Tonpa Shenrab (Tibetan : སྟོན་པ་གཤེན་རབ་མི་བོ་།, Wylie : ston pa gshen rab་ mi bo "Teacher Shenrab") or Shenrab Miwo (Wylie : gshen rab mi bo)—also called the Buddha Shenrab, Guru Shenrab and a number of other titles—is the legendary founder of the Bon tradition of Tibet.
[Shenrab Miwo] occupies a position very similar to that of Śākyamuni in Buddhism, but... we have no available [or pre-10th century] sources with which to establish his historicity, his dates, his racial origin, his activities, and the authenticity of the enormous number of books either attributed directly to him or believed to be his word."
The story of Tonpa Shenrab was revealed in a fourteenth century terma of Loden Nyingpo.
The name Shenrab Miwo is in the Zhang-Zhung language, which is a relative of Old Tibetan; while many suggestions have been put forward as to its meaning, it appears to be the Zhangzhung word "bodhisattva" (equivalent to Tibetan shégya sempa, Wylie : shes rgya sems dpa').
According to Bon doctrine, Tonpa Shenrab and lived 18,000 years ago, predating Gautama Buddha.Practitioners of Bon believe that he 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.
Like Gautama, Tönpa Shenrab was of royal birth. Tonpa Shenrab renounced his royal inheritance at the age of thirty-one to travel the path to enlightenment. Tonpa Shenrab embraced the life of a renunciate and commenced austerities, spreading the doctrine of Bon; at length, he arrived in the land of Zhangzhung near what is widely held to be Mount Kailash.
Accounts of Tonpa Shenrab's life are to be found in three principal sources, the Dodü (Wylie : mdo 'dus), Zermik (Wylie : gzer mig), and Ziji (Wylie : gzi brjid). The first and second of the accounts are held to be terma discovered by tertön in the 10th or 11th century; the third is part of the oral lineage (Wylie : snyan brgyud) transmitted from teacher to disciple.
Shenrab Miwoche is said to have three aspects or forms:
The founder of Bön is Tonpa Shenrab Miwo, who, according to Bön tradition, first brought the Bön teachings to what is now Western Tibet 18,000 years ago.
Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche , incarnated as a fully enlightened being, as foretold by Buddha Shakyamuni. Padmasambhava is considered the Second Buddha by the Nyingma school, the oldest Buddhist school in Tibet known as "the ancient ones". Around 767 he came to Tibet and helped construct Samye Monastery, the first Buddhist and Nyingma monastery in Tibet. Padmasambhava then revealed the Vajrayana of Tibetan Buddhism, with scholars, translators, and masters. His students in Tibet include the great master Yeshe Tsogyal and the "Twenty-Five King and Subjects".
Bon, also spelled Bön is considered to be the autochthonous religious tradition of Tibet. A distinction is sometimes made between:
The Kagyu, Kagyü, or Kagyud school, which translates to "Oral Lineage" or "Whispered Transmission" school, is one of the main schools of Himalayan or Tibetan Buddhism. The Kagyu lineages trace themselves back to the 11th century Indian Mahasiddhas Naropa, Maitripa and the yogini Niguma, via their student Marpa Lotsawa (1012–1097), who brought their teachings to Tibet. Marpa's student Milarepa was also an influential poet and teacher.
The dharmakāya is one of the three bodies (trikāya) of a buddha in Mahāyāna Buddhism. The dharmakāya constitutes the unmanifested, "inconceivable" (acintya) aspect of a buddha out of which buddhas arise and to which they return after their dissolution. Buddhas are manifestations of the dharmakāya called the nirmāṇakāya, "transformation body". Reginald Ray writes of it as "the body of reality itself, without specific, delimited form, wherein the Buddha is identified with the spiritually charged nature of everything that is."
Zhangzhung or Shangshung was an ancient culture and kingdom of western and northwestern Tibet, which pre-dates the culture of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet. Zhangzhung culture is associated with the Bon religion, which in turn, has influenced the philosophies and practices of Tibetan Buddhism. Zhangzhung people are mentioned frequently in ancient Tibetan texts as the original rulers of central and western Tibet. Only in the last two decades have archaeologists been given access to do archaeological work in the areas once ruled by the Zhangzhung.
Terma are various forms of hidden teachings that are key to Vajrayana and Tibetan Buddhist and Bon spiritual traditions. In the Vajrayana Nyingma school tradition, two lineages occur: an oral Kama lineage and a revealed Terma lineage. The Terma teachings were originally esoterically hidden by Vajrayana masters Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal (consorts) during the 8th century, for future discovery at auspicious times by treasure revealers, who are known as tertöns. As such, terma represent a tradition of continuous revelation in Vajrayana and Tibetan Buddhism. Termas are a part of tantric literature.
Samantabhadra is a bodhisattva in Buddhism associated with practice and meditation. Together with Gautama Buddha and the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī, he forms the Shakyamuni Triadin Mahayana Buddhism. He is the patron of the Lotus Sutra and, according to the Avatamsaka Sutra, made the ten great vows which are the basis of a bodhisattva. In Chinese Buddhism, Samantabhadra is known as Pǔxián and is associated with action, whereas Mañjuśrī is associated with prajñā. In Japan, this bodhisattva is known as Fugen, and is often venerated in Tendai and Shingon Buddhism, and as the protector of the Lotus Sutra by Nichiren Buddhism. In Sri lanka, he is known as Sumana Samana Deviyo and is considered as the guardian of the island of Sri Lanka.
The Nyingma school is the oldest of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by Vajrayana revealer Guru Padmasambhava. "Nyingma" literally means "ancient," and is often referred to as Ngangyur, "school of the ancient translations" or "old school". The Nyingma school is founded on the first translations of Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into Old Tibetan in the eighth century, during the reign of King Trisong Detsen. The Tibetan alphabet and grammar was created for this endeavour.
Vajradhāra is the ultimate primordial Buddha, or Adi Buddha, according to the Sakya, Gelug and Kagyu schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Tibetan Buddhist canon is a loosely defined collection of sacred texts recognized by various schools of Tibetan Buddhism, comprising the Kangyur or Kanjur and the Tengyur or Tanjur (Tengyur).
The Trikāya doctrine is a Mahayana Buddhist teaching on both the nature of reality and the nature of Buddhahood. The doctrine says that Buddha has three kāyas or bodies, the Dharmakāya, the Saṃbhogakāya, and the Nirmāṇakāya.
Zhang-Zhung is an extinct Sino-Tibetan language that was spoken in what is now western Tibet. It is attested in a bilingual text called A Cavern of Treasures and several shorter texts.
Lopön Tenzin Namdak is a Tibetan religious leader and the most senior teacher of Bon, in particular of Dzogchen and the Mother Tantras.
The Gankyil or "wheel of joy" is a symbol and ritual tool used in Tibetan and East Asian Buddhism. It is composed of three swirling and interconnected blades.
Palyul Monastery, also known as Palyul Namgyal Jangchub Choling Monastery and sometimes romanized as Pelyul Monastery, is one of the "Six Mother Monasteries" of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. It was founded in 1665 by Rigzin Kunzang Sherab in Dege, on the eastern edge of Tibet in Kham, a town in today's Baiyü County, Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China's Sichuan province. The monastery is the seat of the Nam Chö Terma of Terton Migyur Dorje. Drubwang Padma Norbu was the 11th throneholder of the Palyul lineage. Upon his mahaparinirvana in March, 2009, Karma Kuchen Rinpoche became the 12th throneholder.
The Three Vajras, namely "body, speech and mind", are a formulation within Vajrayana Buddhism and Bon that hold the full experience of the śūnyatā "emptiness" of Buddha-nature, void of all qualities and marks and establish a sound experiential key upon the continuum of the path to enlightenment. The Three Vajras correspond to the trikaya and therefore also have correspondences to the Three Roots and other refuge formulas of Tibetan Buddhism. The Three Vajras are viewed in twilight language as a form of the Three Jewels, which imply purity of action, speech and thought.
Buddha, meaning "Awakened one" or "Enlightened One", may refer to:
Shenlha Ökar or Shiwa Ökar is the most important deity in the Yungdrung Bon tradition of Tibet. He is counted among the "Four Transcendent Lords" along with Satrig Ersang, Sangpo Bumtri, and Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche.
Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen was a great Dzogchen master of the Bon tradition of Tibet who took not only Bon disciples, but gathered students from all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Bön Kangyur and Tengyur are collections of canonical texts of the Tibetan Bön religion. Like the Tibetan Buddhist canon, the Bönpo canon consists of two complementary collections: the Kangyur or translated word, consisting of 179 large volumes containing teachings attributed to Tonpa Shenrab, the legendary founder of the Bön religion; and the Tengyur containing commentaries on those teachings, as well as cycles of additional instructions, biographies, and rituals. These canonical texts were supposedly translated from original texts in the Zhang-Zhung language.