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(1) See John Myrdhin Reynolds, The Golden Letters, Snow Lion, Ithaca 1996, pp. 199-286.
(2) For example, see the Deb-ther sngon-po of 'Gos lo-tswa-ba gZhon-nu dpal (1392-1481), translated in The Blue Annals by George Roerich, Part I, Book I, Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi reprint 1979; pp. 35-37. See also Tarthang Tulku, Ancient Tibet, Dharma Publishing, Berkeley 1986; pp.102-106, 140-148.
(3) See Geza Uray, "The Old Tibetan Verb Bon," in Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientarium Hungaricae, 1964, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 323-34.
(4) Shamanism, now recognized to be a world-wide religious and cultural activity of great antiquity, has been extensively described by Russian and other anthropologists, as well as by scholars of the History of Religions such as Mircea Eliade and others. See especially Mircea Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, Pantheon Books, New York 1964.
(5) On Tibetan shamanism generally, see Rene de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Oracles and Demons of Tibet, Mouton, The Hague 1956, pp. 538-553, as well as Per-Arne Berglie, "Preliminary Remarks on Some Tibetan Spirit Mediums in Nepal," in Kailash 4 (1), Kathmandu 1976, pp. 85-108. For an account of a contemporary Tibetan shaman from Ladakh and practicing in Kathmandu, see Larry G. Peters, "The Tibetan Healing Rituals of Dorje Yudronma: A Fierce Manifestation of the Feminine Cosmic Force," in Shaman's Drum 45, Ashland OR 1997, pp. 36-47.
(6) See Joseph Rock, "Contributions to the Shamanism of the Tibetan-Chinese Borderland", Anthropos LIV (1959), pp. 796-818
(7) See Larry Peters, Ecstasy and Healing in Nepal, Udena Publications, Malibu 1981. See also Stan Royal Mumford, Himalayan Dialogue, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison 1989.
(8) On the relations of the old Tibetan kingdom with Central Asia generally, see Christopher Beckwith, The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia, Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ 1987. In view of this connection, as suggested by Beckwith, the term bon might possibly be a borrowing from the Central Asian Iranian language of Sogdian, where the word bwn means "dharma." This word also occurs as the first element in the title of the Zoroastrian book dealing with the process of creation, the Bundahishn. Beckwith has also pointed to a possible Indo-Iranian substratum in the Zhang-zhung language. See Beckwith, The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia, op. cit., pp. 3-36. The Sogdians were a major trading people along the Silk Route to the northwest of Tibet and many Buddhist texts in the Sogdian language have been recovered from Central Asia. On Zhang-zhung in particular, see Tsering Thar, "The Ancient Zhang Zhung Civilization," in Tibet Studies, Lhasa 1989, pp. 90-104.
(9) According to the bsTan-rtsis of Nyima Tenzin, translated by Per Kvaerne in "A Chronological Table of the Bon-po: The bsTan rcsis of Nyi-ma bstan-'jin," in Acta Orientalia XXXIII, Copenhagen 1971, pp. 205-282.
(10) There exist three principal biographies or hagiographies of Tonpa Shenrab in the Bon tradition: 1. mDo 'dus or Dus gsum sangs-rgyas byung-khungs kyi mdo, 2. gZer-myig or 'Dus-pa rin-po-che'i rgyud gzer-myig, and 3. gZi-brjid or 'Dus-pa rin-po-che dri-ma med-pa gzi-brjid rab tu 'bar-ba'i mdo.
A summery of the hagiography of Tonpa Shenrab, drawn from the gZer-myig, will be found in Helmut Hoffman, The Religions of Tibet, George Allen and Unwin, London 1961, pp. 84-98. A brief version of the hagiography may be found in Richard Gard and Sangye Tandar, The Twelve Deeds: A Brief Life Story of Tonpa Shenrab, the Founder of the Bon Religion, LTWA, New Delhi 1995. Although the monastic career of Tonpa Shenrab in his later life bares many resemblences to the account of Shakyamuni Buddha's Great Renunciation and subsequent teaching activities, as found, for example, in the Lalitavistara, his life story is otherwise of an origin quite independent of anything remotely Indian Buddhist. Indeed, the noted Russian scholar Kuznetsov sees Tonpa Shenrab as being of Central Asian or Iranian origin. See B.I. Kuznetsov, "Who was the Founder of the Bon Religion," in Tibet Journal, Vol. I, No. 1, Dharamsala 1975. Certain contemporary Tibetan scholars see Tonpa Shenrab as being a native-born Tibetan, rather than a prince or priest coming from Central Asian origin. See Namkhai Norbu, The Necklace of gZi: A Cultural History of Tibet, LTWA, Dharamsala 1981. Karmay also appears to suggest this. See Samten G. Karmay, "A General Introduction to the History and Doctrines of Bon," in The Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko, No. 33, Tokyo 1975, pp. 171-218. Lopon Tenzin Namdak, following Bonpo tradition, is adament in asserting that Tonpa Shenrab was not a Tibetan, but originated in 'Ol-mo lung-ring, which he identifies with Shambhala. In that case, 'Ol-mo lung-ring was a mystical domain and not a precise geographical location somewhere northwest of Tibet in historical times. On the significance of 'Ol-mo lung-ring and Shambhala, see Edwin Birnbaum,The Way to Shambhala: A Search for the Mythical Kingdom beyond the Himalayas, Anchor Press/ Doubleday, New York 1980, pp. 12-13, 44, 79-81, 102. On the signicance of mystical geography in general, see Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion, Harcourt Brice & World, New York 1957, and also Henry Corbin, Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth, Princeton University Press, Princeton 1977.
(11) On the bard and the epic generally in the Tibetan tradition, see R.A. Stein, Tibetan Civilization, Faber and Faber, London 1972, pp. 272-281. Also see his more detailed study, Recherches sur l'epopee et le barde au Tibet, Annales du Musee Guimet, Paris 1959.
(12) This does not mean that the Dalai Lama considers the Bonpos to be Buddhists. According to most Tibetan Lamas, the Buddhists follow chos and the Bonpos follow bon. Nevertheless, both Buddhists (chos-pa) and Bonpos are considered "Insiders" (nang-pa), as opposed to "Outsiders" or Non-Buddhists (phyi-pa), such as Hindus, Jains, Muslims, and Christians.
(13) For example, see the Grub-mtha' legs bshad shel kyi me-long by Chos kyi nyi-ma dpal bzang-po (1674-1740). The section of this text dealing with Bon has been translated by Sarit Chandra Das in Contributions on the Religion and History of Tibet, Manjusri Publishing House, New Delhi 1970, pp. 1-19; reprinted from Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1881. The author, a Gelugpa scholar, distinguished three phases in the historical development of Bon: 'jol bon, 'khyar bon, and bsgyur bon. Although this is not how the Bonpos see their own history, the text is useful in indicating how the other Buddhist schools saw them. The account found here may be summarized as follows:
1. Revealed Bon ('jol bon): During the reign of the sixth king of Tibet, Tride Tsanpo (Khri-lde btsan-po), a demon or evil spirit ('dre) kidnapped a boy of thirteen who belonged to the Shen (gshen) clan and took him to different wild places in the mountains of Tibet and Kham. Other accounts add the detail that this thirteen year old boy was discovered to have had the ears of a donkey, apparently from birth, whereupon the evil spirits absconded with him. For thirteen more years thereafter, this boy wandered in the wilderness and came to be fully instructed in the magical arts of the non-human spirits (mi ma yin). At the age of twenty-six he was permitted to return to his native village. Because of his Otherworld journeys and the knowledge he acquired thereby, he knew the names and the haunts of all the spirits and demons. He knew which spirits caused troubles among mankind and which spirits brought good luck and prosperity. And he knew how to appease hostile spirits with rituals and offerings. Thus this young man was the first to introduce Bon among the Tibetans and from his time onward, the kings of Tibet followed Bon and no other religion. It is said, moreover, that when he returned to his village from the wilderness, he hid his donkey's ears by wearing a white woollen turban, for which reason the white turban became the distinctive head-gear of the ancient Bonpos. It was said of these early Bonpos that below ('og) they tamed the evil spirits, above (steng) they invoked the gods of their ancestors, and in the middle (bar) they purified the hearth when it became polluted and thereby offended the hearth god (thab lha) and other household spirits. This account is an obvious scenario of shamanic initiation and thereby it would appear to account for the origin of shamanism in Tibet.
2. Deviant Bon ('khyar bon): This represented innovations made due to foreign influences coming into Tibet from the outside. When the king of Tibet, Drigum Tsanpo (Gri-gum btsan-po), was killed because of his persecution of the Bonpos, it became necessary to prevent the restless spirit of the murdered king, which had become a gshin or restless ghost, from doing mischief among the people. Therefore, three Bonpo practitioners were invited from Kashmir (Kha-che), Gilgit (Bru-sha), and Zhang-zhung, respectively, in order to perform the appropriate funeral rites to set the spirit to rest. This was because the local priests did not know how to do this. Such rites are known as 'Dur. All three of these Bonpos were foreigners from countries which lay to the west of Tibet. One of these Bonpos, presumably the one from Zhang-zhung, propitiated the deities Ge-khod (the patron deity of Zhang-zhung), Khyung (Garuda), and Me-lha (the god of fire). Thereby he was able to fly through the sky on his drum and divine mineral and metal deposits hidden beneath the earth. The second Bonpo, presumably the one from Gilgit, was skilled in divination and could foretell the future by means of the knots and threads, a practice known as ju-thig, and the use of scapula (sog dmar). Moreover, he made inspired oracular utterances (lha bka'). This would appear to locate the origin of this method of divination in Gilgit. The third Bonpo from Kashmir, a land famous for its Sanskrit learning among both Buddhists and Shaivites, was an expert in conducting the funeral ceremonies. Previously there had existed no philosophy of Bon in Tibet, but now Bon became mixed up with the Shaivite doctrines of the Tirthikas, that is, the Hindus of Kashmir, and therefore this became known as Deviant Bon (mu-stegs dbang-phyug-pa'i grub-mtha' 'khyar-ba bon).
3. Transformed Bon (bsgyur bon): This occured in three phases. First, an Indian Pandita, having slandered a famous Buddhist teacher and being charged with immoral acts, was expelled from the Sangha or monastic community. He went to the north of Kashmir and dressing himself in blue robes (sham-thabs sngon-po-can), he proclimed himself a great teacher. There he wrote several heretical books and hid them underground. After a few years, he invited the public to witness the discovery of these texts that he had hidden previously. He proclaimed them to be the sacred scriptures of Bon and thereby he brought about a transformation in the Bon religion.
Second, during the reign of the great Buddhist king of Tibet, Trisong Detsan, an edict was issued requiring that all Bonpos to renounce Bon and to embrace the Buddhist faith of India. A Bonpo named Rinchenchok (Rin-chen mchog) refused to do so and was punished by the king for his obstinancy. He became very angry at this and thereupon he and some other Bonpo priests composed Bonpo scriptures by whole-sale plagiarizing of the Buddhist ones. When the king heard of this activity, he was outraged and had these priests beheaded. However, some conspirators survived and hid copies of these plagiarized texts under rocks in various places. Later these priests rediscovered these texts and they became the Bonpo Termas.
Third, after the overthrow and death of the Tibetan king Langdarma in the ninth century, some Bonpo priests continued to alter other Buddhist texts using different orthography and terminology. In Upper Tsang, two of them, Shengur Luga (gSen rgur klu-dga') and Daryul Drolag (Dar-yul sgro-lag), composed more texts and hid them under rocks. Thereby they converted many Buddhist scriptures into Bon texts, such as transforming the extensive Prajnaparamita (Yum rgyas) into the Khams-chen, the Bonpo version of the Prajnaparamita. Later they brought them out as apparently accidental discoveries. These caches of texts were known as "the White Water" (Chab dkar) and the Fruitional Bon ('bras-bu'i bon).
The tone of the account here is rather anti-Bon and this may be contrasted with the Bonpos' own account of the origin and development of their tradition such as found in the Legs-bshad mdzod of Shardza Rinpoche. See the translation of this work in Samten G. Karmay, The Treasury of Good Sayings: A Tibetan History of Bon, Oxford University Press, London 1972.
(14) Oral communication from Lopon Tenzin Namdak. See also his history of Bon, g.Yung-drung bon gyi bstan-pa'i 'byung khungs nyung bsdus, Kalimpong 1962.
(15) According to the traditional accounts found in the gZer-myig and the gZi-brjid, the demon prince and sorcerer Khyabpa Lagring (bDud-rgyal Khyab-pa lag-ring) stole the seven horses of Tonpa from their stable in 'Ol-mo lung-ring, and after spiriting them away, he concealed them in Kongpo, a country in Southeastern Tibet. Tonpa Shenrab took this as an opportunity to travel to Tibet in order to subdue the fierce demons (srin-po) who at that time dwelt in the country and oppressed primitive humanity. See H. Hoffman, The Religions of Tibet, op. cit. Also see Tarthang Tulku, Ancient Tibet, op. cit., pp. 107-108.
(16) See David Snellgrove, The Nine Ways of Bon, Oxford University Press, London 1967. Also see Namkhai Norbu, Drung, Dreu and Bon, LTWA, Dharamsala 1995.
(17) See Snellgrove, The Nine Ways of Bon, op. cit. Also on Bonpo ritual, see John Myrdhin Reynolds, The Cult and Practice of Zhang-zhung Meri, Bonpo Translation Project (privately printed), San Diego 1996.
(18) Oral communication from Lopon Tenzin Namdak. On the conflict between Buddhist Lamas and indigenous shamans regarding the question of blood sacrifice, see Mumford, Himalayan Dialogue, op. cit. On a parallel situation in seventeenth century Mongolia, see Walther Heissig, The Religions of Mongolia, University of California Press, Berkeley 1980 and Walther Heissig, "A Mongolian Source to the Lamaist Suppression of Shamanism in the 17th Century," in Anthropos 48, pp. 493-533.
(19) On 'Chi-med gtsug-phud and the lineages for the Bonpo Dzogchen teachings, see Chapter Two below and also the translations of the Yig-chung and the rNam-thar in Part Two.
(20) On the Zhang-zhung language, see Erik Haarh, "The Zhang-zhung Language: A Grammar and Dictionary of the Unexplored Language of the Tibetan Bonpos," in Acta Jutlandica XL: 1, Copenhagen 1968, pp. 7-43.
(21) Samten G. Karmay, The Treasury of Good Sayings: A Tibetan History of Bon, Oxford University Press, London 1972.
(22) On the sMar-yig script of Zhang-zhung, see Tshe-ring Thar, "The Ancient Zhang Zhung Civilization," op. cit. Also see Namkhai Norbu, The Necklace of gZi, op. cit..
(23) On the Bonpo Terma tradition, see Samten Karmay, The Treasury of Good Sayings, op. cit. All of the early Terma discoveries of the Bonpos were sa-gter, that is, the actual physical texts written in previous times and concealed in various places of Tibet and Bhutan. Most of the actual discovers of these collections of Terma texts were not learned Lamas, but simple farmers and hunters, who could not have possibly forged these texts. Among the most famous of these early "Tertons" were three Nepali thieves known as the three Atsaras, who in the year 961 CE stole a heavy locked chest from the Cha-ti dmar-po temple at Samye monastery. Escaping into the mountains with their loot, thinking that it contained gold they broke into the chest, but when they opened it, they found only some old texts. Greatly disappointed, they sold these old books to some local village Bonpo Lamas for some gold and a horse.
(24) On the Nyingmapa Terma tradition, see Eva Dargyay, The Rise of Esoteric Buddhism in Tibet, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi 1977. Also see Tulku Thondup, Hidden Teachings of Tibet: An Explanation of the Terma Tradition of the Nyingmapa School of Buddhism, Wisdom Publications, London 1986, and Tulku Thondup, The Tantric Tradition of the Nyingmapas, Buddhayana, Marion MA 1984.
(25) The Nine Ways of Bon, or rather, the nine successive vehicles of Bon (bon theg-pa rim dgu), as classified in the System of the Southern Treasures (lho gter lugs), is expounded in as many chapters in the gZi-brjid, the most extensive hagiography of Tonpa Shenrab. These chapters have been translated by Snellgrove in consultation with Lopon Tenzin Namdak. See David Snellgrove,The Nine Ways of Bon, Oxford University Press, London 1967. Here the Nine Ways are listed as follows:
1. The Way of the Practice of Prediction (phywa gshen theg-pa): Literally theg-pa means a vehicle or conveyance, rather than a road or a way. gShen, a word of obscure origin and meaning, can here be translated as "practice" or "practitioner" according to the Lopon. And the term phywa means prediction or prognostication. This way or vehicle is principally concerned with divination (mo), astrological and geomantic calculations (rtsis), medical diagnosis (dpyad), and the performing of healing rituals (gto).
2. The Way of the Practice of Visible Manifestations (snang gshen theg-pa): This way is principally concerned with visible manifestations (snang-ba) perceived as positive manifestations of the activities of the gods (lha) who come to the aid of humanity. Therefore, the emphasis is placed on invoking the gods (lha gsol-ba) for their aid. This includes such classes of deities as the Thugs-dkar, the sGra-bla, the Wer-ma, and so on.
3. The Way of the Practice of Magical Power ('phrul gshen theg-pa): This way is principally concerned with magical rituals to ensure prosperity and control over the spirits evoked, especially the rites of exorcism (sel-ba) to eliminate negative energy and the negative provocations of evil spirits (gdon) who come to disturb human existence. The practitioner works with these energies in terms of evocation, conjuration, and application (bsnyen sgrub las gsum).
4. The Way of the Practice of Existence (srid gshen theg-pa): Here "existence" (srid-pa) properly means the processes of death and rebirth. This way is also known as 'Dur gshen, the practice of ceremonies for exorcising ('dur) the spirits of the dead who are disturbing the living. It is, therefore, principally concerned with the three hundred and sixty kinds of rites for accomplishing this, as well as methods for ensuring the good fortune and the long life of the living. These four represent the Four Causal Ways of Bon (bon rgyu'i theg-pa bzhi). These are followed by the higher ways of a more spiritual nature, whose goal is liberation and enlightenement, which are collectively known as the Fruitional Ways ('bras-bu'i theg-pa).
5. The Way of the Virtuous Lay Practitioners (dge-bsnyen theg-pa): This way is principally concerned with morality and ethics, such as the ten virtuous deeds (dge-ba bcu), the ten Perfections or Paramitas, and so on, as well as pious activities such as erecting stupas, and so on.
6. The Way of the Ascetic Sages (drang-srong theg-pa): The term drang-srong (Skt. rishi), meaning a sage, has here the technical significance of a fully ordained monk who has taken the full complement of vows, corresponding to the Buddhist bhikshu (dge-slong). The principal concern is with the vows of the monk and the rules of the monastic discipline ('dul-ba).
7. The Way of the White A (A-dkar theg-pa): This way is principally concerned with the Tantric practice of transformation by way of visualizing oneself as the meditation deity and the practices associated with the mandala. Here are included both the Lower Tantras and the Higher Tantras.
8. The Way of the Primordial Shen (ye gshen theg-pa): This way is concerned with certain secret Tantric practices includung the proper relationship with the Guru and with the Tantric consort, as well as with the methodologies of the Generation Process (bskyed-rim) and the Perfection Process (rdzogs-rim) and the conduct connected with them.
9. The Ultimate Way (bla-med theg-pa): This ultimate and unsurpassed (bla na med-pa) way is comprised of the teachings and practices of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection, which describes the process of enlightenment in terms of the Base, the Path, and the Fruit, as well as the practice of contemplation in terms of the view, the meditations, and the conduct.
(26) The Nine Ways according to the System of the Central Treasures (dbus gter lugs) are also divided into the Causal Vehicles (rgyu'i theg-pa) and the Fruitional Vehicles ('bras-bu'i theg-pa). These are as follows:
1. The Vehicle of Gods and Men where one relies upon another (lha mi gzhan rten gyi theg-pa): that is to say, this is the vehicle of those disciples who must first hear the teachings from another. This vehicle correspons to the Shravakayana in the Buddhist system and the philosophical view is that of the Vaibhashikas.
2. The Vehicle of the Shenrabpas who understand by themselves alone (rang-rtogs gshen-rab kyi theg-pa): These practitioners do not need to hear the teachings first from another, but they discover it for themselves. This vehicle corresponds to the Pratyekabuddhayana of the Buddhists and the philosophical view is that of the Sautrantikas.
3. The Vehicle of the Compassionate Bodhisattvas (thugs-rje sems-pa'i theg-pa): This vehicle corresponds to the Mahayana Sutra system or Bodhisattvayana vehicle in the Buddhist system. In particular, the reference is to the Bodhisattvas who practice the ten Paramitas of generosity, morality, patience, vigor, meditation, strength, compassion, commitment, skillful means, and wisdom. The philosophical view is that of the Yogacharins or Chittamatrins (sems-tsam-pa) who discern the absence of any inherent existence in terms of the internal self, as well as external phenomena.
4. The Vehicle of the Bodhisattvas that are without conceptual elaborations (g.yung-drung sems-pa'i spros med-pa'i theg-pa): This vehicle also corresponds to the Bodhisattvayana in the Buddhist system. The Bonpo term g.yung-drung sems-dpa', literally Svastikasattva or "Swastika being," has the same meaning as the Buddhist term Bodhisattva (byang-chub sems-dpa'). Here one finds the same practice of the ten Pramitas. However, the philosophical view of emptiness and the absence of any inherent existence in the internal self and the external phenomena is understood by way the Madhyamaka (dbu-ma-pa), rather than the Chittamatra. These four lower ways represent the Causal Vehicles (rgyu'i theg-pa), while those which follow are known as the Fruitional Vehicles.
5. The Vehicle of the Primordial Bon of Pure Conduct and Ritual Activity (bya-ba gtsang-spyod ye bon gyi theg-pa): Focusing on ritual activity (bya-ba, Skt. kriya) and purity of conduct, this vehicle corresponds to the Kriyatantrayana in the Nyingmapa system. In terms of method, the Wisdom Being (ye-shes-pa) is invoked into one's range of vision and treated as a great lord being petitioned by a humble servent, and thereby the practitioner receives the knowledge (ye-shes) and the blessings (byin-rlabs) of the deity.
6. The Vehicle of the Clairvoyant Knowledge that possesses all of the aspects (rnam-par kun-ldan mngon-shes kyi theg-pa): The focus is equally on external ritual action and internal yoga practice. This vehicle corresponds to the Charyatantrayana in the Nyingmapa system. Together with the practice of the ten Paramitas and the four Recollections, the presence of the Wisdom being is invoked, but this time the deity is regarded as an intimate friend rather than as a superior lord. These two vehicles represent the Outer or Lower Tantras (phyi rgyud), while the vehicles that follow represent the Inner or Higher Tantras (nang rgyud).
7. The Vehicle of Visibly Manifestating Compassion in terms of the Actual Generation Process (dngos bskyed thugs-rje rol-pa'i theg-pa): This vehicle corresponds to the Yoga Tantra and to a certain extent to the Mahayoga Tantra and the Anuttara Tantra in the Buddhist system of classification for both the Nyingmapas and the Newer Schools. Establishing oneself in the higher view of the Ultimate Truth and remaining in the original condition of the Natural State, one engages in the Generation Process (bskyed-rim) and transforms oneself into the meditation deity, thereby realizing the qualities attributed to that manifestation of enlightened awareness.
8. The Vehicle wherein Everything is Completely Perfect and Exceedingly Meaningful (shin tu don-ldan kun rdzogs kyi theg-pa): Becoming established in the Ultimate Truth and the original condition of the Natural State as was the case above, here one places the emphasis on the Perfection Process (rdzogs-rim) rather than the Generation Process (bskyed-rim), so that Space and Awareness are realized to be inseparable (dbyings rig dbyer-med). And particularly in terms of the meditation deity, the practitioner comes to realize the gnosis or pristine awareness of the inseparability of bliss and emptiness (bde stong ye-shes). This vehicle corresponds to the Mahayoga Tantra and especially the Anuyoga Tantra classifications of the Nyingmapas.
9. The Unsurpassed Vehicle of the Highest Peak of the Primordial Great Perfection (ye nas rdzogs-chen yang-rtse bla-med kyi theg-pa): This vehicle comprises the Dzogchen teachings in terms of the Mind Series (sems-sde) which emphasize the awareness side of the Natural State and the Space Series (klong-sde) which emphasize the emptiness side, as well as the Secret Instruction Series (man-ngag sde) which emphasize their inseparability.
On the Central Treasures, see John Myrdhin Reynolds, Yungdrung Bon: The Eternal Tradition, Tibetan Translation Project (privately printed), New York 1994. And also Lopon Tenzin Namdak and John Reynolds (tr), The Condensed Meaning of an Explanation of the Teachings of Yungdrung Bon, Bonpo Foundation, Kathmandu n.d. Also see Tenzin Wangyal, Wonders of the Natural Mind, Station Hill Press, Barrytown NY 1993, pp. 35-37, 203-208.
(27) Oral Communication.
(28) According to Lopon Tenzin Namdak, the translations of these technical terms chab dkar as "white water" and chab nag as "black water" are problematical. Indeed, chab does mean "water" in Tibetan, but the word may originally have been a Zhang-zhung term and had a different and now forgotten meaning. In the old Bonpo usage, the terms "white" (dkar) and "black" (nag) did not have the moral connotations that they have in English, such as "white magic" done for good purposes and "black magic" done for evil purposes. In this context, white refers to invoking the aid of the gods and spirits, drawing positive energy to oneself, while black refers to the exorcizing and expelling of negative energies, perceived as a process of purification. The exorcised negative energies are felt to appear black in color, but the intention here is positive, namely, that of purification.
(29) According to Karmay, the name 'Phan-yul designates the district of 'Phan-yul to the north of Lhasa. This may have been the location where the Bonpo translation of the Prajnaparamita was made in the early period, then later concealed in a different region and rediscovered at a later time by gShen-chen klu-dga' in the 11th century. However, the Lopon disputes this theory and holds that 'phan-yul was probably a Zhang-zhung word whose meaning has been forgotten. The Tibetan term 'bum, literally meaning "one hundred thousand," is the usual designation in the Buddhist tradition for the entire collection of the Prajnaparamita Sutras, the largest of which consists of one hundred-thousand verses.
(30) See Snellgrove, The Nine Ways of Bon, ibid.
(31) The Termas revealed to bLo-ldan snying-po (b.(1360), Mi-zhig rDo-je, otherwise known as rDo-rje gling-pa (1346-1405), Kun-grol grags-pa (b. 1700), bDe-chen gling-pa (b.1833), gSang-sngags gling-pa (b. 1864), mKha'-'gro bDe-chen dbang-mo (b.1868), etc., are considered recent treasure text discoveries (gter gsar). Among those listed here, rDo-rje gling-pa is also well known as a Nyingmapa Terton. On him, see Eva Dargyay, The Rise of Esoteric Buddhism in Tibet, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi 1977. On the New Bon Termas in general, see Karmay, Treasury, ibid., pp.182-190.
(32) On the Tibetan translator Vairochana as a Bonpo, see Samten Karmay, The Great Perfection, Brill, Leiden 1988, pp. 17-37, 216-223.
(33) See Samten G. Karmay, The Great Perfection: A Philosophical and Meditative Teaching of Tibetan Buddhism, Brill, Leiden 1988. Also see Eva Dargyay, The Rise of Esoteric Buddhism in Tibet, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi 1977.
(34) See the discussion in Reynolds, The Golden Letters, op. cit., pp. 199-286.
(35) Eva Dargyay, The Rise of Esoteric Buddhism in Tibet, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi 1977. The Nyingmapa class of the Mahayoga Tantras is divided into the Tantra Section (rgyud-sde), consisting of eighteen Tantras headed by the Guhyagarbha Tantra (rgyud gsang-ba snying-po), and the Sadhana Section (grub-sde) consisting of the texts for the practices of these eight Herukas.
(36) See the translation of the Man-ngag lta-ba'i phreng-ba in Samten Karmay, The Great Perfection, op. cit., pp. 137-174.
(37) The state of even contemplation (mnyam-bzhag, Skt. samahita) represents the culmination of the Tantric process of transformation known as sadhana (grub-thabs). Just as the visualization process begins from the state of emptiness or Shunyata, generating the pure forms of the deity and the mandala out of this primordial condition of pure potentiality, so at the conclusion of the practice of the transformation, the visualization of the deity and its sacred space is dissolved once more back into its source, the state of Shunyata. The dissolving of all the pure forms generated in the creation process (bskyed-rim) of the sadhana back into emptiness does not, however, represent a true destruction or annihilation in any absolute sense. To assert that this is the case would represent the erroneous philosophical position of nihilism (chad-lta). Rather, it represents a re-enfolding of manifest forms back into their source, where they remain in their full potentiality. Having dissolved the visualization once more, the meditator rests for a period of time in Shunyata or pure unmanifest potentiality, in what is called a condition of even contemplation (mnyam-bzhag), out of which, subsequently, the sights and sounds of normal everyday life re-emerge as the post-meditation condition (rjes-thob). The Sanskrit term samahita is cognate with the more familiar term samadhi, both of which I translate into English as "contemplation," in order to distinguish them from "meditation" (sgom-pa, Skt. bhavana). In terms of Dzogchen, this remaining in the state of contemplation is equated with being in the Natural State (gnas-lugs). However, within the practice of Tantra, it is necessary to first go through this elaborate process of visualization and transformation in order to find oneself in the condition of contemplation once the visualization is dissolved back again into Shunyata. This visualization process recapitulates the creation, the evolution, and the dissolution of the entire manifest universe. But in the context of Dzogchen practice, it is not necessary to first transform something into something else in order to find oneself in the condition of contemplation. Rather, one simply relaxes and just finds oneself in contemplation at the very beginning of practice and remains thereafter in it, by whatever means. This represents the principal practice of Dzogchen, in relation to which all Tantric transformation practices are considered secondary. On this question, also see David Jackson, Enlightenment by a Single Means: The Tibetan Controversies on the "Self-Sufficient White Remedy" (dkar po chig thub), Der Ostereichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna 1994.
(38) There has been much discussion among scholars about the location of Uddiyana (o-rgyan). Tucci located it in the Swat valley in Pakistan on the basis of two medieval Tibetan texts. See Giuseppe Tucci, Travels of Tibetan Pilgrimes in the Swat Valley, The Greater India Society, Calcutta 1940. However, there is much evidence to indicate that Uddiyana was a far larger region embracing much of Eastern Afghanistan. See C.S. Upasak, History of Buddhism in Afghanistan, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Varanasi 1990.
(39) On Gyer-spungs sNang-bzher Lod-po and his disciples, see Chapters Three and Four below.
(40) On the origin of the Mahayana in the Northwest of India, see Etienne Lamotte, History of Indian Buddhism, Louvain 1988. And on the origin of Dzogchen in the same region, see Samten G. Karmay, "A Discussion of the Doctrinal Position of the rDzogs-chen from the 10th to the 11th Centuries, in Journal Asiatique 1-2, Paris 1975, pp. 147-155; as well as his The Great Perfection: A Philosophical and Meditative Teaching of Tibetan Buddhism, Brill, Leiden 1988.
(41) On the Guyasamaja Tantra, see Alex Wayman, The Buddhist Tantras: Light on Indo-Tibetan Esotericism, Samual Weiser, New York 1973, and also his The Yoga of the Guhyasamajatantra, Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi 1977.
(42) On the origin of the Kalachakra Tantra and of Shambhala, see Edwin Bernbaum, The Way to Shambhala, Anchor/ Doubleday, New York 1980.
(43) Lopon Tenzin Namdak and other Bonpo Lamas I have spoken to have identified 'Ol-mo lung-ring with Shambhala. For a discussion of Shambhala in the Tibetan tradition in general, both Buddhist and Bonpo, see Bernbaum, The Way to Shambhala, op. cit.
(44) This has already been suggested by Snellgrove in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, ibid.
(45) See C. Beckwith, The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia, ibid.
(46) Oral communication from Lopon Tenzin Namdak. The Lopon spent two years in that region hiding from the Chinese Communists. On this region and its archeaological remains, see John Vincent Bellezza, Divine Dyads: Ancent Civilization in Tibet, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala 1997. Also see his article, John Vincent Bellezza, "High Country Culture: A Civilization Flourished in the Himalayas before Buddhism Reached Tibet," Discovering Archaeology v.1 n.3, May-June 1999, pp. 78-83.
(47) Snellgrove and Richardson, A Cultural History of Tibet, ibid. Lopon Tenzin Namdak asserts that this monk Bodhisattva was not the famous Indian Buddhist scholar Shantirakshita who later became the first abbot of Samye monastery. But see the translation of the Bon ma nub-pa'i gtan-tshigs in Chapter Six of Part Two.
(48) On the A-khrid system and rMe'u-ston dGongs-mdzod ri-khrod chen-po, see Per Kvaerne, "Bonpo Studies: The A-khrid System of Meditation," Part One: "The Transmission of the A-khrid System," in Kailash v. I, n. 1, pp. 19-50, Kathmandu 1973.
(49) A-za bLo-gros rgyal-mtshan, 1198-1263.
(50) Bru-chen rGyal-ba g.yung-drung, 1242-1209, composed the practice manual entitled the A-khrid thun mtshams bco-lnga-pa, "the Fifteen Sessions of Practice for A-khrid." For the translation of most of this text, see Per Kvaerne and Thubten Rikey, The Stages of A-khrid Meditation: Dzogchen Practice of the Bon Tradition, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala 1996. And on the A-khrid system generally, see Per Kvaerne, "Bonpo Studies: The A-khrid System of Meditation," Part One: "The Transmission of the A-khrid System," in Kailash v. I, n. 1, pp. 19-50, Part Two: "The Essential Teachings of the A-khrid System, in Kailash v. I, n. 4, pp. 248-332, Kathmandu 1973. For a translation of the hagiography of this master, see Chapter Eight below.
(51) Shar-rdza bKra-shis rgyal-mtshan, 1859-1934. Shardza Rinpoche was a realized practitioner of Dzogchen who, at the end of his life, manifested the Rainbow Body. On the dark retreat according to Shardza Rinpoche, see the monograph, John Myrdhin Reynolds, The Instructions of Shardza Rinpoche for the Practice of Vision and the Dark Retreat, Bonpo Translation Project (privately printed), New York 1992.
(52) On the rDzogs-chen sems-sde, see Reynolds, The Golden Letters, ibid. and also Namkhai Norbu, The Crystal and the Way of Light: Sutra, Tantra, and Dzogchen, Arkana Penguin Books, London 1993.
(53) sNya-chen Li-shu stag-rings was said to a contemporary of the Tibetan king Khri-srong lde'u-btsan and was actively involved in the concealing of Terma texts. See Karmay, Treasury, ibid. On Li-shu stag-rings, see also Chapter Four below. The text of the rDzogs-chen yang-rtse'i klong-chen was reprinted in India in 1973.