Many people’s lives in Tibet are dedicated to Tibetan Buddhism, but why is Tibetan Buddhism so different from other forms of Buddhism? Mantras, Mandalas, flags.

What is influenced Tibetan Buddhism was the ancient religion of Tibet Bön.

What is it?

It is characterized by mystic rituals, spells, sacrifices, and spirit manipulation and involves much emphasis on meditative practice. There is a tremendous amount in common between the Bon religion and Tibetan Buddhism. Bon also talks about enlightenment, attaining enlightenment, Buddhas, and so on. Bon has a tradition of debate, exactly as the Tibetan Buddhist traditions do.

Tibetan Prayer flags as well as prayer wheels, sky burials, spirit traps, festival dances, and rubbing holy stones also come from Bon.

Bön ritual which we can see in Tibetan Buddhism now includes worship, iconography, and meditation on peaceful and wrathful deities.

Today, Bön can be found in the more isolated parts of northern and western Tibet, as well as in exile at the Tashi Menri Ling Monastery in Dolanji in Himachal Pradesh, India. The former leader of Bön is His Holiness Lungtok Tenpai Nyima.

New Head of Bön Tradition Enthroned

The 34th Menri Trizin was enthroned on 6 September 2018 as the new spiritual leader of the Bön tradition.

However, Tibetans still differentiate between Bon and Buddhism, referring to members of the Nyingma, Shakya, Kagyu, and Gelug schools as nangpa, meaning “insiders”, but to practitioners of Bon as “Bonpo”, or even chipa(“outsiders”).