Thursday, March 24, 2016

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772 AD) Tantra, Kabbalism & Shambhala


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Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772 AD) .......a Swedish scientist, philosopher, theologian, revelator, and mystic..........Renowned most of his life for his contributions to the natural sciences, Swedenborg had a spiritual awakening in his 50s and published what is now his most famous work — a description of the afterlife called "Heaven and Hell."...(1758 AD)...Highly regarded after his death by philosophers and mystics, Swedenborg claimed he could visit heaven and hell at will and that his ideas about spirituality, God, and Christ came to him in dreams and visions.....

"Swedenborg was fascinated with the 'Shambhala' myth, and under cover of employment for the Swedish East India Company and his appointment to the Swedish Court as Master Ironmaster and Miner...... his interest in India and Central Asia, and the sexual rites that went with his New Jerusalem Society, later to be frequented by William Blake....Swedenborg became intrigued by the similarity of Yogic Tantra techniques of mediatation and sexual magic to Kabbalistic techniques....Swedenborg argued that the Yogis of Central Asia discovered the secrets of Kabbalism long before the Jews....Gershom Scholem also noticed that, already in the thirteenth century, in the Kabbalah of Abraham Abulafia, (1240- 1291 AD) the techniques used 'to aid the ascent of the soul, such as breathing exercises, the repition of divine names, and meditations on colours, bear a marked resemblance to those of Indian Yoga and Muslim Sufism."....Page 137.....Black Terror White Soldiers: Islam, Fascism & the New Age.....By David Livingstone

"The Swedish East India Company (Swedish: Svenska Ostindiska Companiet or SOIC) was founded in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1731 for the purpose of conducting trade with the Far East.....In 1736 Swedenborg wrote to King Frederick, requesting a 3-4 year leave of absence to travel to the Continent.... he presented a different rationale than his actual complex agenda.....his mission included political-military intelligence work, Moravian-Masonic contacts, and Kabbalistic-Hermetic research.....while in Hamburg, Swedenborg pursued his investigations in Jewish mysticism....he later recorded that he achieved a signigicant psychic breakthrough in August 1736, while in Amsterdam.....perhaps he learned somthing of Kabbalistic brathing and meditaion techniques from the Jews in Hanover or from Moravians living in the Jewish community in Amsterdam. Swedenborg noted that he began to experiment with breath control.....In August 1736 he moved on to Paris where he lived for 19 months....his journal was interspersed with dream sequences and he was involved with Masonic and Freemasonry in 1738 he left Paris and was on his way to Lyon, he visited the Library of the Jesuits, where Chevalier Ramsay had earlier studied the mystical manuscripts brought from China by Jesuit missionaries....Ramsay was assimilating Chinese notions of the 'Heaven Man' into Kabbalistic notions of 'Adam Kadmon, the Grand Man....themes that he wove into Masonic philosophy.....he arrived in Turin in March 1738....of further interest to Swedenborg would be Rehbinder' alchemical studies and contacts.....he contacted some Jesuits who dabbled in alchemy....Swedenborg learend of the Jesuit Athanasius Kircher's Kabbalistic interpretation of the Tabula Isiaca, which drew heavily on the Sepher Yetzirah and Zohar..........Emanuel Swedenborg, Secret Agent on Earth and in Heaven: Jacobites, Jews and ...edited by Marsha Keith Schuchard......

"D. T. Suzuki, the Japanese scholar who would later become world-famous for his many books on Zen, was introduced to Swedenborg sometime during his years working with Paul Carus in Illinois (1897-1908). ......A correspondence with Swedenborgians in the Philadelphia area led to an invitation to translate Heaven and Hell into Japanese, which was accomplished during a Christmas-time visit to London. Upon returning to his homeland Suzuki introduced Swedenborg to Japan by publishing that translation in 1910, followed by Divine Love and Wisdom and The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine (both 1914), and Divine Providence (1915). In addition, he published his own study in Japanese entitled, simply, Swedenborg (1915). Much of this was compiled from English sources but the introductory first chapter was original and notes that: 'The theological doctrines presented by Swedenborg have some similarity to those of Buddhism... True salvation rests upon a harmonious unity of what one believes with what one does. Wisdom and Love are the manifestation of the Divine, and Love has more depth and breadth than Wisdom. The Divine Providence reaches into the minutest things in the universe. There must not be any occurrences that happen by accident.....In 1927 Suzuki published a nine-page article suggesting that Swedenborg's doctrine of correspondences may be compared with the Shingon doctrine that phenomena are aspects of Mahavairocana Buddha's ceaseless teaching."......The Dharma of Emanuel Swedenborg: A Buddhist Perspective.....By David Loy

"The notion of an “Oriental Kabbalah” began with Swedenborg... and was especially promoted by the Chevalier Michael Ramsay of the Hindu Tantra as an expression of an 'Asian Kabbalah'......Page 77.....By David Livingstone......Transhumanism: The History of a Dangerous Idea

"While associating with Moravian and Jewish mystics in London, the 56 year old Swedenborg learned how to perform the mystical Kabbalistic marriage within his mind, through the sublimatin of his sexual energy into visionary energy. By meditating on the male and female potencies concealed in the vessels of Hebrew letters, by visualizing these letters in the forms of human bodies, by regulating the inhalation and exhalation of breath, and by achieving an erection without ejaculation...the Kabbalist could achieve a state that elevated him to higher realms.....Marsha Schuchard has found that grail of researchers - original documents that confirm suspicions about her subject. In this case they are surviving records of the unworldly Moravian Chapel in Fetter Lane showing how William Blake's family were worshippers at this shrine of eroticism...She gives a close reading of the more rewarding poems such as "The Crystal Cabinet" and "Long John Brown and Little Mary Bell". These, she says, suggest sex practices aimed at visionary breakthrough, while Swedenborg's belief that "the great toe communicates with the genitals" is demonstrated by Blake's self-portrait "William", showing his body flung back while a flaming star descends toward his left foot. Weird stuff, indeed.."........Marsha Keith Schuchard: Why Mrs Blake Cried...Swedenborg, Blake and the Sexual Basis of Spiritual Vision.....

"The secret and mystical sexual practices at the heart of William Blake’s creative and spiritual life ......Reveals newly discovered family documents connecting Blake’s mother and Blake himself to Moravian and Swedenborgian erotic and visionary experimentation ......Shows Blake had access to kabbalistic and tantric techniques of psychoerotic meditation, which used sexual arousal to achieve spiritual vision..... Marsha Keith Schuchard shows that Blake and his wife, Catherine, were influenced by secret kabbalistic and tantric rituals designed to transcend the bonds of social convention. Her exhaustive research provides a new context for understanding the mystical practices at the heart of Blake’s most radical beliefs about sexualized spirituality and its relation to visionary art." ...William Blake's Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision by Marsha Keith Schuchard (2008)

"Andrew Michael Ramsay (1686 – 1743 AD), commonly called the Chevalier Ramsay, was a Scottish-born writer who lived most of his adult life in France. He was a Baronet in the Jacobite Peerage.....Ramsay's works include:.......Les voyages de Cyrus (London, 1728; Paris, 1727): Engl. 'The travels of Cyrus to which is annexe'd a discourse upon the theology & mythology of the pagans' – a book composed in avowed imitation of Fenelon's ''Les avantures de Télémaque''........

"William Blake’s desire for concubines, following the example of Biblical Patriarch Abraham, which reportedly made his wife cry, prompting Blake to give up the plan. .....Sanctified sexuality, however, never left his imagination and it went far beyond Biblical concubines and included the Jewish esoteric beliefs of the Kabbalah, ‘celestial marriage’ practised by the Moravians and Swedenborgians, as well as Indian Yogic and Tantric traditions of sacred sex. And it all began at home, when his parents became members of the Moravian Congregation of the Lamb in Fetter Lane, London...The Moravians, who originated in Czechoslovakia and migrated to Saxony, were a sectarian fellowship under eccentric German nobleman Nicolaus von Zinzendorf. ."

"The Moravian Church is one of the oldest Protestant denominations in the world, with its heritage dating back to the Bohemian Reformation in the fifteenth century.......their heritage began in 1457 in Bohemia (and its crown lands, Moravia and Silesia), then an autonomous kingdom within the Holy Roman Empire. This region today is part of the Czech Republic.....The first printed edition of the Gesar epic was published in Beijing in 1716 in a Mongolian version. It was this text which formed the basis for the first Western-language translation, a Russian version published by the Moravian missionary Isaac Jacob Schmidt in 1836. A German translation followed in 1839. Another Moravian missionary, August Hermann Francke, collected and translated a version from Lower Ladakh between 1905 and 1909.....At first the Moravians had no intention at all to evangelize Tibet......... and the Lower Ladakhi version of the Gesar saga that was edited by her husband....A Russian translation of the Mongolian Geser texts, which had been printed in Beijing from 1716 onwards, was published by the Moravian missionary Isaak Jakob Schmidt in 1836; a German translation followed in 1839."

"Abraham Abulafia (1240- 1291 AD) his later writings, the founder of prophetic Kabbalah produces a synthesis between Maimonides’ Neoaristotelian understanding of prophecy as the result of the transformation of the intellectual influx into a linguistic message and techniques to reach such experiences by means of combinations of letters and their pronunciation, breathing exercises, contemplation of parts of the body, movements of the head and hands, and concentration exercises.".....


March 2016


Monday, March 21, 2016

Tzimtzum: Primordial Space & Time in the Kabbalah


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"The tzimtzum or tsimtsum (Hebrew צמצום ṣimṣūm "contraction/constriction/condensation") is a term used in the Lurianic Kabbalah to explain Isaac Luria's (1534-1572 AD) doctrine that G-d began the process of creation by "contracting" his Ein Sof (infinite) light in order to allow for a "conceptual space" (Primordial Space) in which finite and seemingly independent realms could exist. This primordial initial contraction, forming a Chalal/Khalal/Khalal Hapanui ("vacant space", חלל הפנוי) into which new creative light could beam, is denoted by general reference to the tzimtzum.".......

"Tzimtzum.....a refraction and concealmentof the radiating emanation.....two meanings:
1. Contraction, condensation
2. Concealment, occulation"
.....Schochet (page 49)

"These tzimtzum are all in the nature of a 'veiling of the countenance' to obscure and conceal the light and life-force so that it shall not manifest itself in a greater radiance than the lower worlds are capable of receiving.".....Schochet (page 57)

"En Sof.....The luminary, Radiator.....Infinite, without limits, beyond all concealments....a radical leap or jump (dilug and kefizah)....a radical act of creation....after that has occurred begins an evolutionary process culminating in finite and material entities."
Or En Sof.....The light, Radiation....the light of the En Sof....this manifestation is equally omnipresent and infinite."........Schochet (page 51)

"Ohr ("Light" Hebrew: אור‎; plural: Ohros/Ohrot "Lights" Hebrew: אורות‎) is a central Kabbalistic term"

"The term En Sof indicates no grasping nor any thought, prior to all that are emanated, created, formed and time of start, no beginning, no end, continually present, absolute perfection."

"Ein Sof, or Ayn Sof (/eɪn sɒf/, Hebrew: אין סוף), in Kabbalah.....may be translated as "no end", "unending", "there is no end", or infinity. It was first used by Azriel ben Menahem, (c. 1160 – c. 1238 AD) who, sharing the Neoplatonic belief that God can have no desire, thought, word, or action, emphasized by it the negation of any attribute. Of the Ein Sof, nothing ("Ein") can be grasped ("Sof"-limitation). It is the origin of the Ohr Ein Sof, the "Infinite Light" of paradoxical divine self-knowledge, nullified within the Ein Sof prior to creation. In Lurianic Kabbalah, the first act of creation, the Tzimtzum self "withdrawal" of God to create an "empty space", takes place from there. In Hasidism, the Tzimtzum is only the illusionary concealment of the Ohr Ein Sof, giving rise to monistic panentheism.".....

"Olam Ha ba....'olam ha-ba, (עולם הבא) "world to come"....the spiritual world to come, the supernal Garden of Eden."

"Primordial Space....brought about by a contraction and concentration of Divinity into itself....this first act of creation was to bring about space in which the divine emanations and the evolving finite world could have a place to was screened, dimmed, hidden and concealed...where this concealment and occulation of the light occurred, an 'empty' place, a 'void' evolved into primordial space....this is the act of the first tzimtzum, an act of 'Divine Self Limitation' rather than 'Divine Revelation'.....

"In the second phase of the creative process, an overt ray or radiation of the divine light beams into the primeval space of the chalal (a void)......this thin ray or line (kav....the thin line of energy that emerges after the tzimtzum) irradiates the chalal and is the source of the subsequent is both the creative and the vivifying force of creation.....the 'kav' itself undergoes a series of contractions and concealments making possible successively lower stages of creation.....the lowest stage is the finite, pluralistic and material world.....lower beings in this world are in a state of finitude and limitation."........Schochet (page 56)

"Tzimtzum, the process of a progressing dimming, occulation and condensation of the light of the En Sof, brought about umerous levels, one lower than the other.....The are referred to as the Five Realms or Worlds....the 'higher' worlds receive a radiance infinitely greater than the 'lower' ones.".....Schochet (page 105)

"Change depends on time..... it is a relative, temporal-spatial concept....time and space are themselves creations....from our temporal-spatial perspective there is 'before' and 'after' but not from the supra-temporal/spatial perspective."

"Because the tzimtzum results in the "empty space" in which spiritual and physical Worlds and ultimately, free will can exist, G-d is often referred to as "Ha-Makom" (המקום lit. "the Place", "the Omnipresent") in Rabbinic literature ("He is the Place of the World, but the World is not His Place"). In Kabbalistic interpretation, this describes the paradox of simultaneous Divine presence and absence within the vacuum and resultant Creation. Relatedly, Olam — the Hebrew for "World/Realm" — is derived from the root עלם meaning "concealment". This etymology is complementary with the concept of Tzimtzum in that the subsequent spiritual realms and the ultimate physical universe conceal to different degrees the infinite spiritual lifeforce of creation. Their progressive diminutions of the Divine Ohr (Light) from realm to realm in creation are also referred to in the plural as secondary tzimtzumim (innumerable "condensations/veilings/constrictions" of the lifeforce). However, these subsequent concealments are found in earlier, Medieval Kabbalah. The new doctrine of Luria advanced the notion of the primordial withdrawal (a dilug - radical "leap") in order to reconcile a causal creative chain from the Infinite with finite Existence."....

"The symbol of Tikkun ha-Olam embodies the most distinctively Jewish, as well as the the single most important ethical injunction of the Kabbalah: the command that humanity must restore and redeem a broken and fallen world (see Shevirat ha-Kelim) articulated by Isaac Luria in 16th century Safed.....the Unification of G-d and His Shekhina: An erotic union between the masculine and feminine aspects of G-d is an important Kabbalistic symbol which predates and was incorporated into the Lurianic symbol of Tikkun. The Zohar holds that G-d's feminine aspect is exiled on earth as the "Shekhinah" and that she must be reunited with "The Holy One Blessed Be He." The unity between the masculine and feminine aspects of the godhead was broken by the sins of mankind, and the exile of the Jewish people, and is maintained by the "Other Side". Through the observance of the mitzvot and divine worship, humankind is able to reestablish the union between God and His Shekhina,".....

Mystical Concepts in Immanuel Schochet.....Brooklyn,New York......Jacob Immanuel Schochet is a rabbi of Kielcer Congregation and a well-known authority on Jewish Philosophy and Mysticism.

"The teachings of the Kabbalah originally were restricted to 'Yechidei Segulah'....a chosen few whose saintliness matched their scholarship...R. Isaac Luria (1534-1572 AD) declared that as of then it was not only permissible but a duty to reveal Pnimiyut haTorah, the esoteric part of Torah."......Schochet (page 17)

Transhumanism: The History of a Dangerous Idea......Page 77.....By David Livingstone


March 2016


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Yungdrung Tharpaling...Lamayuru Monastery & Mahasiddha Naropa (11th c. AD)


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"Lamayuru or Yuru Monastery (Tibetan: བླ་མ་གཡུང་དྲུང་དགོན་པ་, Wylie: bla ma gyung drung dgon pa "Eternal Monastery", Lama Yungdrung Gonpa......Urdu: لمیرو گومپا‎) is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Lamayouro, Leh district, India. It is situated on the Srinagar-Leh highway 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) east of the Fotu La ....A. H. Francke states that, "according to popular tradition," it was originally the foremost Bon monastery in Ladakh; its name means sauwastika and is a popular symbol in Bon for "eternity". .....Yungdrung is the name of the most popular school of Bon..... It is currently affiliated with the Drikung Kagyu school of Buddhism....Francke, A. H. (1977). A History of Ladakh. (Originally published as, A History of Western Tibet, (1907).

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"Lamayuru......Yungdrung Tharpaling (g.yung drung thar pa gling), known today as Lamayuru, is the most ancient monastery of Ladakh.... LamaYuru, a vast monastery complex on a steep outcrop of earth..... Legend has it that the region where Yungdrung Tharpaling is situated today, approximately 127 km to the west of Leh, the capital of Ladakh, at the time of Buddha Shakyamuni was under a big lake, which was home to many Nagas. Rising prominently from the eastern part of the lake was a little dry hill which was locally called Skambur. It is said that the Arahat Madhyantika, when he visited the lake at Lamayuru and made water offerings to the Nagas, made a crack into the ground of the lake with his walking staff to leak out the water. He also pronounced the prophecy that in the future, the teachings of Sutra and Tantra unified will flourish in this place..".....

"Mahasiddha Naropa (c. 1016–1100) visited Lamayuru coming from Zanskar...... He spent a long time in strict retreat in a cave there and turned the place into a sacred land. The cave still exists, well preserved and forms part of the main shrine of Lamayuru Monastery.......When Naropa was a great yogi, that he visited Kashmir. He came to Sani in Zanskar and to Lama Yuru in Sani the stupa here was built 2,500 years ago they say. It is called Kaniska or Sani Kaniska.....Guru Rinpoche came some 1300 years ago and mediated here establishing the cremation grounds and many springs. Then 1000 years ago came Naropa who meditated in front of the Kaniska Stupa.".....

"Later in his life Naropa stayed in Phullahari, where he died aged 85 (c. 1040 AD)....One of the few reliable historical accounts of him comes from a Tibetan translator named Ngatso Lotsawa, who made an effort to visit Naropa at the monastery of Phullahari while waiting to visit with Atiśa at Vikramashila:......' I thought I would go see the Lord Naropa, since his reputation was so great.... On the day I arrived, they said some feudal prince had come to pay homage. So I went to the spot, and a great throne had been erected. I sat right in front of it. The whole crowd started buzzing, "The Lord is coming!" I looked and the Lord was physically quite corpulent, with his white hair [stained with henna] bright red, and a vermilion turban on. He was being carried [on a palanquin] by four men, and was chewing betel-leaf....So, there I saw the Lord's face, but did not actually hear his voice."......Davidson, Ronald M. Indian Esoteric Buddhism. pg 317. Columbia University Press, 2003.

"In 1038 the great translator Rinchen Zangpo (958–1055) built five temples at Lamayuru. These were among the 108 temples and stupas he erected in Spiti and Ladakh. One of the five temples at Lamayuru is still in perfect condition."......

"The Lamayuru monastery, which is around 125 kms away from Leh. During the Yuru Kabgyat Festival, the monks perform mask dances, prayers and rituals in order to get away from any kind of disaster and for bringing in peace in the world. This is a pre-historic monastery, which is called Yuru Gonpa by the locals. This festival is dedicated to Yuru Kabgyat and his mythical connection...The main objective behind this masked dance drama is to appease the deity.....The Yuru Kabgyat dance consists of Chams in which the Lamas dance in the form of circles with large colorful masks. This circular movement is often accompanied by drum beats, long pipes and cymbals. The masks are usually made from paper mache and there is also a thin coat of plaster enveloping it.....The main figures portrayed are the Yama or the Lord of Death and Padmasambhava..... At Lamayuru in Leh, this dance is a renowned dance drama which is held every year during the Yuru Kabgyat festival, (held around July –August.) This dance drama concludes with sacrificial offerings......

"Zanskar (“bzang-dkar”, meaning good (or beautiful) and white).......Zanskar, together with the neighbouring region of Ladakh, was briefly a part of the kingdom of Guge in Western Tibet......The majority of Zanskaris are of mixed Tibetan and Indo-European origins; notably Changpa, Dard and Mon.... It is suspected that an Indo-European population known as the Mon might then have lived in this region, before mixing with or being replaced by the next settlers, the Dards. Early Buddhism coming from Kashmir spread its influence in Zanskar, possibly as early as 200 BC. The earliest monuments date from the Kushan period. After this eastward propagation of Buddhism, Zanskar and large parts of the Western Himalaya were overrun in the 7th century by the Tibetans, who imposed their Bön religion.......Buddhism regained its influence over Zanskar in the 8th century when Tibet was also converted to this religion. Between the 10th and 11th centuries, two Royal Houses were founded in Zanskar, and the monasteries of Karsha and Phugtal (see picture) were built. Until the 15th century Zanskar existed as a more or less independent Buddhist Kingdom ruled by between two and four related royal families..".....Namgail, T. (2004). "Zangskar: mystic land". Sanctuary Asia 24: 44–47.

"Guge was an ancient kingdom in Western Tibet. The kingdom was centered in present-day Zanda County, Ngari Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region. At various points in history after the 10th century AD, the kingdom held sway over a vast area including south-eastern Zanskar, Upper Kinnaur district, and Spiti Valley, either by conquest or as tributaries. The ruins of the former capital of the Guge kingdom are located at Tsaparang in the Sutlej valley, not far from Mount Kailash and 1,200 miles (1,900 km) westwards from Lhasa.....Guge was founded in the 10th c. AD.....Nyi ma mgon, a great-grandson of Langdarma, the last monarch of the Tibetan Empire, established a kingdom in Ngari (West Tibet) in or after 912 ADand annexed Puhrang and Guge. He established his capital in Guge.....

'A Summer Ride Through Western Tibet......1906.......By Jane E. Duncan..... FranckeAntiquitiesPNG.....Antiquities of Indian Tibet: Personal narrative.....Page 80.....By August Hermann Francke


March 2016


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Yu Zurpuchen: The Crystal Youth of the gZermig Terma Text


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"Accounts of Tonpa Shenrab's life are to be found in the Zermik (Wylie: gzer mig....Clear Eye), and Ziji (Wylie: gzi brjid). The gZermig was a terma text discovered by tertön in the 10th century AD.........Tulku Loden Nyingpo (1360-1385) discovered the famed Zibji (gzi brjid), the longest version of Tonpa Shenrab’s biography in the 14th Century AD...... "....Karmey, Samten G. (1975). A General Introduction to the History and Doctrines of Bon, pp. 175-176. Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko, No. 33. Tokyo.

"The Bon Master Shenrap and the Redemption of Tobu Dode:......In the opening sceses of chapter 5 of the Zermik or 'Clear Eye'....a young boy named Yu Zurpuchen , who has crystal skin and sports a magical coat of mail, arrives in the Bonpo holy land of Olmo Lungring riding a turquoise dragon....the boy reveals himself to be an emanation of Sangpo Bumtri, a creator deity in the Bonpo pantheon of Gods:...At that time there came from the void sky....the little boy Yui Zurpuchen....of a complexion as clear as crystal, arrayed in a coat covered with magic writ, riding on the blue horse of the turquoise dragen....He came to Olmo Lungring, the Land of the Shen, where the savior Shenrap Miwo...before innumerable disciples preached the Bon tenets of the three Peutse....."I am Zurpuchen, the little boy of your heart....on my body whose tint is clear as crystal, I am clothed with a coat full of magic writ, I ride on the blue horse of the swift thunder dragon, that is laden with the small light bag of the To......I am an emanation of Sangpo Bumtri, I come to you, oh Shenrab....speaking thus he dismantled his dragon horse quickly.....".........A.H. Francke...gZermig: A book of the Tibetan Bonpos....Asia Major (1927) 206-213.

"August Hermann Francke (Gnadenfrei, Silesia, 5 November 1870 – Berlin, 16 February 1930) was a German Tibetologist.....He was a Moravian Church missionary in the Himalayas serving in that capacity in Ladakh, a major region of Jammu and Kashmir Province from 1896 until 1909. He was subsequently appointed professor of Tibetan languages at Berlin University.....After Yoseb Gergan produced the first draft of the Tibetan Bible in 1910, Francke corrected it and then sent it to David Macdonald, the British trade agent in Yatung. Also involved was his Moravian colleague Heinrich Jäschke who produced A Tibetan-English dictionary."....

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A.H. Francke...gZermig: A book of the Tibetan Bonpos....Asia Major (1927) 206-213......Sources of Tibetan Tradition.....Page 252.....By Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Matthew Kapstein, Gray Tuttle....

Asia Major was founded in Germany in 1923 by Bruno Schindler, and soon became the leading German outlet for scholarship on East Asia...Asia Major. Editores Bruno Schindler et Friedrich Weller.......

"... sTon-pa ggen-rab, "The Teacher Shen-rab", and his biography is to be found, as any bon-po knows, in the two volumes of "gZer-mig". sTon-pa gSen-rab lived in the country of sTag-gzig which is generally placed rather vaguely somewhere to the west or north-west of Tibet .....The first seven of the eighteen chapters of "gZer-mig" have been published and translated by A. H. Francke in Asia Major 1924, I926, 1927, 1930 and 1939. The contents of the whole book have been summarized by H. Hoffmann The Religions of Tibet, London i96I, p. 85-96. ".....ASPECTS OF THE ORIGIN OF THE BUDDHIST TRADITION IN TIBET by PER KVERNE......University of Bergen, Norway

Bellezza, John Vincent. (2010). "gShen-rab Myi-bo, His life and times according to Tibet’s earliest literary sources." Revue d’Etudes Tibétaines Number 19 October 2010, pp. 31–118.

"The gZer-mig and gZi-brjid are both published by the Bonpo Foundation, Dolanji, 1965 and 1967-69, respectively. Extracts from the gZi-brjid have been edited and translated by D.L. Snellgrove, The Nine Ways of Bon, London Oriental Series, vol. 18, London 1967. The first seven chapters of gZer-mig and part of the eighth have been translated into English by A.H. Franke, 'A Book of the Tibetan Bonpos', Asia Major, Leipzig 1924, 1926, 1927, 1930; Asia Major (New Series) 1, London 1949. A summary of the contents of gZer-mig has been made by H. Hoffmann in The Religions of Tibet, London 1961, 85-96."

Sources of Tibetan Tradition......By Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Matthew Kapstein, Gray Tuttle

"There are three biographies of Tonpa Shenrab. The earliest and shortest one is known as Dodu (mDo-'dus: 'Epitome of Aphorisms'); the second is in two volumes and is called Zermig (gZer-mig: 'Piercing Eye')......These two accounts were rediscovered as terma in the 10th and 11th centuries respectively ......In the year 1017 AD, Shenchen Luga (gShen-chen klu-dga') came from eastern Tibet and discovered two large wooden boxes containing many Bonpo texts in the Tibetan language, which had been buried at Drigtsam Thakar ('brig-mtsham mtha' dkar) in Tsang Province, near the ancestral seat of the Shen clan...... It was principally this discovery that led to the revival of Bon in central Tibet in the eleventh century...."....


March 2016


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Druk: Dragon, the Sound of Thunder, Druk Sakyong


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Druk in Tibetan means dragon but it also refers to the Sound of Thunder.

"The Bon Master Shenrap and the Redemption of Tobu Dode:......In the opening sceses of chapter 5 of the Zermik or 'Clear Eye'....a young boy named Yu Zurpuchen, who has crystal skin and sports a magical coat of mail, arrives in the Bonpo holy land of Olmo Lungring riding a turquoise dragon....the boy reveals himself to be an emanation of Sangpo Bumtri, a creator deity in the Bonpo pantheon of Gods:...At that time there came from the void sky....the little boy Yui Zurpuchen....of a complexion as clear as crystal, arrayed in a coat covered with magic writ, riding on the blue horse of the turquoise dragen....He came to Olmo Lungring, the Land of the Shen, where the savior Shenrap Miwo...before innumerable disciples preached the Bon tenets of the three Peutse....."I am Zurpuchen, the little boy of your heart....on my body whose tint is clear as crystal, I am clothed with a coat full of magic writ, I ride on the blue horse of the swift thunder dragon, that is laden with the small light bag of the To......I am an emanation of Sangpo Bumtri, I come to you, oh Shenrab....speaking thus he dismantled his dragon horse quickly.....".........A.H. Francke...gZermig: A book of the Tibetan Bonpos....Asia Major (1927) 206-213.

Bönpo Thanka......Musee Guimet.....Musee National des Arts

The Druk (Dzongkha: འབྲུག་) is the "Thunder Dragon" of Bhutanese mythology and a Bhutanese national symbol. A druk appears on the flag of Bhutan, holding jewels to represent wealth. In Dzongkha, Bhutan is called Druk Yul "Land of Druk", and Bhutanese leaders are called Druk Gyalpo, "Thunder Dragon Kings". During the Bhutanese mock election in 2008, all four mock parties were called the Druk Party. The national anthem of Bhutan, Druk Tsendhen, translates into English as "Kingdom of Druk".........The druk (also known as a "duk" or "dug") was adopted as an emblem by the Drukpa Lineage, which originated in Tibet and spread to Bhutan. According to traditional accounts, when the sect's founder, Tsangpa Gyare, 1st Gyalwang Drukpa, began to build Ralung Monastery, there was a violent storm. Thunder, or the "Cloud-Voice," is seen as the roar of the dragon...... Deciding that this was an omen, he named the monastery Drug-Ralung, adding the word "thunder dragon" to the name. The disciples at the monastery were known as Drugpa, or "Those of the Thunder."..... As of the 1900s, the Grand Lama of Bhutan wore a hat with thunder dragons on it to signify the origins of the sect..... As the sect became more popular, it set up monasteries in what is now Bhutan, with the result that the area became known as Dug Yul, or Land of Thunder, among both Tibetans and Bhutanese.".....

"Dzongkha (རྫོང་ཁ་; Wylie: rdzong-kha, Roman Dzongkha: Dzongkha), occasionally Ngalopkha ("language of the Ngalop people"), is the national language of Bhutan. The word "dzongkha" means the language (kha) spoken in the dzong "fortresses"—the fortress-like dzong architecture characterises monasteries established throughout Bhutan by its unifier, Ngawang Namgyal, 1st Zhabdrung Rinpoche, in the 17th century."

"The Druk Gyalpo (Dzongkha: འབྲུག་རྒྱལ་པོ་; Wylie: 'brug rgyal-po; "Dragon King") is the head of state of Bhutan. He is also known in English as the King of Bhutan...... Bhutan, in the local Dzongkha language, is known as Dryukyul which translates as "The Land of Dragons". Thus, while Kings of Bhutan are known as Druk Gyalpo ("Dragon King"), the Bhutanese people call themselves the Drukpa, meaning "Dragon people"......The current ruler of Bhutan is Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the 5th Druk Gyalpo."

The national flag of Bhutan (Dzongkha: ཧྥ་རན་ས་ཀྱི་དར་ཆ་; Wylie: hpha-ran-sa-kyi dar-cho) is one of the national symbols of Bhutan....The yellow signifies civil tradition and temporal authority as embodied in the Druk Gyalpo, the Dragon King of Bhutan, whose royal garb traditionally includes a yellow kabney (scarf). The orange half signifies Buddhist spiritual tradition....... The flag is based upon the tradition of the Drukpa Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and features Druk, the Thunder Dragon of Bhutanese mythology....Historically Bhutan is known by numerous names, but the Bhutanese call the country Druk after the name of the Bhutanese thunder dragon."

"In Heaven the Turqouise Dragon Thunders
The Tiger's lightning flashes Abroad
The Lion's Mane spreads Turquoise clouds
Garuda spans the Three-fold world"
Shambhala Anthem lyrics on Dragon's Thunder: Songs of Chogyam Trungpa, Dorje Dradul of Mukpo, The Druk Sakyong.....The Sakyong holds and propagates the teachings of Shambhala, an enlightened society.....Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche is regarded as the first in this lineage of Sakyongs, and as such he is referred to as the "Druk Sakyong", or "Dragon Earth-Protector".

"Drogon Tsangpa Gyare (1161–1211 AD)......was born into the Gya clan at a place near Kule in the Tsang province of Southern Tibet.....He met his Guru Lingchen Repa when he was 23.......After establishing Longbol (kLong rBol) and Ralung monasteries, Drogon Tsangpa Gyare went to a place called Nam Phu to build a monastery. It is said that when he and his disciples reached the place nine roaring dragons arose from the ground and soared in the sky..... The Tibetan word for dragon is 'Brug which is pronounced as 'Druk'. ....The flying dragons were taken to be an auspicious omen and the monastery and the lineage which sprang from it came to be known as the Drukpa. This school eventually became very popular in Tibet and surrounding regions. Many followers of this school were simple people, content with few material possessions, known for their deep practice of the dharma. There is a Tibetan proverb which says:
"Half the people are Drukpa Kagyupas,
Half the Drukpa Kagyupas are beggars,
And half the beggars are Drubtobs (Siddhas)."

"Kun grags ma.......gNam mtsho phyug mo, the goddess of the lake (also known as rDor rje kun grags ma or Rang byung rgyal mo in Buddhist tradition), the consort of gNyan chen Thang lha, is one of the twelve brTan ma, the ruling goddesses of Tibet. These twelve goddesses are Kun grags ma, Ya ma skyong, Kun bzang mo, bGegs kyi gtso, sPyan gcig ma, dPal gyi yum, Drag mo rgyal, Klu mo dkar mo, Bod khams skyong, sMan gcig ma, gYar mo sil and gYu sgron (in Buddhist tradition the name of each of these goddesses is preceded by the word rdo rje). Among these goddesses Kun grags ma takes precedence. She is superb, having a turquoise-coloured body, one face, two hands and three eyes of wisdom. Holding a banner of crowning victory in her right hand and a mirror of sanctity in her left, she has a great loveliness. Her indigo-blue hair hangs down to some length, and she is mounted on a Turquoise-Blue Dragon in the centre of a swirling white cloud. It is believed that Kun grags ma, the consort of gNyan chen Thang lha, is the principal one among the twelve brTan ma, the protective goddesses of Bon."......A Survey of Bonpo Monasteries by Dondrup Lhagyal, Phuntso Tsering Sharyul, Tsering Thar, Charles Ramble and Marietta Kind....Edited by Samten G. Karmay and Yasuhiko Nagano.....!book=/bonpo-monasteries/wb/b5/

"The Gyalwang Drukpa's Statement on Forceful Conversion of Drukpa Monasteries (The Annual Drukpa council).....10th September 2014.......'Over the last few days I have been receiving disturbing information from Tibet regarding the forced conversion of Drukpa Lineage monasteries in the Mount Kailash region by the Karma Kagyu Lineage. My followers in Tibet tell me that nearly all of the historic Drukpa Lineage monasteries in Mount Kailash region are being forcibly occupied by the Karma Kagyu Lineage, using money, coercion and certain Chinese support. Monks of the Drukpa Lineage looking after the monasteries, are suddenly exiled from their spiritual homes by the Karma Kagyu monks.'...The Gyalwang Drukpa....The Gyalwang Drukpa.....the head of the Drukpa Lineage, one of the independent Sarma (new) schools of Vajrayana Buddhism.".....

"In the southern ranges of the Himalaya the myths of the dragon and of the nagas of india are mixing. Both were being mixed in the tibetan mythologic carpet under the term Klu. All different religious schools and traditions of ancient Zhangzhung and later Tibet know dragons and included them in their corpus. One highly important scripture of the Bon is named the scripture of hundred thousand dragons (Klu). It is divided into three parts: the colorful dragons, the black dragons and the white dragons. The tibetan dragon is also named Druk ('brug), Drug or Zhug as variant spellings of the same. Bhutan, the kingdom at the southern border of the Himalaya is being called Druk Yul - the land of the peaceful dragon (or: the thunder dragon land). The population consists of the Drukpa. Bhutan is the souternmost region where the tibetan buddhist sect of the Drukpa Kagyudpa ('brug pa bka' brgyud pa) can be found. Naturally the temples of this sect are called dragon temples.".....

"You can find Druk in one corner of tibetan Prayer Flags to represent the element wood along with the horse (in the middle), the snow lion, the tiger and the khyung (Garuda). In tibetan these flags are named rLung rta - translated wind-horse or simply luck. Raising them on auspicious days increase the rLung rta of the person. The term rLung however is obviously akin to the chinese lung which translates as dragon among other meanings. Another very important meaning of this word is vital-force......Druks are living in the clouds and were later associated with gZa. .....One of the older deities of Bon is Za (gZa) who is manifesting himself in hailstorms, lightnings and energy. He has 18 faces and six arms - many deities of Tibet share this feature of multiface and multilimbs. He rides a Dragon and he causes numbness, epilepsy and madness when he is offended by blockades of normal flows of energy. Za patronizes magicians and his thanka can be seen in many monasteries".....

"Prayer Flags in Tibet are called lungta ("wind horse"). Traditionally, the flags would always be recognizable by the drawings of a horse at the center of the composition surrounded by four other animals—a lion, tiger, bird, and dragon...... On early Bon prayer flags, a white yak was counted as one of the four. In addition, the bird depicted on Buddhist flags is believed to be a garuda, which has its origins in Indian culture and literature, while the bird image on Bon flags has a different meaning and history.".... Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Prayer Flags, Part 2......Jeff Watt....

"Another kind of tibetan spirits are the Klu which are more feared then the Druk. The myths of the Klu have mixed with the cult of the Naga in India and it is quite difficult to sort them out. The Klu are the tibetan version of the chinese water dragons and they live in fountains, rivers and seas. You can encounter them on certain special locations, too. The Klu hetched from six eggs at the dawn of creation. The king of them - Klu chen rgyal po - lives in an under water palace just like the dragonkings in china. It is to be noticed that he is being called in the more darker kind of rites to end up the lifes of the enemies quick. The female form of the Klu is Klu mo and the queen is named Yum klu mo yak. She is not one of the nice and peaceful breed and her garment are snakes.... Another much more friendly Klu mo wears a garment of cloudy silk and feathers and she patronizes young girls and women. The legendary kings of ancient Tibet before To ri long bstan had daughters of the gods and the Klu as wives. So the wive of king Gesar is named Sengjam Zhugmo, the daughter of the dragon. It is said that she was born in the thunder of a dragon. Today many women in Tibet bear the name Zhugmo. To angry one Klu can have the consequences of really bad weathers like hailstorms. Klu are regularly held responsible for illness and disease. There are certain rites to react on these more sinister deeds of them and the famous crosses of ropes play an importand part in these rites.".......

"In Bhutan, the popularity of phallic worship is attributed to the 15th-century Buddhist teacher, Drukpa Kunley, popularly known as the “Divine Madman.” A 2011 study titled “Bhutan’s Pervasive Phallus” by French historian Francoise Pommaret and Bhutanese scholar Tashi Tobgay, says the belief in the phallus’ ability to ward off evil spirits and transform them into protective deities is traced to Drukpa Kunley, who subdued demonesses with his “thunderbolt.”....

"The 15th-century Buddhist teacher, Drukpa Kunley, popularly known as the “Divine Madman.....Drukpa Kunley (1455–1529), also known as Kunga Legpai Zangpo, Drukpa Kunleg (Tibetan: འབྲུག་པ་ཀུན་ལེགས་, Wylie: 'brug pa kun legs), and Kunga Legpa, the Madman of the Dragon Lineage (Tibetan: འབྲུག་སྨྱོན་ཀུན་དགའ་ལེགས་པ་, Wylie: 'brug smyon kun dga' legs pa), was a great master of Mahamudra in the Buddhist tradition, as well as a famous poet, and is often counted among the Nyönpa. After undergoing training in Ralung Monastery under siddha Pema Lingpa, he introduced Buddhism to Bhutan and established the monastery of Chimi Lhakhang there in 1499."....Stein, R. A. (1972). Tibetan Civilization.

Sources of Tibetan Tradition.....Page 252.....By Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Matthew Kapstein, Gray Tuttle

Dargye, Yonten (2001). History of the Drukpa Kagyud School in Bhutan (12th to 17th Century A.D.). Thimphu.

Lama Nawang Tenzin (compiler) (July 2004). The Wand That Opens the Eyes and Dispels the Darkness of the Mind. Shey, Ladakh: Pel Drukpay Tcheutsok.

Waddell, Laurence (1895). The Buddhism of Tibet Or Lamaism.

David-Neel, Alexandra. Initiations and Initiates in Tibet.


March 2016


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Yungdrung Chakshing


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Drenpa Namkha holds a Yungdrung Chakshing in his right hand to indicate the indestructibility and permanence of the Bon teachings.

"Yungdrung Chakshing is a symbol of continuity and willpower in the Bon religion which its followers say was the pre-Buddhist faith of the Tibetan people. It's interesting to note that the swastika here is widdershins which is unlike the Hindu one....Widdershins is a term meaning to go counter-clockwise, or to walk around an object by always keeping it on the left.....The Swastika (also known as the gammadion cross, cross cramponnée, or wanzi) (as a character: 卐 or 卍) is an ancient religious symbol that generally takes the form of an equilateral cross, with its four legs bent at 90 degrees. It is considered to be a sacred and auspicious symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, Bon and Jainism ....It has been used as a decorative element in various cultures since at least the Neolithic. It is known most widely as an important symbol long used in Indian religions, denoting "auspiciousness....The name swastika comes from the Sanskrit word svastika (Devanāgarī: स्वस्तिक), meaning "lucky or auspicious object".....The word finds its origin in Vedic Sanskrit. As noted by Monier-Williams in his Sanskrit-English dictionary, according to Alexander Cunningham, its shape represents a monogram formed by interlacing of the letters of the auspicious words su-astí (svasti) written in Ashokan characters."......

The flag of the Yungdrung Bön with each of the colors of the five elements and the golden chakshing with 2 turquoise-colored yungdrungs as held by Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche....

"The swastika, old symbol of good luck, is very present in bön and represents eternity, mostly in its anti-clockwise version......The flag has five horizontal stripes (blue, white, red, green, yellow). In the middle of the flag there is a golden yungdrung chakshing (g.yung-drung phyag-shing in Wylie transliteration), which is a bönpo scepter and symbol of immortality. On each end of the yungdrung there is a square with a swastika. The squares are shown with a blue swastika on yellow field in one instance, and with several colours between the arms of the yellow swastika in the other (blue to the left, red on top, green on the right, and white on the bottom), all on a red field within yellow border."........ Sources: ........ .......Corentin Chamboredon, 10 February 2014........

"Almost all of western Tibet constituted, before the Tibetan emperor Songtsen Gampo invaded it in the 8th c. AD, the kingdom of Zhangzhung..... Modern bönpo claim their religion had roots in this old country......some texts even claim bön was imported from old Persia to Zhangzhung before that.".....

"A gleaming and spirited statue of Drenpa Namkha, the venerated long-life deity of Bön. He is regarded as the Protector of the Dark Age, and believed to be the all-embodying manifestation of the three kayas of Buddhas in Tibetan tradition. As shown in this rare bronze Drenpa Namkha as a Mahasiddha, he is seated in royal ease on a lotus throne wearing only a tiger skin. On his youthful face at the ajna chakra, he has a third-eye that revealed his transcendent knowledge. For his power to transform delusion into perfect wisdom, his left hand is holding a white kapala (skull cup) filled with blood. To affirm the absolute truth and eternal teachings of the Bön, his right hand is raised with the yungdrung chakshing (swastika vajra emblem). Whereas the one eye on his foot indicated that he could visualizes five hundred past lives. Beautifully gilded in gold and ornamented with semi-precious stones, with a swastika on a double-thunderbolt embossed on the copper base plate, this immaculate statue emanated the presence of Drenpa Namkha in an unshakeable equipoise.".....

"Drenpa Namkha (Tibetan: dran pa nam mkha' ) was born in the 8th century near Mount Kailash in Chunlung Ngul Kha in south-western Tibet. As a young student he was a blessed with eight principal Bon teachers. Drenpa Namkha became a self-realized supreme master of the three Bon practices, known as Sutra, Tantra and Dzogchen. Drenpa Namkha is the primary long-life deity according to Bon....Drenpa Namkha's biography in eight volumes was published by sPa-tshang Sonam Gyantsan, Delhi in 1983. Drenpa Namkha is said to have had twin sons: Tshe-dbang Rig-'dzin, a Bon teacher, and Pad-ma 'Byung-gnas..."

"The flag of Jainism was first mentioned in a holy text dating 5th century BC. It has five colors: orange or red, yellow, white, green and black or dark blue.....The swastika in the centre of the flag represents the four states of existence of soul. The four stages may be: heaven-beings or deities....human beings.....animal/birds/insects/plants.....hell beings.....It represents that the soul can embody any of these forms, owing to karma, which may escalate it to higher-level forms such as heavenly beings, or degrade it to lower-level forms such as lesser animals or hell beings....The three dots above the swastika represent the Ratnatraya (three jewels) of Jainism.....The curve above the three dots denotes Siddhashila, a place in the highest realms of Universe, composed of pure energy. It is above hell, earth, or heaven.".....

"Other names for the symbol include:
hook cross (German: Hakenkreuz), angled cross (German: Winkelkreuz) or crooked cross (German: Krummkreuz).
fylfot, chiefly in heraldry and architecture. The term was coined in the 19th century based on a misunderstanding of a Renaissance manuscript.
gammadion, tetragammadion (Greek: τετραγαμμάδιον), or cross gammadion (Latin: crux gammata; French: croix gammée), as each arm resembles the Greek letter Γ (gamma).
tetraskelion (Greek: τετρασκέλιον), literally meaning "four legged", especially when composed of four conjoined legs (compare triskelion [Greek: τρισκέλιον]).
whirling logs (Navajo (native american): can denote abundance, prosperity, healing, and luck.
The swastika has been a standardized Sanskrit character. "卍" (pinyin: wàn) and as such entered various other East Asian languages such as Japanese where the symbol is called "卍" (Hepburn: manji) or "卍字" (manji)."


March 2016


Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Cavern of Treasures and Shenchen Luga (1017 AD)


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"A Cavern of Treasures (Tibetan: མཛོད་ཕུག, Wylie: mdzod phug) is a terma uncovered by Shenchen Luga (Tibetan: གཤེན་ཆེན་ཀླུ་དགའ, Wylie: gshen chen klu dga') in the early eleventh century. ...Dan Martin identifies the importance of this scripture for studies of the Zhang-Zhung language....'For students of Tibetan culture in general, the mDzod phug is one of the most intriguing of all Bon scriptures, since it is the only lengthy bilingual work in Zhang-zhung and Tibetan (some of the shorter but still significant sources for Zhang-zhung are signalled in Orofino 1990.'...."...

"Shenchen Luga was born in 996 in the Dringtsham (‘bring ‘tshams) region of Tsang, to a father of the sga clan and a mother who was the sibling of a Bonpo. Not much about his early years is known, but he did not seem to be formally engaged in religious pursuits until his massive corpus of treasure revelation appeared in 1017 AD, when he was 21. He spent the rest of his life teaching and debating, and perhaps established a seat at Darding (dar lding) near the town of Geding (dge lding). His greatest disciple was Zhuyé Legpo (zhu yas legs po), who eventually became the progenitor of his own lineage. In 1035 AD, the Buddhist monk Lotön Dorjé Wangchuk (lo ston rdo rje dbang phyug) allegedly poisoned and thus murdered Shenchen near the latter’s birthplace.".....

Shenchen Luga Writings (rtsom yig):
Innermost Treasury of Life......(g.yung drung las rnam par dag pa srid pa’i phug gi mdo), text written in both Tibetan and Zhangzhung...... revealed in 1017 AD....

"Shenchen Luga was perhaps the greatest and most popular Bönpo of the Tibetan Renaissance period, if not in all of the modern history of Bön. Adepts and supporters trace the religion back to Shenrab Miwo (gshen rab mi bo) and beyond, but there’s no question that the actual religion of Bön, in the admittedly trendy sense of an established and systematized tradition, was founded by Shenchen Luga. His treasure revelations of 1017 and the years that followed (though Shenchen’s own narrative and those of his biographers attribute almost all of his texts to this one year) forged a uniquely Bönpo identity with the very instruments (mature doctrinal, ritual, and narrative texts), strategies (treasure revelation), and sensibilities (lineal autonomy, historical validity) that worked so effectively for the Nyingma Buddhists of the same period. Around the scholarship and personality of Shenchen, the Bön tradition coalesced for the first time, blossoming into a widespread and internally consistent religious system that would inspire polemical publications and considerable anxiety on the part of the more dominant Buddhist traditions for many hundreds of years to come.".....

"There were at least fifteen treasure revealers before Shenchen.."........

"The Tibetan word, terma, literally means “treasure” and refers to Buddhist (or Bon) scriptures and relics retrieved from the distant past through a process of revelation. There are two principal types of treasures: earth terma, discovered in the Tibetan and Himalayan landscape, and mind terma, discovered in the mind of the terton or “treasure revealer.” The latter should be distinguished with pure visions, or daknang, which appear in the mind of realized masters, but do not necessarily claim ancient origins. Though its source is located in the distant past, a terma is intended for the time and place of its discovery. "......

"The year 1017 AD marks the resurgence of Bön, which began with the discovery by Shenchen Luga (gShen-chen klu-dga’, 996-1035 AD) of a number of important concealed texts. With his discoveries Bön re-emerged as a fully systematized religion. Shenchen Luga was born in the Shen clan, descended from Kontsha Wangden (Kong-tsha dbang-ldan), one of Tonpa Shenrab’s sons. The descendants of this important family still live in Tibet......Shenchen Luga had a large following. To three of his disciples he entrusted the task of continuing three different traditions. To the first, Druchen Namkha Yungdrung (Bru-chen nam-mkha’ g.yung-drung) born in the clan of Dru which migrated to Tibet from Druzha (‘Bru-zha, i.e., Gilgit), he entrusted the studies of cosmology and metaphysics (mDzod-phug and Gab-pa)......The second disciple, Zhuye Legpo (Zhu-yas legs-po), was assigned to maintain the Dzogchen teachings and practices. He founded the monastery of Kyikhar Rizhing (sKyid-mkhar ri-zhing).....The third disciple, Paton Palchog (sPa-ston dpal-mchog), took responsibility for upholding the Tantric teachings..".....

Sources of Tibetan Tradition......Page 259.....By Kurtis R. Schaeffer, Matthew Kapstein

"In the year 1017 AD, Shenchen Luga (gShen-chen klu-dga') came from eastern Tibet and discovered two large wooden boxes containing many Bonpo texts in the Tibetan language, which had been buried at Drigtsam Thakar ('brig-mtsham mtha' dkar) in Tsang Province, near the ancestral seat of the Shen clan...... It was principally this discovery that led to the revival of Bon in central Tibet in the eleventh century...."....

"Zhang-zhung Language.......The first Bön scriptures were translated from the language of Zhang-zhung into Tibetan. The works contained in the Bonpo canon as we know it today are written in Tibetan, but a number of them, especially the older ones, retain the titles and at times whole passages in the language of Zhang-zhung......Until the 8th century Zhang-zhung existed as a separate kingdom, comprising the land to the west of the central Tibetan provinces of (dBus) and Tsang (gTsang) and generally known as Western Tibet, extending over a vast area from Gilgit in the west to the lake of Namtsho (gNam-mtsho) in the east and from Khotan in the north to Mustang in the south. The capital was called Khyunglung Ngulkhar (Khyung-lung dngul-mkhar), the 'Silver Palace of Garuda Valley', the ruins of which lie in the upper Sutlej valley south-west of Mount Kailash. Its people spoke a language classified among the Tibeto-Burmese group of Sino-Tibetan languages....The country was ruled by a dynasty of kings which ended in the 9th century A.D. when the last king, Ligmincha (Lig-min-skya) was assassinated by order of the Buddhist king of Tibet (Trisong Detsen)......and Zhang-zhung militarily annexed by Tibet.....The Queen of Ligmincha was later able to avenge the death and likewise murdered King Trisong Detsen...... Since that time Zhang-zhung has become gradually Tibetanized and its language, culture and many of its beliefs have been integrated into the general frame of Tibetan culture. Due to its geographical proximity to the great cultural centres of central Asia such as Gilgit and Khotan, it was through Zhang-zhung that many religious concepts and ideas reached Tibet."......

"Zhang-zhung Tapihritsa or Tapahritsa (c 7th ~ 8th century) was a Bon practitioner who achieved the Dzogchen mastery of the rainbow body and consequently, as a fully realised trikaya Buddha, is invoked as a iṣṭadevatā (Classical Tibetan: yi dam) by Dzogchen practitioners in both Bon and Tibetan Buddhism. He famously achieved the rainbow body achievement.....The historical Tapihritsa was born in Zhangzhung to a family of nomads. Tapihritsa's principal teacher was Dawa Gyaltsen.....Tapihritsa was contemporaneous with Ligmincha, King of Zhangzhung, and Trisong Detsen, Emperor of Tibet."....Karmay, Samten G; Watt, Jeff, eds. (2007). Bon, the magic word : the indigenous religion of Tibet

"The Bön religion.....during the reign of King Drigum Tsenpo (Gri-gum btsan-po') in the 7th century B.C.E. All but the 'Bön of Cause' (rgyu'i bon: the first four of the Nine Ways) was abolished, and most of its practitioners banished. They were, however, able to conceal many texts as terma (gTer-ma, 'treasure') that were rediscovered at a later date by tertons (gTer-ston, 'treasure discoverers').....From the 8th to 11th centuries the practice of Bön went mainly underground. The year 1017 AD marks the resurgence of Bön, which began with the discovery by Shenchen Luga (gShen-chen klu-dga', 996-1035) of a number of important concealed texts.".....

"One of the most renowned descendants of the Zhu family lineage is the holy lama Zhu Ye Lekpo. Born into the divine Zhu family, he heard of the Great Shen who had discovered Bön texts and who was the catalyst for a resurgence of the Yungdrung Bön tradition. This Great Shen was Shenchen Luga. Zhu Ye Lekpo went to Shenchen Luga and requested teachings. Shenchen Luga tested his faith by having him act as an attendant for eight years before giving him any teachings or transmissions. However, Zhu Ye Lekpo became Shenchen Luga’s main disciple and responsible for the dzogchen teachings and practice. He founded Ri Zhing Monastery in the eleventh century. This monastery became very famous. At one time, the Tibetan government donated to it more than a dozen estates and it housed over three hundred monks. It was completely destroyed during the Chinese cultural revolution. In the 1980’s, members of the Zhu family began restoring one of the hermitages connected with the monastery. The descendants of the Zhu family now live in India."......


March 2016


Friday, March 4, 2016

The Nine Ways of Bon & Iranian Central Asia


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"The teachings of Yungdrung Bon did not solely originate in Zhang-zhung, but were said to have been brought from Tazik, that is, Iranian speaking Central Asia, to Zhang-zhung in Western and Northern Tibet by a number of mysterious white-robbed sages long before the political events of the seventh and eighth centuries.........".....

"..... it now appears likely that before Indian Buddhism came to Central Tibet in the seventh and eighth centuries, Zhang-zhung had extensive contacts with the Buddhist cultures that flourished around it in Central Asia and in the Indo-Tibetan borderlands. Just to the west of Zhang-zhung there once existed the vast Kushana empire which was Buddhist in its religious culture. It was an area in which Indian Buddhism interacted with various strands of Iranian religion-- Zoroastrian, Zurvanist, Mithraist, Manichean, as well as Indian Shaivism and Nestorian Christianity. This was also true of the oasis cities of the Silk Route to the northeast of Zhang-zhung .... the Kalachakra Tantra is said to have been brought from Shambhala in Central Asia to Nalanda in India ....certain trends within Yungdrung Bon, rather than being later plagiarisms and imitations of Indian Buddhism concocted in the tenth century, actually do go back to a kind of syncretistic Indo-Iranian Buddhism "......

"Nine different ways, or vehicles..... even though one is a practitioner of a higher ‘Way’, this does not exclude the practice of one or more of the lower ‘Ways’ should the need arise. Although the methods differ, all of the Nine Ways have compassion as their base..... three different classifications of the Nine Ways of Bön according to the region in which the texts were found after being hidden. These three are referred to as The Southern Treasures (terma texts revealed in Bhutan and the southern area of Tibet)...... The Northern Treasures (terma texts revealed in Zhangzhung and northern Tibet)...... and The Central Treasures ( terma texts revealed in central Tibet close to Samye)......The Nine Ways of Bön"...

"It is held that Tonpa Shenrab first studied the Bon doctrine in Tagzig Olmo Lung Ring, at the end of which he pledged to Shenlha Okar, the God of Compassion, that he would guide the peoples of this world to liberation....The ultimate souce of their teachings is sTag-gzigs , a country situated rather vaguely still further to the west... ".... Ways of Bon

The Nine Ways of Bon according to The Southern Treasures: (David Snellgrove’s 1961 translation remains the only extended translation of the Nine Ways that is available!)

IX. THE SUPREME WAY (bla-med theg-pa)..... The Unsurpassed Way: This Way is primarily focused upon the practice of Dzogchen, or The Great Perfection. This Way does not rely upon antidotes of any kind, ritual or practice with a meditational deity. It is concerned with the realization of the true nature of one’s own mind.....The categories and ideas elaborated in this IXth Vehicle are usually referred to as the teachings of the 'Great Perfection' ( rdzog-chen ).....the Way of Dzogchen (khyad par chen po'i theg pa or rdzogs pa chen po, abbreviated rdzogs chen) .....In general, the Dzogchen teachings are found only in the old unreformed Tibetan schools of the Buddhist Nyingmapas and the non-Buddhist Bonpos...

VIII. THE WAY OF THE PRIMEVAL SHEN (ye-shen theg-pa)......The Way of the Primordial Shen: This Way is primarily focused upon higher tantric practice......This deals with the need for a suitable master, as suitable partner, and a suitable site. The preparation of the mandala is then described in detail together with important admonitions not to forget the local divinites ( sa-bdag ). The process of mediation (known as the 'Process of Emanation'-in Sanskrit utpattikrama) is recounted. The last Part of this section describes the 'Proces of Realisation' (Sanskrit nispannakrama), which is the 'super-rational' state of the perfected sage. His behaviour might often be mistaken for that of a madman....(ye gshen theg pa) renders the guidelines for seeking a true tantric master and the commitments (dam tshigs, parallel to the Sanskrit samaya) that bind a disciple to his tantric master

VII. THE WAY OF PURE SOUND (a-dkar theg-pa)......The Way of the White AH: This Way is primarily focused upon tantric practice using visualization..... It gives a very good account of the tantric theory of 'transformation' through the mandala......It then goes on to refer briefly to the union of Method and Wisdom as realized by the practiser and his feminine partner.....Way of Primordial Sound (a dkar theg pa) charts the integration of an exalted practitioner into the mandala of highest enlightenment;

VI. THE WAY OF THE GREAT ASCETICS (drang-srong theg-pa).....specifies the proper conduct for those who are fully ordained practitioners.....drang-rong translates rsi which in India refers to the great seers of the past.......Drang-rong is used by bonpos to refer to fully qualified monks, corresponding to the buddhist term dge-slong (= bhiksu ). This is the way of strict ascetic discipline....... The Way of the Fully Ordained: This Way specifies the proper conduct for those who are fully ordained practitioners.....Way of a Monk (drang srong theg pa) codifies monastic rules and regulations;

V. THE WAY OF THE VIRTUOUS ADHERERS (dge-bsnyen theg-pa).......specifies the proper conduct of lay person taking vows.....dGe-bsnyen is the normal Tibetan term for upasaka which in India referred to the Buddhist layman. Similarly, here it refers to those who follow the practice of the ten virtues and the ten perfections, and who build and worship stupas....... The Way of the Virtuous Lay Practitioners: This Way specifies the proper conduct of lay person taking vows....Way of a Lay Follower (dge bsnyen theg pa) contains the ten principles for wholesome activity...


The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Ways are classified as The Causal Ways, or the Bön of Causes. ....Tibetan Shamanism is found in the first four causal ways. Shamans in Tibet take a very earthy and dualistic approach to life, healing the disturbances and illnesses in this life without being concerned about the next life.....These first four causal ways of the native Tibetan shamans’ paths, are called: Chashen (The way of the Shen of Prediction), Nangshen (The Way of the Shen of the Visible World), Trulshen (The Way of the Shen of ‘Magical’ Illusion), and Sichen (The way of the Shen of Existence).....shamanism, healing, magical rites of exorcism, astrology, and divination (these practices belong to the four lower or Causal Ways among the Nine Ways of Bon


IV. THE WAY OF THE SHEN OF EXISTENCE (srid-gshen theg-pa)...... This Way is primarily focused upon rituals for the dead and methods to promote longevity for the living......This deals with beings in the 'Intermediate state' ( bar-do ) between death and rebirth, and ways of leading them towards salvation......Way of Existence (srid gshen theg pa) details funeral and death rituals....Working with the soul of the living and the dead is the most important feature of the fourth way, Sichen, which contains a detailed explanation of the principle of the la (soul), yid (mind), and sem (thinking mind). “The la is the karmic trace, which is stored in the kunzhi namshe, (or base consciousness). The sem follows the karmic trace and produces blissful, painful and neutral experiences which are experienced by the yid....When a living person’s soul is lost, shattered, or disordered, there are practices to recall and reinforce its energy, such as soul retrieval. In relation to the dead, there are explanations of 81 different types of death, such as accidental death, suicide, murder, and sinister death....following these kinds of death, it is very important to perform appropriate of the most important practices performed by Tibetan shamans of the sichen path is soul retrieval – Lalu (literally redeeming, or buying back the soul), and Chilu, (redeeming the life-energy)..”

III. THE WAY OF THE SHEN OF ILLUSION (hprul-gshen theg-pa).....This Way includes venerating a deity or master and then applying mantra and mudras in order to accomplish a goal such as requesting assistance from natural energies.....This is concerned with rites for disposing of enemies of all kinds. The rites described here are to be found in the bon tantras, e.g. those of dBal-gsas and the khro-bahi rgyud drug .....Similar practices are referred to in Buddhist tantras, e.g. Hevajra -Tantra...... The Way of the Shen of Manifestation...Way of Illusion ('phrul gshen theg pa) explains the rites for the dispersal of adverse tulpas, entities and energies.....Shamans of the third way, Trulshen, go where there is strong, wild energy, where they perform practices to conquer the spirits and demons that inhabit those places, subjugating them into their service. One achieves this through practising mantra (words of magic power), mudra (meaningful hand gestures to communicate with gods and spirits), and samadhi (meditation), while performing sadhanas (devotional practices) to engage various wrathful goddesses such as Walmo and Chenmo."

II. THE WAY OF THE SHEN OF VISUAL WORLD (snang-gshen theg-pa).....The Way of the Shen of the Phenomenal World: This Way includes rituals dealing with communication with external forces such as rituals of protection, invocation, ransom of the soul and life-force, and of repelling negative or harmful energies.....It is concerned with overpowering or placating the gods and demons of this world...Way of the Visual World (snang shen theg pa) details the psychophysical Universe....Nangshen, comprises various rituals for purification to summon energy and enhance prosperity, to suppress and liberate negative forces, and to invoke and make offerings to powerful deities and pay ransoms to demonic spirits.... In ransom rites, an effigy is prepared which represents the beneficiary of the rite, or the shamanic practitioner who is performing it....people often make life-size effigies dressed it in her clothes, so that it was very lifelike and resembled her closely.....

I. THE WAY OF THE SHEN OF THE PREDICTION (phyva-gshen theg-pa)......This Way includes divination, astrology, various rituals, and medical diagnosis.....four methods of prediction: (a) divination, sortilege (mo)......(b) astrological calculation (rtsis).....(c) ritual (gto).....(d) medical diagnosis (dpyad)....Way of Prediction (phyva gshen theg pa) codifies ritual, prognostication, sortilege and astrology....Chashen, the first way, comprises medical diagnosis and healing, as well as various ancient divination and astrological rites performed by the shaman to determine whether the person who needs to be healed has an energetic imbalance, or is being provoked by a demonic spirit, or negative energy.....

"... if the causal means of shamanism were practiced widely in the world, it would be of great benefit for the environment and the world community......It would be of even greater benefit if all nine vehicles were practiced.".......Shamanism in the Native Bon Tradition of Tibet-By Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.....

"In 1961, Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, Geshe Lungtok Tenpa’i Nyima Rinpoche, the future abbot of Menri Monastery, and Geshe Samten Karmey were invited to England by David Snellgrove. During this time, Yongdzin Rinpoche suggested the translation of excerpts of the Nine Ways based upon the Southern Treasures. Yongdzin Rinpoche personally selected the passages that David Snellgrove translated. In 1967, these excerpts were published as The Nine Ways of Bön. At that time, very little was known about the Yungdrung Bön tradition among Western scholars. There was a great deal of theorizing and conjecture. So, although Snellgrove’s translation of the text is quite accurate, his own personal conclusions as to the origins and influences of the Yungdrung Bön should be taken within the context of the time in which he was writing. However, to-date, his translation remains the only extended translation of the Nine Ways that is available."

"The ultimate souce of their teachings is sTag-gzigs , a country situated rather vaguely still further to the west... " ......The Nine Ways of Bon: Excerpts from Gzi-brjid". Edited and Translated by D.L. Snellgrove, pp.1-23 London Oriental Series , Vol 18, Oxford University Press 1968......

"In the Tibetan Bon traditon.....the first 4 of the Nine Ways are Shamanic Levels of Ordinary Elemental Magic.......the the next 3 are Tantric Transformation Levels.....and the highest 2 are Dzogchen Direct Experience all nine levels of Bon the connecting deity is Shenlha Okar."

"Tibetan Bonpo in ancient times appeared to cover a number of different types of practitioner, whether shaman, magician, or priest. Here there seems to be a strong parallel of the role of the Bonpo in ancient Tibet with that of the Druid in ancient pre-Christian Europe. Just as the Druidic order was divided into the three functions of the Bards, the Vates, and the Druids, who were singers, soothsayers, and magicians respectively, so the ancient pre- Buddhist kingdom of Tibet was said to be protected by the Drung (sgrung) who were bards and singers of epics, the Deu (lde'u) who were soothsayers and diviners, and the Bonpo (bon-po) who were priests and magicians."(John M.Reynolds)

"The Nyingma classifies the teachings into 9 yanas or vehicles for realisation. These are all equally precious and each is complete within itself with a ground, a path and a fruit." ...

"According to the Nyingmapa school, the various systems of teachings are subdivided into the following nine paths or “vehicles” culminating in purified Maha Ati awareness. The first three generally teach the way of renunciation (spong lam), the second three teach purification (sbyong lam), and the last three the way of transformation (sgyur lam):
1. The worldly vehicle of divinities and men (‘jig rten Iha mi’I theg pa), including all non-Buddhist religions.
2. The vehicle of the shravakas (listeners) and of the pratyekabuddhas –those who seek enlightenment solely for their own sake, i.e.; Hinayana Buddhism.
3. The vehicle of the bodhisattvas, consisting of the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism.
Next appear the three vehicles known as the External Tantras. These teachings and practices are concerned with purification and preparation to receive the wisdom teachings of realized beings that follow. These vehicles are known as: 4. Kriya Tantra; 5. Ubhava Tantra; and 6. Yoga Tantra. Concerning the next three vehicles, strictly speaking only 7. Maha-yoga, and, 8. Anu-yoga, are known as Internal Tantras. Classed as tantras, they are teachings and practices involved primarily with the transformation of the individual into the pure dimension of realization.
9. Ati-yoga, the self-liberated state, is based on the direct experiential knowledge of the primordial state, the joining (or realization of the inseparability) of what is known as the Path (or: Child) and Mother Luminosity.".....


March 2016