

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Re: The Nine Ways Of Bon

Post by sherab zangpo on Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:58 am

Gerry wrote:What do you want to know?

Hello Gerry, and welcome.

I understand that the 9 ways are divided between white and black water. Could you explain a little about the way that understanding works.

Many thanks.


Sherab
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Re: The Nine Ways Of Bon

Post by Gerry on Mon Oct 12, 2009 12:11 pm

Hi Sherab,

"White" and "Black" here do not have the same connotation as we tend to be familiar with in the west and belongs more accurately to the the Four Portals and the (Fifth) Treasury.

White Waters (First Portal) refers to the Tantras of Wrathful (Fearless) or Fierce Mantras associated with the Father Tantra.

Black Waters (Second Portal) refers to practices related to the continuity of existence - more "Shamanic" in nature, funeral rites, divination, etc. (black refers to expelling negativities), basically the Four Causal Ways.

Lopön Tenzin Namdak covers all of the various ways to classify Bön and more in the book "Bönpo Dzogchen Teachings".

Another great work that has been recently reprinted is "The Nine Ways of Bön" by David Snellgrove.

To understand how much of the confusion about Bön came about as well as a little more on the history please see "New Horizons in Bön Studies" edited by Samten G. Karmay and Yushiko Nagano and "The Treasury of Good Sayings: A Tibetan History of Bön" edited and translated by Samten G. Karmay.

Best wishes.

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Re: The Nine Ways Of Bon

Post by sherab zangpo on Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:52 pm

Gerry wrote:

belongs more accurately to the the Four Portals and the (Fifth) Treasury.


Hello again Gerry, thanks for the explanation, does a Bon student need to study the four portals in turn, or just study straight from the fifth (treasury)?

Thanks.

Sherab
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Re: The Nine Ways Of Bon

Post by Gerry on Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:37 am

Hi Sherab,

The Treasury includes aspects of the other four - so perhaps going straight to the Treasury would be okay...

Just as with Buddhist Teachings, the Lama is the most excellent doctor who could prescribe exactly what is needed for any particular individual, and as always what gets prescribed depends on the capacity of the student.

Generally Ngöndro is the absolute best place to start, to prepare the foundation for subsequent Teachings - no matter what tradition one follows, any of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism or Bön.

I realize I am dancing around your question a bit, but I am not a Teacher, just a bug who knows how to sometimes point.

Best wishes.

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Re: The Nine Ways Of Bon

Post by sherab zangpo on Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:01 am

Hi Gerry,

In terms of a gradual Vs instant path, does Bon recognize the capacity of a student, and if so what would that understanding be from a teacher? Or can one enter into a rushen, semdzin, seperation style of ngondro instead of tantric gradualist style of ngondro? What would the introduction be into either from Bon tradition be?

Sherab
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Re: The Nine Ways Of Bon

Post by Gerry on Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:17 am

Ngöndro is NOT gradual if you follow the way it was done a long time ago...

a student comes before a Master, asks for Teachings, receives Ngöndro, goes into retreat for about 3 months to obtain the "signs" as well as accumulations, returns to the Master for the next round of Teachings... (Nature of Mind)

I have known laity that have taken as long as 7 years and as short as 3 months while working a job, etc,. I have also known monks that have taken as long as 2 years - so times change.

Wiki has an extremely brief bit about the two main versions of Ngöndro (ZZNG and A-Khrid) you can also find ZZNG in Vajranatha's book "The Oral Tradition from Zhang Zhung" and A-khrid in Per Kvaerne's "The Stages of A-Khrid Meditation". The alternative would be follow the "Heartdrops of Dharmakaya" (basically from the book of same name). But without the formal Teaching(s) AND the related retreats any of these becomes merely a blessing or just more intelectualizing.

Best wishes.

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Re: The Nine Ways Of Bon

Post by sherab zangpo on Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:28 am

Gerry wrote:Ngöndro is NOT gradual if you follow the way it was done a long time ago...


Interesting comment. Ngondro certainly is now a days a graded, accumulation, preliminary path of transformation. What does Bon say about that in modern terms?

Sherab
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Re: The Nine Ways Of Bon

Post by Gerry on Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:14 am

Sorry, I am not sure I follow... (did you mean "gradual" not "graded") how about...?

I am not an "official spokesperson" - but personal opinion is that if one is REALLY serious (re: Bodhicitta), no matter what tradition one chooses to follow and study, the Teachings become the primary focus in life and all else either supports or falls naturally and painlessly by the way side.

This of course depends on "fast" one wants to go... Sutra, Tantra or Dzogchen... as well as, again, one's capacity.

Just as with Tibetan Buddhism...

Sutra - MANY lifetimes...

Tantra - several lifetimes...

Dzogchen - likely this lifetime.

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Re: The Nine Ways Of Bon

Post by sherab zangpo on Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:03 pm

Gerry wrote:Sorry, I am not sure I follow... (did you mean "gradual" not "graded")

Yes, gradual, thanks again for the information gerry.

Would like your thoughts and opinions on a few things regarding Bon, Ill open another thread about that.


Sherab
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Re: The Nine Ways Of Bon

Post by Gerry on Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:00 am

I guess "gradual" is an individual option based on one's circumstances.

I found the Lam Rim "gradual".

Precious human birth comes to mind and there being nothing more worthy of ~doing~. Like I wrote above - I have known westerners wth jobs, etc. who have completed their Ngöndro accumulations in as few as 4 months.

Another way to look at it might be as one Lama I know put it... "You have this precious human birth where you don't know when you will die and you want to waste 30 minutes with anger?" (or any other diversion)

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Re: The Nine Ways Of Bon

Post by LauraJ on Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:27 am

Hi Gerry,

Your comments are fascinating and informative.
Thanks very much :hands:

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Re: The Nine Ways Of Bon

Post by Gerry on Sat Nov 07, 2009 12:11 pm

This just in... (I put it here only because its related to the discussion)

Dalai Lama Quote of the Week


...people have qualities, such as athletic prowess, that are entirely contingent upon the body. There is a limit to how much we can enhance this capacity--it is not limitless. For example, regardless of how talented an athlete may be, he or she can only jump so much. Furthermore, these qualities endure only as long as the physical conditions remain intact. They cannot be carried over into the next life. The continuum of the mind, however, does carry on. Therefore, a quality based on the mind is more enduring.

So, through training the mind, qualities such as compassion, love, and the wisdom realizing emptiness can be developed. Through familiarization these qualities can be developed to their highest potentials. Although initially it may require a good deal of effort, once you get beyond a certain point, the development becomes spontaneous, natural, and self-sustaining. There is no need for further effort. This is why we can say that these qualities can be developed infinitely.

If we interrupt our athletic training, we will have to go through the whole training procedure again to bring our skill back to its previous level. However, once we have developed a quality of the mind to a level of spontaneity, although we may leave it aside for a long time, a slight application will bring it back to the prior level. The difference between the two qualities is due to the difference of their bases, mental and physical.

In this way, the development of the mind through successive lifetimes is understood. Even if you do not make much headway in this lifetime, because the qualities acquired in the mind will be retained, these predispositions can be activated in the future.

--from Practicing Wisdom: The Perfection of Shantideva's Bodhisattva Way by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, translated and edited by Geshe Thupten Jinpa

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