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Monday, August 5th, 2013

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Bon Religion

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

The Bon religion is said to be the native religion or indigenous religion of Tibet however it has also received influence from Iran and India as well. Moreover there are many similarities between the Bon religion and Tibetan Buddhism as they have a shared history of integrated practices and beliefs. I have previously written about Tibetan Buddhism at

Tibetan Buddhism

Another dimension to the religious expression of this group comes as it has been referenced as the no name or nameless religion which carries the popular beliefs of Chinese Folk or Chinese Traditional religion. I have also written a post about this as well in relating the folklore of superstitious beliefs towards their numerous deities and household gods.

Chinese Folk Religion

To begin with in comparing Tibetan Buddhism with Bon there are perhaps only minor nuances or differentiations which perhaps to the outsider would be unrecognizable such as how one spins the prayer wheel or circumambulates an object. In addition to these there are also some variations concerning the worship of different deities as well as the use of other mantras and texts. However overall they follow the same path of virtue as using familiar meditational practices and beliefs. Thus their philosophy, monastic life, ritual and iconic conventions and vocabulary are very similar as well as they use the same religious ideals and goals and are considered by some as just another school or expression within Tibetan Buddhism. Therefore I am wondering if Tibetan Buddhism is mostly in agreement with Bon with only minor distinctions separating them then what essentially sets their methodology and lifestyle apart as the holders of ultimate truth as to reach enlightenment with it syncretism of Buddhist philosophy? How are they reassured that these minor peccadilloes are really the difference towards reaching Buddhahood as being in the right vehicle on the right path of life?

Furthermore it is hard to reconstruct what was authentically Bon because there is only fragmentary evidence that survived prior to the 9th and 10th centuries as most everything postdates Buddhism. Much of what made up the earliest bon or pre-bon religion does not exist today in its purest form but has become a conglomeration of pluralism with a mixture of primitive Animism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Folk Religion, Shamanism, Vajrayana and is difficult to authenticate the ancient original movement.

Therefore Bon has been largely reduced and marginalized and though it is still considered a living religion it is nearing extinction as being swept into oblivion as only existing as trace elements of other religious expressions and past historical records. In summary this all stands in contrast to the missionary statement of its founder who pledged to the god of compassion, Shenla Odkar, that he would guide the people of this world to liberation. Yet is this happening today on a global and universal scale? How ironic is it for such an important religion which signifies an adherence to the eternal unchanging truth and reality as repositories of ultimate spiritual experience and knowledge to remain largely inaccessible to the world as they refrain from proselytizing as keeping their beliefs within the confines of their society which is not consistent with their philosophy nor compassionate towards their fellow-man to hide such revelatory knowledge of enlightenment. In the beginning it was intended to be a universal religion as they claimed that their doctrines are true and valid for all of humanity but has failed to live up to their theory with a small or minimal following in respect to global populations.

Moreover it has never had any kind of world impact through its three development stages which should be a commentary on the legitimacy of its truth claims as they have embraced a cultural lie that has kept these precious people isolated and enshrouded in the darkness while masquerading itself as light. Thus there is no significant evidence to support the validity or truthfulness of this religious expression as being necessary and essential to achieving spiritual elitism. Even though they may be sincere in their approach towards spirituality this does not equate them as being sincerely right.

Anyway my next point is regarding the legitimacy of the treasure holders. Bon’s sacred text are attained by a very gnostic or mystical approach which may have been in part the invention of shamans as they were creative storytellers in developing narratives. This reminds me of Mormonism as these treasure texts were thought to have been hidden as earth treasures in physical objects such as underground caves or even walled up in certain temples until they could be later rediscovered by supernatural beings who would direct the treasure finder to the site. Later treasure texts would also be revealed through mental transference from divine beings. The treasure often came in the form of a vision/dream or by a small scroll of paper which contained a few cryptic linguistic indications of which the individual would struggle with in decoding the initial treasure signs using esoteric yoga practices and skills. Thus this process brings the treasure hunter in contact with an authoritative teacher or Bon Po Master from the past that originally concealed the matter.

Additionally these chosen individuals would be preoccupied as having religious ideations in reading the signs of their lives as examining their body as containing special markings and patterns on their skin. They would further use their surroundings to pick up signals as evidence that would justify their prophetic texts as showing that they were a disciple of the original concealer in a past life. Thus these religious impostors acted deceptively to give their texts the aura of authenticity with an antique pedigree of religious power.

This also contributed to the success and draw of this whole program which was based on the popularity of the individual as to their charisma and personal power which added to the believability of the text however truth is independent of the cult of personality as it exists apart from human personages. At one time even Tibetan Buddhists criticized the legitimacy of this practice as rightfully seeing it as an opportunity for others to distinguish themselves towards self-advancement.

Also these treasure texts constituted a way to formulate new teachings as modern day Bon is evolutionary in adapting and accommodating to various audiences as a reactionary response towards survival as well as meeting their own needs. Which is contrary to truth which is firmly established apart from the relevancy of subjective human endeavors which can be transitory and shifting as being remolded based on the frailty of our own whims apart from objective truth. Thus what does truth have to do with their personal input as it stands and falls based on its own merit apart from human influence as a transcendental reality superseding human intervention? In other words truth leads and we as rational humans should follow rather than trying to make our own way.

Some of the other questionable behaviors within this religious worldview is their occultic involvement in adapting a way to feed the imagination to demolish the barriers between dreams and reality in opening windows to the unseen world of the paranormal or spiritual realm. This striving to breach the gap between the physical and supernatural realm does not necessarily correlate experience with absolute truth as correctly discerning the nature of such encounters which could be more harmful than helpful in their spiritual quest for knowledge. Therefore shamans, divinations, superstition, magic, mysticism, esotericism, prognostication, sortilege, astrology and fortune-telling can all fail to be liberating as leading to bondage in imprisoning the practitioner to the demonic realm.

Also modern-day Bon is steeped in the legend of folklore that surrounds the character of their founder known by different names and titles such as Tonpa Shenrab, Shenrab  Miwo,  Buddha Shenrab, Guru Shenrab, Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche, Lord Shenrab Miwo, etc. who supposedly established the Bon religion while searching for a horse stolen by a demon and who existed nearly 20,000 years ago. He is considered to be the Buddha of this age and yet there is no real proof or evidence concerning the historicity of his character or person along with the presumptuous attribution towards his alleged texts. Even though the literature may be quite old it does not even come close to the time of his life at which point if civilization did exist it would be entirely dependent on oral traditions which over such a lengthy period of time would be unreliable and more than likely lost and subsequently embellished. The oldest known language goes back no farther than 6000 years which is consistent with the biblical model of mankind’s existence. Therefore why entrust your whole life to an ideology which may have been merely fabricated, devised or made up in elevating him as a demigod when in reality, if real, was no more than a mere mortal and is mistakenly deified  just like Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama, who at best was agnostic in his teachings. Therefore I would ask you to seriously question the life of this person which you have entrusted and abandoned your soul to. Nonetheless I know it is difficult to think and imagine that your entire upbringing and culture is living in error and yet it has been proven in light of world history that entire civilizations have lived in falsehood which shows that humans are prone and susceptible to fallibility. Therefore I would ask that you be open to other possibilities, not as a betrayal to your people but rather as a new venture or opportunity as determining to follow the facts wherever it may lead you even if it is outside the cultural barriers which you have fortified in your heart.

In summary maybe you have had your doubts or been disquieted  regarding your religious culture as whether or not the human efforts of merit which attempts to attain enlightenment through the self-effort of performing the arduous tasks of prayer, diligence, devotion, meditation, rituals, rites, mantras, mechanical manipulation of prayers flags and prayer wheels, pilgrimages and journey’s to certain holy places such as Mount Kailash or Bon Ri as really being the right way or path towards achieving bliss.  After all how can it be known and measured in respect to how long and how much it takes to obtain a sense of spiritual fulfillment? Thus it potentially becomes an endless and cyclical journey as perhaps leading to nowhere.

In closing all I ask is for you to be open to another Eastern Asiatic religion and  I would like to make a statement and proclamation which if adhered to will be truly liberating in declaring Jesus as the divine king and supreme mediator between God and mankind as giving us everything we need for life and godliness. Moreover Jesus came down from the Father of compassion and revealed Himself to mankind as the Light of the World in being the Way, Truth and Life. He opened the doors of heaven by closing the gates of hell as overcoming the enemy of our soul in defeating death and darkness over human immorality and demonic influences/forces. He has given the enlightenment of eternal life as a gift not through the means of human efforts as inevitably everyone to some degree or another is an underachiever to perfection and yet in the perfect work of Christ the Lord He has declared His followers legally justified through His substitutionary work as identifying us as partakers of His righteousness as being in a mutual relationship whereby we are mysteriously made one with Him. This ultimately results in  an eternal inheritance as trusting His work of redemption as He gave His life as a sacrifice on behalf of all those who call upon His name resulting in the absolution and remission of sin, guilt and shame; which otherwise speaks of impending judgment. It is Jesus alone who is able to cleanse you and fill your heart, soul and mind with His love.

Conclusively it is by the grace of God and not merely human determination or will that He bestows eternal righteousness and who sends to the believer the enduring and indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who regenerates and transforms a person enabling them to change into living a holy and pure lifestyle. This evidence has been my testimony and that of many millions of followers as confirming this reality and all I ask it for you to be open in meditation by sincerely asking God to reveal or guide you concerning the truth regarding Jesus so as to believe upon Him. What do you have to lose but rather you have much to gain?



28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”




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Other links 




Encyclopedia of Religion Second Edition, copyright 2005 Thomson Gale a part of The Thomson Corporation, Lindsay Jones Editor in Chief, Vol.2, pgs.1007-1010, Per Kvaerne

Encyclopedia of Religion Second Edition, copyright 2005 Thomson Gale a part of The Thomson Corporation, Lindsay Jones Editor in Chief, Vol.2, pgs.1150-1151, Matthew T. Capstan

Encyclopedia of Religion Second Edition, copyright 2005 Thomson Gale a part of The Thomson Corporation, Lindsay Jones Editor in Chief, Vol.12, pg.8273, Mircea Eliade

Encyclopedia of Religion Second Edition, copyright 2005 Thomson Gale a part of The Thomson Corporation, Lindsay Jones Editor in Chief, Vol.13, pgs. 9182 & 9186, Per Kvaerne

Encyclopedia of Religion Second Edition, copyright 2005 Thomson Gale a part of The Thomson Corporation, Lindsay Jones Editor in Chief, Vol.14, pg. 9333, Janet Gyatso

Religions of the world: a comprehensive encyclopedia of beliefs and practices/ J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann, editors; Todd M. Johnson, World Religious Statistics; Donald Wiebe, Introduction-2nd ed., Copyright 2010 by ABC-CLIO, LLC. Reproduced with permission of ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, CA.

Encyclopaedia Britannica,Inc., copyright 1993, Vol.2, pg.350, Bon

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text Edition: 2007