circling the sun on the roof of the world

The Bönpo: Pre Buddhist Culture of Tibet

Bon, is a Tibetan religion. Its relationship to Tibetan Buddhism has been a subject of debate. Early Western studies used the word to refer to the pre-Buddhist religion over which Buddhism triumphed. Hoffmann’s study of Bon characterized this religion as animism and shamanism, with influence from Gnosticism, Shaivism, and Buddhist tantras.  These include folk religious practices, cults surrounding royalty, and divination practices. In 1987 the Dalai Lama, forbade discrimination against the Bönpos, stating that it was both undemocratic and self-defeating. He even donned Bon ritual paraphernalia, emphasizing ‘the religious equality of the Bon faith’.