Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby ngodrup » Tue May 28, 2013 3:56 pm

Greg,
The reason I'm interested in the approval of Je Tsongkhapa of Bon,
is simply because some allege that he disapproved. Je Tsongkhapa's
innovative ideas are very important whether one agrees with them or not.
Certainly some people associated with his lineage have a few axes to grind.
But, I think maybe they don't know the 25 volumes of his Sung Bum very well.
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby pemachophel » Tue May 28, 2013 4:07 pm

Mutsuk & Ngodrup,

Thanks for posting information on famous Buddhist Teachers acceptance of Bon teachings and Teachers. Some of my Teachers have been open to and praised Bon teachings and practice. Others have been more narrowly sectarian. One of my close family members is supposedly a Bon tulku (a student of Shardza Rinpoche) and I have never known quite what to make of this. Your information makes me less, what to say?, uncomfortable? with this. So thanks again. It was very useful to me.

:namaste:
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby Dharmaswede » Tue May 28, 2013 7:15 pm

:soapbox:
mutsuk wrote:Sorry but none of them are academic historians, I have personally huge reservations about most of their views on Bon.
.


So not being an academic historian automatically disqualifies a person as being an authority on a subject, or a source of valid knowledge? How do you define an academic historian?

Best Regards,

Jens
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue May 28, 2013 8:58 pm

He said that NONE of them are academic historians thus...
"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."
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby mutsuk » Tue May 28, 2013 10:14 pm

Dharmaswede wrote:So not being an academic historian automatically disqualifies a person as being an authority on a subject, or a source of valid knowledge?


Not really, but this is why I have huge reservations regarding their capacity to apprehend history without a partisan mind. Reynolds and Wangyel believe in the 18000 year theory, which shows they have no knowledge of ancient history at all. Believing in 14th century works elaborated in order to re-write a posteriori the early events (pre-dynastic and dynastic) is not very serious to me. Norbu Rinpoche's approach of academic discussion is also limited by his belief in late sources as giving a faithful picture of early dynastic events. But Tucci certainly succeeded in generating in him a more critical (in both connotations) capacity. These people however do not take into account the earliest documents nor the academic discoveries. This also includes Yongdzin Rinpoche who, despite having a knowledge which I believe is unequalled on the given subject, does not read the academic literature nor does he believe it is interesting to do so. In particular, the JV Bellezza paper mentioned earlier in the thread is a terribly important early document which cannot be by-passed in a finger-snap because it does fit with the later tradition or accounts. It could change the picture of Bon for ever...

How do you define an academic historian?


I'm sure you can deduce that from the above.

gregkavarnos wrote:He said that NONE of them are academic historians thus...


"She said...", I am a she... Thanks Greg!
Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Wed May 29, 2013 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Ooooops, hit edit instead of quote!
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby Namgyal » Wed May 29, 2013 1:13 am

mutsuk wrote:Well, my references are Dan Martin, Henk Blezer, Samten Karmay, Charles Ramble, Jean-Luc Achard and a few others. They are leading scholars in Bon studies

Apart from Samten Karmay, who supports Per Kvaerne's view, I've never heard of any of these scholars, except Charles Ramble. It makes no sense to dismiss Dr. Donatella Rossi, a well-known expert on Bon, in favour of Charles Ramble who knows next to nothing about the subject. In any event you can't rack up a few academic minnows to oppose a scholarly whale like Dr. Kvaerne. His position is that Bon is quite separate from Buddhism.
Konchog1 wrote:''..never do that which does not accord with the three jewels, such as relying on the Bon Religion...''
(Tsongkhapa)

As discussed earlier in the thread Bon has Four Jewels, so this is not a criticism of Bon from Je Tsongkhapa. His Holiness the Thirteenth Dalai Lama was a shining example of His lineage, as is the present Fourteenth. In such fortunate incarnations Gyalwa Rinpoche traditionally takes over the entire Gelug sect, and for all Gelugpa his word is law.
According to His Holiness, Bon is an excellant spiritual tradition and an ancestral treasure of Tibet.
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby Konchog1 » Wed May 29, 2013 3:29 am

Namgyal wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:''..never do that which does not accord with the three jewels, such as relying on the Bon Religion...''
(Tsongkhapa)

As discussed earlier in the thread Bon has Four Jewels, so this is not a criticism of Bon from Je Tsongkhapa. His Holiness the Thirteenth Dalai Lama was a shining example of His lineage, as is the present Fourteenth. In such fortunate incarnations Gyalwa Rinpoche traditionally takes over the entire Gelug sect, and for all Gelugpa his word is law.
According to His Holiness, Bon is an excellant spiritual tradition and an ancestral treasure of Tibet.
Konchog1 wrote:I think this may be the point of confusion:
Where does the lineage of Bon arise from ? The Dark magics of evil doers and powerful forces such as the Naga's this was the original Bon that has been suppressed to an extent but by accounts it does still exist in the outskirts of distant places.
Bon today is heavily influenced by Buddhism to the point where even the Dalai Lama states that it's Buddhist enough to take refuge in. However, the Bon that Padmasambhava, the Dharma kings, Milarepa, Jigten Sumgon, and Phabongkha attacked as non-Buddhist was the original shamanist Bon, which of course breaks your refuge vow if you practice it.
As for HHDL, who I believe is a living Buddha, he isn't the head of the Gelug. The Ganden Tripa is. And the Ganden Tripa derives his authority from the unbroken lineage of Ganden Tripas going back to the heart sons of Lord Tsongkhapa who created the position after Lord Tsongkhapa's death to lead to school in his place.

HHDL is the secular leader of Tibetans.
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"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby Namgyal » Wed May 29, 2013 4:53 am

Konchog1 wrote:...Dalai Lama states that it's Buddhist enough to take refuge in...
Please post a copy of this statement.
Konchog1 wrote:...non-Buddhist was the original shamanist Bon, which of course breaks your refuge vow...
'...Given the lack of written resources on the Bon tradition from pre-Buddhist Tibet and the clear and powerful influence Buddhism has had on the Bon traditions over the past thirteen hundred years, it seems unlikely we
will ever have a clear picture of the tradition and its views before the advent of Buddhism...'(Rossi)
Furthermore, just like Chinese religion Bon is syncretistic so its impossible to precisely separate out its components. 'Black', 'white', 'ever-lasting' and so forth are just conveniant terms. The refuge conflict for Buddhists is simply because it has an alternate focus, not because it is inferior.
'...Concepts of sacred history and sources of religious authority are, however, radically different and justify the claim of the Bonpos to constitute an entirely distinct religious community.'(Kvaerne)
The Bodhisattva Vow exists on countless worlds in different forms and it is also included in Bon, so if you disparage their excellant spiritual path you will also damage your own.
Konchog1 wrote:...he isn't the head of the Gelug. The Ganden Tripa is. And the Ganden Tripa derives his authority from...
Who has more 'authority' Ganden Rinpoche or Gyalwa Rinpoche?
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby Konchog1 » Wed May 29, 2013 5:24 am

Namgyal wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:...Dalai Lama states that it's Buddhist enough to take refuge in...
Please post a copy of this statement.
Konchog1 wrote:...non-Buddhist was the original shamanist Bon, which of course breaks your refuge vow...
'...Given the lack of written resources on the Bon tradition from pre-Buddhist Tibet and the clear and powerful influence Buddhism has had on the Bon traditions over the past thirteen hundred years, it seems unlikely we
will ever have a clear picture of the tradition and its views before the advent of Buddhism...'(Rossi)
Furthermore, just like Chinese religion Bon is syncretistic so its impossible to precisely separate out its components. 'Black', 'white', 'ever-lasting' and so forth are just conveniant terms. The refuge conflict for Buddhists is simply because it has an alternate focus, not because it is inferior.
'...Concepts of sacred history and sources of religious authority are, however, radically different and justify the claim of the Bonpos to constitute an entirely distinct religious community.'(Kvaerne)
The Bodhisattva Vow exists on countless worlds in different forms and it is also included in Bon, so if you disparage their excellant spiritual path you will also damage your own.
Konchog1 wrote:...he isn't the head of the Gelug. The Ganden Tripa is. And the Ganden Tripa derives his authority from...
Who has more 'authority' Ganden Rinpoche or Gyalwa Rinpoche?
If HHDL took refuge in a non-Buddhist tradition he would break his refuge vows. He would never do that therefore, modern Bon is Buddhist enough is be a refuge for Buddhists.

Either Trisong Detsen, Shantarakshita, Padmasambhava, Atisha and so forth were bigots who opposed other Buddhists or the Bon of their days were fundamentally different than the Bon of today.

The Ganden Tripa does. In the same manner the Karmapa does for his followers. Certainly HHDL is more well known and his actions and words carry great weight, but he is not a religious leader.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby Namgyal » Wed May 29, 2013 5:34 am

Konchog1 wrote:If HHDL took refuge in a non-Buddhist tradition he would break his refuge vows. He would never do that therefore, modern Bon is Buddhist enough is be a refuge for Buddhists.
That would only be true if all Buddhists were the same as His Holiness.
Konchog1 wrote:Either Trisong Detsen, Shantarakshita, Padmasambhava, Atisha and so forth were bigots who opposed other Buddhists or the Bon of their days were fundamentally different than the Bon of today.
No one knows for sure anyway...
Konchog1 wrote:Certainly HHDL is more well known and his actions and words carry great weight, but he is not a religious leader.
Who gives orders to whom?
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby ngodrup » Wed May 29, 2013 6:41 am

Konchog wrote:
"Certainly HHDL is more well known and his actions and words carry great weight, but he is not a religious leader."
to which Namgyal says "He is a secular leader"

Both of these are patently wrong. HHDL is the #1 Tulku and a Guru to nearly every single lineage-holder of all
orders of Buddhism -- as well as for Bonpos. It is well known that the second most important Tulku is the Panchen.
You bet that one religious in religious matters, his word is authoritative. Although no one is required to adopt his
POV, they certainly don't contradict him on the basis or flawless reason, or on the basis of samaya, Of course,
this important scholar-monk, by tradition has for 370 years now had a political role *in addition* to his religious role.
Since May of 2011 all political authority has been vested in the elected Kalon Tripa. HHDL is still the #1 authority
in Buddhist doctrine.

Also, as noted above, Guru Rinpoche did not oppose Bon, he "further established" whatever Bon that was holding
correct view. As King Trisong Detsen and Shantarakshita were disciples of the second Buddha, there's no possibility
that they opposed Bon categorically. The too, must have encouraged and propagated whatever was harmonious with
Buddhadharma.
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby mutsuk » Wed May 29, 2013 7:52 am

Namgyal wrote:Apart from Samten Karmay, who supports Per Kvaerne's view, I've never heard of any of these scholars, except Charles Ramble.

You simply display the fact that you know next to nothing to the tibetological literature. Martin, Blezer and Achard are the leading scholars on the field, together with JM Desjardins and a few others. Karmay and Kvaerne have retired since quite some time. Research on Bon based on the works of the three scholars mentioned above has made huge progress since Karmay and Kvaerne.

It makes no sense to dismiss Dr. Donatella Rossi, a well-known expert on Bon, in favour of Charles Ramble who knows next to nothing about the subject.

Rossi is not an historian (to say the least!) and I would not say she is an expert in Bon at all. On the contrary Charles Ramble has been working on Bon texts for ages. Your arrogance cannot hide your ignorance. And it makes perfect sense to dismiss Rossi from the list because her work is of low quality in terms of academic standards. Her "PhD" would never have been accepted in France for instance, it's at best an MA (and not even...)

In any event you can't rack up a few academic minnows

Minnows? Your ignorance is shocking.

to oppose a scholarly whale like Dr. Kvaerne. His position is that Bon is quite separate from Buddhism.

Well, that's his position. I guess he's the only one still maintaining that then. And it seems clear you have not been to a Bon monastery or studied their curriculum. But you come here and vomit your ignorance. You got guts, sure, but they are smelly.

As discussed earlier in the thread Bon has Four Jewels,

Sure, the fourth jewel is the Guru. It does not qualify as a non-buddhist device...
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby Sherlock » Wed May 29, 2013 8:30 am

The Bon-Gelug link is very interesting Mutsuk, thanks for explaining that. Could that also explain how the story of two Padmasambhavas exist in both Bon and Gelug?

Vegetarianism is a basic vow in Bon?
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 29, 2013 8:43 am

mutsuk wrote:"She said...", I am a she... Thanks Greg!
Ooooops, sorry! For some reason (old age and excessive abuses as a young person) I confounded you with another member (that is a "he"). Sorry! :emb:
"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: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby mutsuk » Wed May 29, 2013 8:43 am

Sherlock wrote:The Bon-Gelug link is very interesting Mutsuk, thanks for explaining that.

Happy that it helps.
Could that also explain how the story of two Padmasambhavas exist in both Bon and Gelug?

Two GRs? Do you mean the New Bon version of GR and the Nyingma version ? I am not following here... There are huge debates in between Bon and New Bon regarding GR, the problem is not solved between them, if that is what you are referring here. Yongdzin Rinpoche's opinion has fluctuated on this over the years and he has come to a new conclusion now.

Vegetarianism is a basic vow in Bon?

It is generally, but you still have monks eating meat for personal choice or medical reasons. HH the Abbot has for instance never eaten meat in this life and never touched alcohol. Shardza would only eat meat from an accidentally killed animal (like a sheep or yack having fallen from a cliff, etc.). Their special vow not to touch alcohol has pushed some masters, with pretty good reason, to avoid alcohol during tsok and initiations and to use "real" amrita instead. This is the case for HH the Abbot, Shardza, Namkhai Nyingpo, etc. Yongdzin Rinpoche had been eating meat throughout most of his life, before he moved to strick vegetarianism now (for the past 10 years more or less).
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby mutsuk » Wed May 29, 2013 8:44 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Ooooops, sorry! For some reason (old age and excessive abuses as a young person) I confounded you with another member (that is a "he"). Sorry! :emb:

No problem at all! :anjali:
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 29, 2013 8:50 am

Konchog1 wrote:...or the Bon of their days were fundamentally different than the Bon of today.
This is probably the most likely of the two options you proposed. That is why we must "judge" the validity of Bon in the form it currently has rather than its historical form. This is not to say that we should not be critical of its early forms, but we must realise that the practices which drew criticism "way back then" are no longer currently extant in the mainstream tradition. It would be like judging Angulimala or Milarepa for what they were, and not for what they became.
"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."
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed May 29, 2013 8:52 am

Namgyal wrote:Furthermore, just like Chinese religion Bon is syncretistic so its impossible to precisely separate out its components.
And Vajrayana Buddhism is not??? :shrug:
"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."
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby Dharmaswede » Wed May 29, 2013 11:21 am

Thank you for your reply.

mutsuk wrote:
Dharmaswede wrote:So not being an academic historian automatically disqualifies a person as being an authority on a subject, or a source of valid knowledge?


mutsuk wrote:Not really, but this is why I have huge reservations regarding their capacity to apprehend history without a partisan mind.


Fair enough, thank you for the clarification.

mutsuk wrote: Reynolds and Wangyel believe in the 18000 year theory, which shows they have no knowledge of ancient history at all. Believing in 14th century works elaborated in order to re-write a posteriori the early events (pre-dynastic and dynastic) is not very serious to me. Norbu Rinpoche's approach of academic discussion is also limited by his belief in late sources as giving a faithful picture of early dynastic events. But Tucci certainly succeeded in generating in him a more critical (in both connotations) capacity. These people however do not take into account the earliest documents nor the academic discoveries. This also includes Yongdzin Rinpoche who, despite having a knowledge which I believe is unequalled on the given subject, does not read the academic literature nor does he believe it is interesting to do so. In particular, the JV Bellezza paper mentioned earlier in the thread is a terribly important early document which cannot be by-passed in a finger-snap because it does fit with the later tradition or accounts. It could change the picture of Bon for ever...


This line of reasoning I have no problem with, since it focuses on the actual issues and contents of the discourse, and not the academic status (or lack thereof). That being said, academic status should admittedly stand or vouch for a certain capacity apprehension of facts.

Best Regards,

Jens
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Re: Buddhism & Bon: Practicing Both at Once?

Postby ngodrup » Wed May 29, 2013 4:01 pm

A Geshe of my acquaintance from Ganden says that there's not really much
we can say about what Bon practice is because what we do know is limited
mainly to what we have *outside Tibet.* Scholars have very little access to
Bonpos living inside Tibet.
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