"..all of their teachings and doctrines are the true original BON, particularly promulgated directly in Tibet by gShen-rab , their founder, but mainly received the rough translations from the language of Zhang-Zhung of ancient western Tibet. ....The ultimate souce of their teachings is sTag-gzigs , a country situated rather vaguely still further to the west."... from "The Nine Ways of Bon: Excerpts from Gzi-brjid". Edited and Translated by D.L. Snellgrove, pp.1-23 London Oriental Series
Click on the map to enlarge.
Chögyam Trungpa incorporated elements from numerous traditions into the Shambhala Path that he thought would be beneficial to practitioners:
Similar elements in the Bön tradition are worth exploring: the Shenlha Okar practices and abishekas, the Nine Lha who created existence, the Werma, Dralha of Mt Kailas, ShangShung, Shenrab Miwo, and Sang Rituals.
SHENRAB...."his origins are said to be in Iran-Elam and his name is given as Mithra. The Tibetan word Tsug-Pu (gtsug.phud) meaning 'crown of the head' approximates the actual word Mithra." Campbell, June...."Traveller in Space".....New York:1996...pg 37
But Bon practices are not limited to ceremonies and ritUals only. There are higher-level teachings of a very esoteric natUre, in both Tantra (Sang Ngag) and the Great Perfection (Dzogchen). Sang Ngag includes visualization and generation (kyerim) and perfection (zogrim) stages and the practices of channels (tsa), wind (lung), and physical exercise (trulkhor) as gradual practices on the wheels or chakras (khorlo), energy points in the body. The most secret Bon practice is Dzogchen, the great perfection. All of these traditions are still preserved and practiced today.
"Chogyam Trungpa sketched in the outlines of what a Shambhala culture means. “Shambhala is our way of life. The Shambhala principle is our way of life. Shambhala is the Central Asian kingdom that-developed in the countries of the Middle East, Russia, China, and Tibet altogether. The basic idea of Shambhala vision is that a sane society developed out of that culture, and we are trying to emulate that vision. That particular system broke down into the Taoist tradition and Bon tradition of Tibet, the Islamic tradition of the Middle East, and whatever tradition Russia might have. It has broken into various factions."
The organized Bon religion traces itself from Shenrab (gShen-rab), a teacher from the fabled land of Olmo-lungring (‘Ol-mo lung-ring) on the eastern edge of Tagzig (sTag-gzig), who brought it to Zhang-zhung (Zhang-zhung) in the remote, distant past. Zhang-zhung was an ancient kingdom with its capital in western Tibet near the sacred Mount Kailash. Some modern Russian scholars, basing themselves on linguistic analysis, identify Olmo-lungring with Elam in ancient western Iran and Tagzig with Tajik, referring to Bactria.
BASIC GOODNESS....Küntu Zangpo is one of the peacful Bon deities, his name means "The All-Good" and he is seen as the supreme deity of all knowledge and has strong links to Shenla Okar in the sense that both are hierophanies of the bönku or "The body of Bon", the ultiamte Truth. This priest-god is naked and without (or rather beyond) attributes. A portal to understanding of his role in the pantheon is to be found in the Nyingmapa and Kagyüpa-traditions of Tibetan buddhism especially in the body of Samantabhadra, an important emanation of Küntu Zangpo is Künzang Akor wich means "The All-Good cycle of A", "A" being the last letter in the Zhanchung-alphabet .......
"Bon, unlike the religious outgrowths of the Aryan culture, especially Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism in their quasi-popular forms, gives little heed to the pursuit of salvation through austerities. Bon philosophy speaks of Yeshen as being reflected in the interplay between heaven and earth."...(Chogyam Trungpa: The Heart of the Buddha"...1991..pg 222)....
"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."....http://vajranatha.com/articles/traditions/dzogchen.html?start=5
MUKPO CLAN...The six clans (dong) of Tibet: Mukpo, Gade, Drupa, Denma, Shenpa, Tagrong, Dege(?)..."I have kept the name Mukpo as my family name, my identity, my pride." (Trungpa:1984..pg 94)..."gdong: face, a synonym of cha-chen; clan, beak, countenance"...For a description of the different lineages see: (Karmay: 1972)...."rMu bza (Mu wife) was the grandmother of Gesar." "sMug'po gdong or Idong, one of the four original tribes of Tibet from which the people of gLing were descended. Ancient saying: 'The descendants of the Mugpo Dong race think only of conquering other peoples." (Norbu: 1995..pg 5-8)..."The personal 'shen' of the Shangshung King Thothori was of the Mu clan." (Stein: 1972..pg 230)...."Shenrab Miwo's clan is considered to be descended from the bMu deities, an ancient class of celestial deities. dMu is also the name of one of the four original tribes of Tibet." (Tharthang: 1986..pg 114)..."According to legend, a messenger of Phyva goes to the heaven of dMu, asking for a dMu king to rule over the black headed men." (Bansal: 1994..pg 86)..."then the dMu people, belonging to gShen rabs forefather dMu-rgyal"..(Francke: 1950: 169)....."one of the six semi-legendary royal races of Olmolungring: dMu, dPo, Shag, rGya, gNyan, Hos"..(Norbu: 1995..pg 271)...
"Just to the west of Zhang-zhung there once existed the vast Kushana empire ....... an area in which Indian Buddhism and the Bon teachings interacted with various strands of the great Iranian and Central Asian religions-- Zoroastrian, Zurvanist, Mithraist, Manichean, as well as Indian Shaivism and Nestorian Christianity.......
"The oral tradition of the Gesar epic is most prominent in the two remote areas associated with the ancient Bönpo (Ladakh and Zanskar in the far west of Tibet, and Kham and Amdo regions of eastern Tibet), strongly suggesting that the story has Bön roots.
MT YUNGDRUNG GUTSEG..."old Bonpo texts describe how the 'nine story swastika mountain' had to be moved from the north to the present location at Kailas." (Allen: 1982..pg 30)..See: Flying Mountains..."To the west of Tibet in a larger country called Tazig is Mount Yungdrung Gutseg. At its bas springs 4 rivers flowing in the four directions. The mountain is surrounded by temples, cities and parks."...
the country of Olmo Lungring where Tonpa Shenrab descended from the celestial spheres and took up incarnation among human beings as an Iranian prince. The mysterious land of Olmo Lungring (`ol-mo lung-rings) or Olmoling (`ol-mo`i gling) is said to be part of a larger geographical region to the northwest of Tibet called Tazig (stag-gzig, var. rtag-gzigs), which scholars identify with Iran or, more properly, Central Asia where in ancient times Iranian languages such as Avestan and later Sogdian were spoken. According to the “gZer-mig” the traditional etymology of the name Olmo Lungring is as follows: “`ol” means “unborn”, “mo” “undermined”, “lung” “the prophetic words of Shenrab”, and “rings” “everlasting compassion”. According to the “gZi-brjid”, Olmo Lungring was also known as Shambhala in Sanskrit and it continues to be known by this name among Tibetan Buddhists even today. Moreover, it is said that in ancient times it encompassed fully one-third of the known world a statement which could apply to the historical Persian empire.
In the Bon myth, Olmolungring was northwest of My Kailas, twice as far from it as the peak is from Shigatse, a major town in central Tibet. (Newman, 1985)
SIMILAR MYTHS:...Questions concerning the relationship with mythical sacred kingdoms in Central Asia such as 'Olmo lung ring, Tazik (Persia), Belovodia (Altai Mountains of Russian Central Asia), Hurqalya (Gurdjieff's work with the Wheel of Time and its use as a passageway to the Sufi sacred land of Hurqalya).
"There is a paradisal land known by various names. The Indians call it Shambhala, the people of Oddiyana call it Sukhavati. The Kasmiris call it Indestructible Vajra Continent. In the Gesar tradition it is Land of the Turquoise-Winged Cuckoos. Tibetans call it Ol mo lung ring. The Chinese call it Treasure Continent." (Brauen: 1997..pg 50)
KALACHAKRA...(dus kyi khor lo)..."Shen Rab explained the mighty Kalachakra Tantra in the Palace called dBan chen sa bdag." (Kvaerne: 1971, pg 221)....The Kalachakra is one of the last Sanskrit works to have been written in a Central Asian land." (Geoffrey Hopkins: 1985..pg 60)
PAMIRS or Hindu Kush: Numerous city-states and fortresses with names beginning with 'Kala' ('Quallah'), all traces of which seem to have 'completely disappeared'...A extremely rich mixture of Shambhalians of all spiritual and cultural traditions....The entire region was considered a "Pagan Enclave" by the Arab mapmakers. Tremendous silk route influences. Crossroads between the Indian Tantric traditions moving northward and the Vedic Mithraic traditions of Persia. Tazik. Bon moved into Tibet via this region. Swat Valley of Padmasambhava. Early teachings of Dzogchen in the Bon and Nyingma traditions appeared here in the 8th century AD.
SILVER PALACE OF THE GARUDA VALLEY....Capital of Shang Shung...."Khyunglung Nulkhar, the Silver Palace of the Garuda Valley, the ruins are to be found in the Sutlej Valley southwest of Mount Kailash." (80E 31N)...(Wangyal: 1993..pg 31)....Khyunglung Nulkar..(Khyung lung dngul mkhar)..."the Silver Palace of Khyung-lung (80E 31N) in the upper Sutlej Valley of Zhang-Zhung(Hoffman: 1979..pg 103)
'OL MO LUNG RING: river Gyim-shan-nag-po; the province of Hos Mo; Yung drun dgu brtsegs mountain.(Francke: 1950..pg 164)..." Ol: because there is no rebirth, it is called 'Ol...mo: because no concupiscence finds a place it is called Mo...lun: because in lun (valley) prophecies (lun) are uttered...Rin: because compassion extends far, it is called rin (long)" (Francke: 1950..pg 183)..."Ol: unborn..mo: undiminishing..lung:prophetic words..ring: everlasting compassion" (Wangyal: 1993..pg 30)..." a King of the region of Olmo Lungring called Gyalag Odmai Ling." (Norbu: 1995)..."Traditional maps of Olmo lung ring show resemblance to the Persian empire of Cyrus the Great. Names of places and palaces are transcriptions of words of Persian origin. Hetenyi and Kuznetsov of the Soviet Union have done research in this area."..(Karmay: 1975..pg 175)...
BAR-PO-SO-BRGYAD.....(PASARGADAE?)..(54E-30N) (Photo of ruins in Frye:1963)...was one of the capitals of the Persian Empire: Pasargadae (Greek) or Parsogard (Persian). In 550 BC this city became the capital of the 1st two Persian emperors." (Kuznetsov: 1970..pg 565)...."Contained the tomb of the great Persian King Cyrus. The tomb was on a Swastika Hill (representing the sun). Nine stories tall. Crystal columns. Four sacred gardens: Lotus, Wheel, Yungdrung, and Precious." (Kuznetsov: 1970..pg 570)..."born in a palace south of Mount Yungdrung Gutseg in 1857 B.C." (Wangyal: 1993..pg 29)..."Shen rab was born in Sam bha la (sTag gzigs) in the west in the town called Yans pa can, in the dwelling place of the 33 Gods, the palace called Barpo so brgyad". (Kvaerne: 1971..pg 220)..."Pasargadae is a holy place for the followers of the ancient traditions of Iran." (Kuznetsov: 1970..pg 568)..."Into Phar-po-so-brgyad, the castle of happiness and blessing. Phar: other side...pho: change...so: watches over...brgyad: overcomes faults..." (Francke: 1950..pg 166 & 183))..."Shenrab Miwo was born in the Barpo Sogye Palace to the south of Mount Yungdrung." (Wangyal)..."To the south of Mount gYung drung dgu brtsegs is the palace Bar-po so-brgyad, the birthplace of Shenrab." (Karmay: 1975..pg 173)...
gYUNG-DRUNG BKOD-GLING...."Country in which the swastika is regulated. The Iranian swastika represented the sun and in contrast to the Indian swastika, extends its arms counter-clockwise. This is evidently the region of Mithras, the Persian God of Light, whose cult later penetrated into Tibet as the Bon religion." (Kuznetsov: 1970..pg 571)
YANS PA CA...."Shen Rab Miwo was born in Sam bha la (sTag gzigs) in the west, in the town called Yans pa can in the palace Bar po so brgyad."...(Kvaerne: 1971...pg 220)....
dBAN-CHEN-SA-bDAG...."Shenrab taught the Kalachakra tantra in the palace dBan chen sa bdag." (Kvaerne: 1971..pg 221)...
KHONG-MA-NE'U-CHUNG..."Palace north of Mt Yung drung" (Karmay: 1975..pg 173)...
According to the Bonpo tradition, although Yungdrung Bon is eternal and without an ultimate beginning in time, it originated in the present kalpa or cycle of existence in the country of Olmo Lung-ring where Tonpa Shenrab descended from the celestial spheres and took up incarnation among human beings as an Iranian prince. The mysterious land of Olmo Lung-ring ('ol-mo lung-rings) or Olmoling ('ol-mo'i gling) is said to be part of a larger geographical region to the northwest of Tibet called Tazig (stag-gzig, var. rtag-gzigs), which scholars identify with Iran or, more properly, Central Asia where in ancient times Iranian languages such as Avestan and later Sogdian were spoken. According to the "gZer-mig" the traditional etymology of the name Olmo Lung-ring is as follows: '"ol" means "unborn", "mo" "undermined", "lung" "the prophetic words of Shenrab", and "rings" "everlasting compassion". According to the "gZi-brjid", Olmo Lung-ring was also known as Shambhala in Sanskrit and it continues to be known by this name among Tibetan Buddhists even today. Moreover, it is said that in ancient times it encompassed fully one-third of the known world a statement which could apply to the historical Persian empire. ....http://www.surajamrita.com/bon/Shambala.html
"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)."......http://vajranatha.com/articles/traditions/dzogchen.html?start=5
WAS SHENRAP MIWO A MUKPO?...."The work of Shenrap still exists in Tibet in the form of 400 volumes, but it has undergone heavy Buddhist editing." (Trungpa: 1978..pg 220)....The Tibetan texts "Ziji" (gZi brid) and "Zermig" (gZer mig)(Piercing Eye) Two biographies of Shenrab Miwo (Mibo)..... (Trungpa: 1978) :Shen = divine,heavenly,ally..... Rap = Supreme One.... Miwo = Great Man......The teacher who transmitted Bon into Tibet from Shang Shung (or Tazik) reportedly in 1800 BC. The Berlin manuscript of the Zermig has several unusual representations of Shenrap. (Kvaerne:1996)...The first seven chapters of the Zermig are translated by A.H. Francke and published in ASIA MAJOR (1924-27, 1930, 1939)...The Zi-brjid is an enormous work. 12 volumes numbered KA to DA with a final volume A......"born in a palace south of Mount Yungdrung Gutseg in 1857 B.C." (Wangyal: 1993..pg 29)..."Shen rab was born in Sam bha la (sTag gzigs) in the west in the town called Yans pa can, in the dwelling place of the 33 Gods, the palace called Barpo so brgyad". (Kvaerne: 1971..pg 220)..."sTon pa gShen rab mi bo and to his wife, Yum mTshan ldan blo sgron ma and to his mother: A ni Gung lhai rgyal mo." (Nebesky: 1952...pg 156)..."the first historical person sure of his magic, the archetype of the blue-robed warrior-king."..(Rao: 1978..pg 6+)..."the name gShen rab myi bo seems to appear at least six times in the Tun Huang manuscripts." (Norbu: 1995..pg 273)...The six clans (dong) of Tibet: Mukpo, Gade, Drupa, Denma, Shenpa, Tagrong, Dege(?)..."I have kept the name Mukpo as my family name, my identity, my pride." (Trungpa:1984..pg 94)..."gdong: face, a synonym of cha-chen; clan, beak, countenance"...For a description of the different lineages see: (Karmay: 1972)...."rMu bza (Mu wife) was the grandmother of Gesar." "sMug'po gdong or Idong, one of the four original tribes of Tibet from which the people of gLing were descended. Ancient saying: 'The descendants of the Mugpo Dong race think only of conquering other peoples." (Norbu: 1995..pg 5-8)..."The personal 'shen' of the Shangshung King Thothori was of the Mu clan." (Stein: 1972..pg 230)...."Shenrab Miwo's clan is considered to be descended from the bMu deities, an ancient class of celestial deities. dMu is also the name of one of the four original tribes of Tibet." (Tharthang: 1986..pg 114)..."According to legend, a messenger of Phyva goes to the heaven of dMu, asking for a dMu king to rule over the black headed men." (Bansal: 1994..pg 86)..."then the dMu people, belonging to gShen rabs forefather dMu-rgyal"..(Francke: 1950: 169)....."one of the six semi-legendary royal races of Olmolungring: dMu, dPo, Shag, rGya, gNyan, Hos"..(Norbu: 1995..pg 271)..."Shenrabs origins are said to be in Iran-Elam and his name is given as Mithra. The Tibetan word Tsug-Pu (gtsug.phud) meaning 'crown of the head' approximates the actual word Mithra." Campbell, June...."Traveller in Space".....New York:1996...pg 37
"Four different theories of how and when Bön could have been influenced by the Indo-Iranian culture and religion.
Bön (Yungdrung Bön) is a stream of Central Asian Buddhism adopted from India by the Iranian speaking regions in the West (such as Kushana Empire and so on) from where it reached the Tibetan Plateau prior to the introduction of Indian Buddhism per se from the South in the 8th century AD. This Central Asian Buddhism, traceable to Buddha Shakyamuni, mixed with the native culture and religion of the Tibetan Plateau producing what is now known as Yungdrung Bön. (Snellgrove, Tucci)
Bön is a branch of Zoroastrianism or Mithraism and Tonpa Shenrab Miwo was a priest at the court of the Persian king Cyrus the Great of the Achaemenid dynasty. (Gumilev, Kuznetsov)
Yungdrung Bön is a plagiarized form of Indian Buddhism which emerged after the 8th century AD and any Indo-Iranian - and especially Indian - influence was acquired in this process. (This is the view of many Tibetan Buddhist scholars and some Western scholars who still follow this outdated and flimsy theory.)
Yungdrung Bön is the original, authentic Central Asian Buddhism taught by the Buddha Tonpa Shenrab Miwo who was born in 16,017 BC (according to tradition) in the Central Asian region of Tagzig (modern-day Tajikistan and surrounding Central Asian states). Tonpa Shenrab Miwo brought Yungdrung Bön teachings to the Zhang Zhung Confederation (tribal union of 18 tribes) and Tibet (at that time only U and Tsang provinces) himself, and that is the source of most Indo-Iranian linguistic and cultural traces found in Tibetan Bön. (This is the traditional Bönpo view)...http://www.boandbon.com/bon&indo-iranians.html
As Chögyam Trungpa says in Great Eastern Sun, The Wisdom of Shambhala, p 133: "Shambhala vision applies to people of any faith, not just people who believe in Buddhism… the Shambhala vision does not distinguish a Buddhist from a Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, a Moslem, a Hindu. That’s why we call it the Shambhala kingdom. A kingdom should have lots of spiritual disciplines in it. That’s why we are here."
According to Bon history there were six great translators who were responsible for translating and spreading the doctrines of Bon in the surrounding countries. The disciples of Mu cho ldem drug of sTag gzig translated the teachings into the language of Zhang zhung...These translators are dMu tsha Tra he of sTag gZig, Khri thog sPa tsha of Zhang zhung, Hu lu sPa legs of Sum pa, lHa bdag sNgags dro of India, Legs tang rMang po of China, and gSer thog lCe ’byams of Phrom (Karmay 1972:16)......
dMu tsha tra he was an important scholar from sTag gzig. He studied under the guidance of gYung drung gTsug shen rgyal ba, Drang srong rgyal ba, rMa lo, g.Yu lo and Mu cho Idem drug, the sucessor of sTon pa gshen rab. Among his numerous disciples were rDzu 'phrul ye shes who brought the teachings of monastic discipline to Zhang zhung and Tibet. (BonPo Hidden Treasures...by jean-Luc Achard
SACRED GEOGRAPHY...Concerning the relationship between sacred geography and physical geography..."the contours of this sacral geography show remarkable similarities with the mythical 'Ol mo lung ring', surrounded by a wall of mountains." (Blondeau: 1996..pg 103)..
The Bonpo account of the hidden land of Olmo Lungring is found in the “gZer-mig” and the “gZi-brjid”. There it is explained that Olmoling is physically part of our world and is not an imaginary holy land nor a celestial pure realm like the Sukhavati or Dewachan (bde-ba-can) of the Buddha Amitabha. Symbolically Olmo Lungring is the geographical, psychic, and spiritual center of our world of Jambudvipa (`dzam-bu`i gling) and at its center rises the holy mountain of nine levels, known as Yungdrung Gutseg (g.yung-drung dgu-brtsegs), which links heaven and earth. It is a kind of axis mundi connecting three planes of existence- the heaven worlds, the earth, and the nether regions. Therefore, Olmo Lungring possesses a different ontological status than ordinary geographical regions and countries. In terms of our own age, it is a hidden land or “beyul” (sbas-yul), inaccessible to all but realized beings or Siddhas. This land is said to be inhabited by Vidyadharas (rig-`dzin) or holders of esoteric knowledge. It exists on earth, but it is not an ordinary country or nation which could be observed from an orbiting satellite or sighted from a high flying airplane, for it possesses a special reality all its own. It is in this world, but not quite of it. It is part of our physical geographical world because it is located in Tazig, yet it partly exists in another spiritual dimension, and although material, it is in a certain sense imperishable and indestructible. When, at the end of the kalpa, the world will be destroyed and consumed by fire, Olmo Lungring will spontaneously rise up and ascend into the sky and there it will merge with its celestial archetype in the heavens which is called Sidpa Yesang (srid-pa ye-sangs). Olmo Lungring is truly the imperishable sacred land. Olmo Lungring or Shambhala, this imperishable sacred land, which is the spiritual center of the world, existed on earth from the very beginning of the human race.
"Both tertons and Vedic or Bonpo rishis cognize wisdom by overthrowing dualistic limitations within consciousness and the wisdom that emerges emerges from a mandala, which emerges from a seed-syllable.".....http://firstname.lastname@example.org/msg232965.html
John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….November 2012