Tibetan Buddhism and Bon

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Tibetan Buddhism and Bon

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:11 pm

Edit from mr. gordo: This thread has been split from viewtopic.php?f=66&t=3490&start=0



C'mon guys, I did say that I was exaggerating!

Of course somewhere between getting whacked on chang, stickin' phurbas into effigies and making offerings to local deities to send rain for the crops they may chant the Heart Sutra, which, by the way, even though it starts off with "Thus have I heard..." quickly becomes a monologue by Chenrezig with some qualifying statements by the Buddha so I don't know how Sutta the Heart Sutra could be considered anyway... As for ngondro, none of the practitioners I personally know have done (a classic style of ) ngondro (or have a particularly positive attitude towards it)

Bodhisattva vows? Dunno what their status is with the Ngakpo I know.

Bodhicitta? Of course! They are Buddhists (in a Bon kindda way) after all.

All I said is that the EMPHASIS is not on Sutra and definitely not on Sutta practices.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Josef » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:08 pm

gregkavarnos wrote: As for ngondro, none of the practitioners I personally know have done (a classic style of ) ngondro (or have a particularly positive attitude towards it)

Bodhisattva vows? Dunno what their status is with the Ngakpo I know.

Bodhicitta? Of course! They are Buddhists (in a Bon kindda way) after all.

All I said is that the EMPHASIS is not on Sutra and definitely not on Sutta practices.
:namaste:

This ngakpa has done lots of ngondro, and found it highly valuable.
I also hold and maintain my bodhisattva vows to the best of my ability.
Bon is a knockoff of the Nyingma/ngakpa tradition, not the other way around.
I admit that sutra/sutta is not the emphasis and that my Dzogchen-related samaya is first and foremost as far as vows are concerned but once one commits to practicing the inner tantra's of the Nyingma system ones focus naturally shifts to that path and its methods.
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:17 pm

Nangwa wrote:This ngakpa has done lots of ngondro, and found it highly valuable.
I also hold and maintain my bodhisattva vows to the best of my ability.
I rejoice in your merit! :twothumbsup: But like I said: "the Ngakpo I know..." I was not trying to generalise (in this specific instance).
Bon is a knockoff of the Nyingma/ngakpa tradition, not the other way around.
Yes, I realise this, but like Buddhist and Hindu Tantra, the cross-fertilisation and common roots sometimes makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly who has influenced who. Normally the current runs in both directions simultaneously!
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Josef » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:21 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Nangwa wrote:This ngakpa has done lots of ngondro, and found it highly valuable.
I also hold and maintain my bodhisattva vows to the best of my ability.
I rejoice in your merit! :twothumbsup: But like I said: "the Ngakpo I know..." I was not trying to generalise (in this specific instance).
Bon is a knockoff of the Nyingma/ngakpa tradition, not the other way around.
Yes, I realise this, but like Buddhist and Hindu Tantra, the cross-fertilisation and common roots sometimes makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly who has influenced who. Normally the current runs in both directions simultaneously!
:namaste:

Just wanted to represent. :smile:
The cross-fertilization doesn't really apply in this case. Its a one way street. Modern Bon looks absolutely nothing like pre-Buddhist Bon.
They adapted and co-opted Buddhist teachings and appearances in order to survive.
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Caz » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:30 am

Nangwa wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
Nangwa wrote:This ngakpa has done lots of ngondro, and found it highly valuable.
I also hold and maintain my bodhisattva vows to the best of my ability.
I rejoice in your merit! :twothumbsup: But like I said: "the Ngakpo I know..." I was not trying to generalise (in this specific instance).
Bon is a knockoff of the Nyingma/ngakpa tradition, not the other way around.
Yes, I realise this, but like Buddhist and Hindu Tantra, the cross-fertilisation and common roots sometimes makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly who has influenced who. Normally the current runs in both directions simultaneously!
:namaste:

Just wanted to represent. :smile:
The cross-fertilization doesn't really apply in this case. Its a one way street. Modern Bon looks absolutely nothing like pre-Buddhist Bon.
They adapted and co-opted Buddhist teachings and appearances in order to survive.


Just want to add as well no genuine student of Padmasambhava would incorperate into the cirriculum something from Bon, Even up untill the turn of last century when people where turning up in mass for Je Pabongkhas teachings there where recorded actions of Animal sacrifces on behalf of those who say they are practising Bon...probley not the monastics of the New Bon but non the less those who mirror the Old Bon as recorded.
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Sherab » Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:30 am

Caz wrote:Just want to add as well no genuine student of Padmasambhava would incorperate into the cirriculum something from Bon,

Do you differentiate between new Bon and old Bon?
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Caz » Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:42 am

Sherab wrote:
Caz wrote:Just want to add as well no genuine student of Padmasambhava would incorperate into the cirriculum something from Bon,

Do you differentiate between new Bon and old Bon?


From a documentary I watched a while ago the new Bon appeared to be a monastic order resembling something of a Buddhist tradition in appearance, They claim that this has been the teaching of Bon all along but it is doubtfully so as I think with the arrival of Buddhism in tibet they needed to adapt or die as royal favour turned in the tide of buddhist practise, The old Bon is still being practised during the filming this Bon monastic met some local shaman whom called their selves Bon and these guys greatly resembled that which had been discribed of old however the difference was certainly notable between the adherant of the New Bon and the traditional pre-buddhist influence. :namaste:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:14 am

Caz wrote:Just want to add as well no genuine student of Padmasambhava would incorperate into the cirriculum something from Bon, Even up untill the turn of last century when people where turning up in mass for Je Pabongkhas teachings there where recorded actions of Animal sacrifces on behalf of those who say they are practising Bon...probley not the monastics of the New Bon but non the less those who mirror the Old Bon as recorded.
Firstly I would think that it would be severely deluded to say that Tibetan Vajrayana would not have been influenced to some degree by Bon practices. A certain degree of syncretism always comes into play whenever a new semiological system comes into contact with an pre-existing one How could you explain new concepts if not by using similies that draw from concepts in the existing system?

That is just on the level of language.

When Padmasambhava tamed local spirits/deities he made them take vows to protect Buddhism and Buddhist practitioners. Do you believe that the practices associated with these deities and spirits stopped being practiced? Now, apart from animal (and human) sacrifice which is 100% out of the question for Buddhists, are you under the impression that large portions of the practices were not then absorbed directly into Tibetan Vajrayana practice?

If one looks at and compares Buddhist practice in Thailand, China and Japan (I use these examples as I am kindda familiar with the practices in these countries) you will see a common thread underlying the inner qualities of the practice, but the outer trappings of the practices differ significantly (and even the adoption of existing deities and their practices) and this is a direct outcome of the influences of the existing traditions of Taoism, Shinto, Hindusim and "folk" religions that existed in each of these countries. What could possibly make you believe that the same thing did not happen in Tibet?
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Sherab » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:40 am

Sherab wrote:
Caz wrote:Just want to add as well no genuine student of Padmasambhava would incorperate into the cirriculum something from Bon,

Do you differentiate between new Bon and old Bon?

Caz, I was concerned that this part of your statement "no genuine student of Padmasambhava.. etc." might be a tad too sweeping.
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Tilopa » Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:27 am

Firstly I would think that it would be severely deluded to say that Tibetan Vajrayana would not have been influenced to some degree by Bon practices.
Of course TB is influenced by Bon and as you correctly say, how could it be otherwise?
When Padmasambhava tamed local spirits/deities he made them take vows to protect Buddhism and Buddhist practitioners. Do you believe that the practices associated with these deities and spirits stopped being practiced?
Obviously not as no other Buddhist tradition emphasises the propitiation of spirits and protectors in the way Tibetans do. Unfortunately the line between authentic dharma practice and shamanism sometimes gets a bit blurred and imho one of the great challenges facing western practitioners of Vajrayana is to accurately discern what is dharma and what is Indo-Tibetan cultural baggage which can be safely discarded. Not an easy task.
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Caz » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:54 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Caz wrote:Just want to add as well no genuine student of Padmasambhava would incorperate into the cirriculum something from Bon, Even up untill the turn of last century when people where turning up in mass for Je Pabongkhas teachings there where recorded actions of Animal sacrifces on behalf of those who say they are practising Bon...probley not the monastics of the New Bon but non the less those who mirror the Old Bon as recorded.
Firstly I would think that it would be severely deluded to say that Tibetan Vajrayana would not have been influenced to some degree by Bon practices. A certain degree of syncretism always comes into play whenever a new semiological system comes into contact with an pre-existing one How could you explain new concepts if not by using similies that draw from concepts in the existing system?

That is just on the level of language.

When Padmasambhava tamed local spirits/deities he made them take vows to protect Buddhism and Buddhist practitioners. Do you believe that the practices associated with these deities and spirits stopped being practiced? Now, apart from animal (and human) sacrifice which is 100% out of the question for Buddhists, are you under the impression that large portions of the practices were not then absorbed directly into Tibetan Vajrayana practice?

If one looks at and compares Buddhist practice in Thailand, China and Japan (I use these examples as I am kindda familiar with the practices in these countries) you will see a common thread underlying the inner qualities of the practice, but the outer trappings of the practices differ significantly (and even the adoption of existing deities and their practices) and this is a direct outcome of the influences of the existing traditions of Taoism, Shinto, Hindusim and "folk" religions that existed in each of these countries. What could possibly make you believe that the same thing did not happen in Tibet?
:namaste:


It would more or less be the other way around Bon is more influenced by Buddhism, Dont forget that various ritualistic practises also came from India as well so it would be no suprise if there was an imminate similarity between certain Bon rituals and certain Indian Buddhist rituals but it doesnt mean one took from the other.
For Buddhism in Tibet to become influenced towards Bon would make it degenerate wouldnt you agree ? why would one co-opt practise from such a beleif system when the very first buddhists in tibet had the great teacher Padmasambhava to instruct them on the various stages clearly and without fault of understanding ?
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Caz » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:57 pm

Sherab wrote:
Sherab wrote:
Caz wrote:Just want to add as well no genuine student of Padmasambhava would incorperate into the cirriculum something from Bon,

Do you differentiate between new Bon and old Bon?

Caz, I was concerned that this part of your statement "no genuine student of Padmasambhava.. etc." might be a tad too sweeping.


I dont think so many practitoners have such strong guru devotion why would they wish to sully the great Padmasambhavas teachings with Bon practise ? :jawdrop:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

Liberation in the Palm of your hand~Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche.
Caz
 
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby conebeckham » Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:06 pm

There's no doubt, Caz, that Tibetan Vajrayana incorporated, and transformed, certain indigenous rites and rituals found in pre-Buddhist Tibet. This is, after all, part of the essence of Vajrayana--to take everything one finds onto the path. Guru Rinpoche was able to subjugate the various "demons" of Tibet due to his Siddhi--he was able to transform what he found into the path of Dharma.

There are aspects of the Tibetan traditions that you would not find in India before the Dharma entered Tibet.

Also, the "Bon" of the present day has without doubt shaped itself largely from the Vajrayana systems and traditions brought to Tibet from India.
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Zenda » Thu Mar 17, 2011 6:36 pm

I always bristle a bit when people start talking about Bon and Buddhism. I've received teachings in both traditions (although I am far from a scholar in either tradition) and my experience is that they are much closer than most people realize. Alex Berzin has a great piece on the history of Dzogchen and Bon (http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... gchen.html).


And Caz, it may interest you to know that Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo was a great scholar of Bon and had many Bonpo students... http://khyentsefoundation.com/about/lineage/
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby conebeckham » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:01 pm

..I'd recommend Chogyal Namkhai Norbu's writings on Bon, as well......
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:39 pm

conebeckham wrote:..I'd recommend Chogyal Namkhai Norbu's writings on Bon, as well......
I'd reccomend his writings on any topic! What a guy! :twothumbsup:
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:00 pm

Caz wrote:It would more or less be the other way around Bon is more influenced by Buddhism, Dont forget that various ritualistic practises also came from India as well so it would be no suprise if there was an imminate similarity between certain Bon rituals and certain Indian Buddhist rituals but it doesnt mean one took from the other.
This is just plain ridiculous! There has not been a single form of Buddhism that has not been influenced by local practices. I mean even the common visual representations of Buddhas image (especially statues) are based on ancient Hellenic forms. Sure, other cultures made statues too, and a statue is a statue, but the the form used for representing the Buddha is clearly influenced by the Hellenic aesthetic. So, if Buddhism could utilise visual forms based on a non-Buddhist cultural heritage in order to convey the beauty and poise of a Buddha what makes you think that a non-Buddhist ritual practice can not be utilised in the same manner? Why, for example, couldn't a Buddhist liturgy be based on Byzantine chant meters? Why couldn't you use a Catholic chalice and plate for serkyem offerings? What is the origin of the serkyem and its use in offering anyway? Why would it necessarily "degenerate" Buddhism? It seems you have a narrow and skewedly orthodox perspective of what Buddhist practice is or is not! So if a Thai Buddhist uses practices aimed at propriating Hanuman as a Buddhist protector practice they are degenerating Buddhist practice? When the Bactiran Greeks sculpted Vajrapani in the form of Hercules they were degenerating Buddhist practice? Or maybe both are/were just using forms and rituals which were familiar to them in order to strengthen their trust in Buddhism?
Anyway, whose Buddhist practice is not "degenerate"? You really believe there is somebody out there practicing a Buddhism which is THE Buddhism?
Extremely bloody unlikely mate!
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby mañjughoṣamaṇi » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:28 pm

Hello,

conebeckham wrote:..I'd recommend Chogyal Namkhai Norbu's writings on Bon, as well......


The result of his research was a belief that the 'authentic' pre-Buddhist Bön is to be found almost entirely in their causal vehicle and consisted of propitiation rituals. This is written in Drung, Deu and Bön.

Wishing you all the best.
སེམས་རྣམ་པར་གྲོལ་བར་བྱའི་ཕྱིར་བྱམས་པ་བསྒོམ་པར་བྱའོ།
“In order to completely liberate the mind, cultivate loving kindness.” -- Maitribhāvana Sūtra
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby Zenda » Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:47 pm

conebeckham wrote:..I'd recommend Chogyal Namkhai Norbu's writings on Bon, as well......


Thanks! Will definitely check this out... :twothumbsup:
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Re: "Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism"

Postby ground » Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:13 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
conebeckham wrote:..I'd recommend Chogyal Namkhai Norbu's writings on Bon, as well......
I'd reccomend his writings on any topic! What a guy! :twothumbsup:
:namaste:


Well tibetans may be a good source as far as tibetan topics, tibetan schools, tibetan views are concerned but I would be very reluctant to recommend tibetan teachers as far as schools are concerned that they never had the opportunity to directly contact, that were never transmitted into tibet.

Kind regards
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