Wednesday, September 26, 2012



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The Tibetan texts "Ziji" (gZi brid)(confidence) and "Zermig" (gZer mig)(Piercing Eye) are the two biographies of Shenrab Miwo .


Chogyam Trungpa.... Translation of the Name (1978):
Shen = divine, heavenly,ally..... Rab = Supreme One...... Miwo = Great Man

"Shenrab Miwo was born in Shambhala (sTag gzigs) in the west in the town called Yans pa can, in the dwelling place of the 33 Gods, the palace called Barpo so brgyad". (Kvaerne: 220)

Shenrab Miwo A Mukpo...."The work of Shenrap still exists in Tibet in the form of 400 volumes, but it has undergone heavy Buddhist editing." (Trungpa: 220)....


ZIJI...(gzi brjid) (gzhi)...the Tibetan word for confidence. ZI means shine or glitter. JI means splendor or dignity. Means to shine out, rejoicing while remaining dignified. ( 85)...

"A person possessed fully of the blessings and health that come from the gods is said to be "full of splendor" (gzi brjid can). This splendor, majesty is pronounced ziji in Tibetan, and is an actual radiant force that envelops a healthy and prosperous being, whether god or man." (Kornman: In

"gzi brjid: brilliance, majestic brilliance, splendor, charisma, glamour, confidence, light, radiance, full of splendor, overwhelming presence, resplendent radiance..."

....gzi: nine eyed onyx stone....gzi byin: overwhelming presence...gzig: leopard....gzig stangs gsum: the three gazes...

"This state of pure and total awareness (rigpa) is the primordially pure ground of being itself (gzhi)."..(Kongtrul: 54)...


There are three biographies of Tonpa Shenrab......There are three biographies of Tonpa Shenrab. The earliest and shortest one is known as Dodu (mDo-'dus: 'Epitome of Aphorisms'); the second is in two volumes and is called Zermig. These two accounts were rediscovered as terma in the 10th and 11th centuries respectively. .....The third and largest is the twelve volume work entitled Zhiji (gZi-brjid: 'The Glorious'). This last book belongs to the category of scriptures known as Nyan gyud (bsNyan-rgyud: oral transmission), and was dictated to Londen Nyingpo (bLo-ldan snying-po) who lived in the 14th century.

The gZer-mig and gZi-brjid are both published by the Bonpo Foundation, Dolanji, 1965 and 1967-69, respectively. Extracts from the gZi-brjid have been edited and translated by D.L. Snellgrove, The Nine Ways of Bon, London Oriental Series, vol. 18, London 1967. The first seven chapters of gZer-mig and part of the eighth have been translated into English by A.H. Franke, 'A Book of the Tibetan Bonpos', Asia Major, Leipzig 1924, 1926, 1927, 1930; Asia Major (New Series) 1, London 1949. A summary of the contents of gZer-mig has been made by H. Hoffmann in The Religions of Tibet, London 1961, 85-96.

The gZi-brjid is an enormous work, totalling in our manuscript 2,791 folios. There are twelve volumes numbered ka to da with a final volume a . The text is arranged in sixty-one chapters, and a list of these chapters will give some idea of the scope of this composite work:


gzi brjid............. (to be) radiant and resplendent; resplendent radiance [RB]......light, confidence, dignity, radiance, [full of] splendor, [blazing w the] brilliance [of], charisma, overwhelming presence, majestic [brilliance], magnificence, splendor, honor, esteem [IW]......glorious, glory, honorable, honor, healthy appearance, prosperity, brightness, lustre, halo, light, radiance, brilliance, beauty, fair, healthy complexion, esteem, celebrity, confidence, dignity, splendor, full of splendor, grandeur, majesty, longest of 3 biographies of gshen rab mi bo che in 12 volumes [JV].....brilliance, majestic brilliance, splendor, charisma, glamour; light, confidence, dignity, radiance, full of splendor. blazing with the brilliance [of ...], splendorous, overwhelming presence, splendid; (to be) radiant and resplendent; resplendent radiance [RY].....brilliance [RY]......glorious, glory, honorable, honor, healthy appearance, prosperity, brightness, lustre, halo, light, radiance, brilliance, beauty, fair, healthy complexion, esteem, celebrity, confidence, dignity, splendor, full of splendor, grandeur, majesty, longest of 3 biographies of gshen rab mi bo che in 12 volumes, elegant [JV]


The founder of Bon religion is the Shenrab Miwo..........Excerpted from a publication by Triten Norbutse and Yungdrung Bön Monastic Center......

In past ages there were three brothers, Dakpa, Selwa et Shepa, who studied the Bon doctrines in the heaven named Sipa Yesang, under the Bon sage Bumtri Loggi Chechen. When their studies were completed, they visited the God of Compassion Shenlha Ökar and asked him how they could help the living beings submerges in the miseries and sorrow of suffering. Shenlha advised them to act as guides to mankind in three successive ages of the world. To follow his advice the eldest brother, Dakpa, completed his work in the past world age. The second brother, Selwa, took the name Shenrab and became the teacher for this present world age. The youngest brother, Shepa, will come to teach in the next world-age.................

Shenrab was born in the Barpo Sogye Palace, to the south of Mont Yung-drung Gutsek. He was born a prince, married while young and had children. At the age of 31 he renounced the world and lived in austerity, teaching the doctrine. During his whole life his efforts to propagate the Bon religion were obstucted by the demon Khyabpa Lakring. This demon fought to destory or impede the work of Tönpa Shenrab, until he was eventually converted and became a disciple of Shenrab.....Pursuing the demon to regain his stolen horses. Tönpa Shenrab arrived in Tibet, it was his only visit to Tibet. There, he imparted some instructions concerning the performance of rituals but, on the whole, found the land unprepared to receive fuller teachings. Before leaving Tibet, he prophesied that all his teachings would flourish in Tibet when the time was ripe. Tönpa Shenrab departed this life at the age of 82.

There are three written acounts of Tönpa Shenrab. The earliest and shortest one is known as Dodü (mDo-'dus),"Epitome of Aphorism". The second which is in two volumes is called Zermik (gZer-mig), "Piercing Eye". These two accounts date from the 10th and 11th centuries respectively. The third and largest is in twelve volumes known shortly as Ziji (gZi-brjid), "The Glorious". It belongs to the category of scriptures known as "spiritual transmission" (snyan-rgyud) It is believed to have been dictated to Loden Nyingpo (Blo-ldan snying-po)who lived in the XIV century.


Ziji appears in the language of both Buddhism and Shambhala.

The Vidyadhara commented that both zi and ji have a sense of light and brilliance to them, glossing zi as “shine” or “glitter,” and ji as “splendor.” He added that ji also carries a sense of “monolithic.” In keeping with that, when translating buddhadharma we have rendered ziji as “splendor,” “radiance,” “brilliance,” and “full of splendor.” One piece of etymology might be of interest here: zi also can mean a variety of precious stone unique to Tibet, a type of black and white striped agate with “eyes.” The more eyes, the more it was valued in Tibetan culture, and as an historical note, the Vidyadhara often wore a theb-long (thumb ring) made of zi, a gift to him from Namgyal (aka “Nammie”) Ronge, brother of Noedup and Palden.

In the Shambhala teachings, ziji has particular importance. Though on occasion, especially in our early days, we translated ziji as “light,” we quickly settled on two renderings that the Vidyadhara felt brought out the inner quality that resulted in an outer radiance: “confidence” and “dignity.” These are key terms in the Shambhala teachings. In fact, both render the one Tibetan phrase, ziji. The choice we made largely depended on the context—often the result of lengthy discussions with the tertön, the Druk Sakyong.


Zhang Zhung King Takna Ziji

The narrow gorge and hot springs of Takrong is still considered by local Buddhist drokpa to be a sacred site of the Bönpo.113 According to the Bön Tisé Karchak, Takna Rong/Takna Ling, was where the Zhang Zhung king Takna Ziji had his castle Takna Weldzong.114 It would appear by the description given in this account of Takna Rong that, by being situated at the foot of Pori Ngeden (some 180 km to the west), an area larger than the single Takrong valley is described in this text. In the local sacred geographic tradition of Takrong,115 the site is said to have been a stronghold of King Takzig Norgi Gyelpo. He is said to have had two priests: Awong, the tiger lama, and Miwong, the lama with the magic lasso. The river of Takrong passes under an area of geothermal activity. This geographic oddity is referred to as the self-formed bridge of King Gesar. The geomantic heart of the site is a high volume hot spring called Sinpo Nyingchu. Pinnacles of mineral precipitates thrown up by the hot springs represent the Bön deity Takla Membar and his circle of 18 Drekpa spirits. Other light and dark pinnacles called Lékarnak (White and Black Destiny) represent heaven and hell. There are also “palaces” of the lha, nyen and lu, vertically arrayed to reflect the characteristic placement of these deities in the sky, earth and underworld realms of the tripartite universe (sisum/sipa sum).!book=/bellezza/wb/b1-2-6/


According to the Bonpos, the founder of their tradition, Tönpa Shenrab Miwo (ston pa gshen rab mi bo), lived from 16,016 B.C.E. until approximately 7,816 B.C.E. He was born in the land of Ölmo Lungring, both an allegedly historical place somewhere to the west of Tibet in present-day Kashmir, Afghanistan, and/or Iran, known to Bonpos as Takzik (stag gzig), and a mythical place of origin and destination, somewhat equivalent to the Buddhist notion of Pure Land. At the center of this land was a great mountain called Yungdrung Gutsek (g.yung drung dgu brtsegs). There are a number of stories about Shenrab Miwo’s early exploits, but the most significant myth, and the one that provides the alleged foundation for the story of Padmasambhava’s subjugation of Tibetan spirits, tells of a demon who stole horses from Shenrab Miwo, an act that led the latter into Tibet. In Tibet and along the way, Shenrab Miwo subjugated the local deities and ultimately the demon himself, demanding an end to blood sacrifices and converting all in his path to Bon. Shenrab Miwo’s teachings vary across sources, but two sources provide the most succinct and popular systems attributed to him: the Zermik (gzer mig) terma and the Ziji (gzi brjid) text based on oral tradition. The former describes the “Four gates with the treasure chamber as the fifth”, which includes instructions for rituals, purification, divination, demon ransoming, high tantric teachings, monastic regulations, philosophy, path, and rdzogs chen, while the latter describes the “Nine ways of Bon”, and goes into greater detail about and builds on top of the same basic elements as the Zermik. Its main focus is clearly rdzogs chen, with which it concerns itself for the entirety of its final third. The Bonpo canon is comprised of similar texts, including biographies of Shenrab Miwo, termas - most of which were allegedly buried by Drenpa Namkha in the 8th century, oral traditions, and oral “revelations” that visited scholars in sleep or visions.


The Yungdrung Ko"leg Chorten (gying drung bskod legs mchod rten) is a very popular image of for the Bo"mpo. It is the one of the 360 chorten described in the Ziji (gzi brjid), the biography of tonpa shenrab. Only 120 of these can be made as the others are chorten of emptiness and awareness and are not pysical.


September 2012

John Hopkins....Northern New Mexico


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