Differences Between Bon Traditions?

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Differences Between Bon Traditions?

Post by sherab zangpo on Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:54 am

What are the major or minor differences between the ancient Bon, and the modern reformed Bon?
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Re: Differences Between Bon Traditions?

Post by Gerry on Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:10 pm

Hmm.... "modern reformed Bön" are you are referring to Yungdrung Bön as we know it today?

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Re: Differences Between Bon Traditions?

Post by sherab zangpo on Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:42 pm

Hello Gerry, I think its helpful to establish some clear idea for readers, whom would wish to study a little bit about Bon tradition, if we could provide a base from where to begin to understand how (eternal) yungdrung Bon has arrived at its "modern" style, with monks and monestaries and lineage heads and so forth. If we could in a very respectful way tease apart the ancient aspect from the modern aspect, it seems from my side to be quite distinct in flavour. Also is there a gterma tradition within Bon?

Sherab
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Re: Differences Between Bon Traditions?

Post by Gerry on Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:54 am

Hi Sherab,

I am more of a yogi than a historian, so I will post what I remember as best I can - any errors are purely my own.

As for Yungdrung Bön, first one might like to read a bit - I like open source "free" stuff for starters...

http://www.yungdrung-bon.net/page/anglais/A-histoire/A-HISTOIRE1_BON.html

https://www.ligmincha.org/bon-buddhism/an-ancient-tradition-meets-modern-challenges.html

http://www.angelfire.com/vt/vajranatha/bondzog.html

Search the web - there is a lot out there, some completly false and not connected to any Bönpos at all, some is what the Bönpos themselves tell, or told to another. The biggest mistake is assuming Bönpos are merely "shamans" and/or sacrifice animals. A Tibetologist friend of mine put it simply - what Bönpos refer to as "Causal Ways", Tibetan Buddhists call folk practices that are not officially part of the Canon, but they do them anyway.

Perhaps the biggest historical change was the establishment of formal monestaries as Buddhism from India settled into Tibet. Jean-Luc Achard knows this aspect of the story much better than I do. My extremely simple understanding is that generally Bönpos would go to (any) monestary - not so much to study Dharma, but rather to understand how to ~run~ a monestary. The Teachings already existed and establishing monestaries could get them to users more efficiently.

There were two distinct persecutions of Bönpos - around 700-800 BCE and later at the hand of Trisong Detsen as Buddhism was established as the official religion of Tibet. The Bön Canon (minus Dzogchen which was mind to mind transmission from one Master to one student only, then an oral tradition from one Master to one student only until the time of Tapihritsa who had two students and gave permission to write the Dzogchen teachings down), written in the Zhangzhung language, was hidden on both occasions. Sometimes rediscovered by Bönpos, sometimes by Buddhists.

As far as I know there is no tradition of "hidden" teachings to be revealed at a later time when students are ready and the time is best like the way Tibetan Buddhism accounts for Mahayana, Vajrayana, and Dzogchen in reference to Shakyamuni Buddha.

Zhangzhung as a language can be controversial in itself. The Bönpo version is that it existed in its written form since the time of Tönpa Shenrap and witten Tibetan derived from that. There are remote villages where Zhangzhung is spoken except to outsiders. Historians are still looking for their "proofs" and that part of the world is currently crawling with all sorts of folks wanting to know more.

Best wishes.

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Re: Differences Between Bon Traditions?

Post by Gerry on Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:00 am

One last, since I need to be away shortly for a fairly long time, is that there is a forum dedicated to Bön. It can be found here:

http://yungdrung-rignga-ling.forums-free.com/ucp.php?mode=login

For me, the bottom line is do the practices work - be those practices Bönpo or Buddhist; and... what, if any karmic connection might there be?

I do know that the Bönpos cured my physical ills with various practices as well as answered many long standing questions I had when others could not. They also took me in like family while others were at best aloof. So for this lifetime at least, I am at their service.

_/\_

Edit: I remembered one other site that is pretty accurate:

http://www.tibet.com/Buddhism/bon.html

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Re: Differences Between Bon Traditions?

Post by sherab zangpo on Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:56 pm

Many thanks Gerry.

all the best


Sherab
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Re: Differences Between Bon Traditions?

Post by Gerry on Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:42 pm

Ditto!

A little Bön trivia...

Circumambulate counter clockwise because that is the way the Earth rotates around the Sun with north as the top.

A Om Hung instead of Om A Hung - because you need A to make Om. (in Tbetan)

Tsongkapha and Sherab Gyaltsen were from neighboring villages in Amdo, they were friends and made Pilgrimige to Lhasa together, Sherab Gyaltsen wrote the prayer for Tsongkapha, and Tsongkapha wrote the prayer for Sherab Gyaltsen that Bönpos use.

Gerry

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Re: Differences Between Bon Traditions?

Post by Gerry on Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:58 pm


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