Historical Background

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Monday, 13 September 2010 14:42

Bön is the native spiritual and cultural tradition of Tibet and the Himalayan borderlands. It has come down to the present time in an unbroken lineage thousands of years old.



Since prehistoric times, Bön has played a significant role in the religious and cultural development of numerous peoples in Central Asia. Although there are many ancient traditions referred to as Bön, its most long-lasting and authentic form was propagated by the enlightened master Buddha Tonpa Shenrab. He taught an effective and all-encompassing system for developing an individual’s well being, based on the generation of wisdom and compassion.

Until the eighth century, when Tibet’s 38th king, Trisong Deutsan, was on the throne, Bön was the predominant religious culture over an extremely wide area of Asia. Even after the introduction of Buddhism, Bön continued to exert a powerful influence on the Tibetan nation and indeed, to this very day, it still permeates the language, customs, folklore, medicine, and architecture of Tibet and the surrounding regions.

This has been recognized by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama who emphasized “The importance of preserving the Bön tradition, as representing the indigenous source of Tibetan culture, and acknowledging the major role it has had in shaping Tibet’s unique identity”.

In particular, Bön occupies a very significant place in the cultural identity of the Great Himalayan Range of Nepal, Sikkim and northwestern India. Along with much of Tibet, these Himalayan regions belonged to a vast Bön kingdom known as Zhangzhung. Recent discoveries prove that Zhangzhung was one of Asia’s major Iron Age civilizations. Today scholars and practitioners from many countries in the world feel drawn to Bön because of the richness of its profound ancient knowledge and its unique spiritual practices for awakening the individual to the real nature and full meaning of life.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 September 2010 09:02 )

Contact address

Triten Norbutse Monastery
Ichangu - 6, Teenghare,
G.P.O. Box 4640
Katmandu, NEPAL
Tel: 977-1-4890229
Tel/Fax: 977-1-4890119
Email: triten@wlink.com.np or office@triten.org