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Bon, also spelled Bön[2] (Tibetan: བོན་, Wylie: bon, Lhasa dialect: [pʰø̃̀]), is a Tibetan religion. Its relationship to Tibetan Buddhism has been a subject of debate. Followers of Bon, known as Bonpos (Wylie: bon po), believe that the religion originated in a land called Tazig (Wylie: stag gzig), identified by scholars variously as Persia, Central Asia, or the area around Mount Kailash in the west of the Tibetan Plateau.[3] Bonpos identify Shenrab Miwo (Wylie: gshen rab mi bo) as Bon's founder, although there are no available sources to establish this figure's historicity.[4] From Tazig, Bon was brought first to Zhang Zhung, a kingdom to the west of the Tibetan Plateau, and then to Tibet.[5] Western scholars have posited several origins for Bon, and have used the term Bon in many ways. Tibetan Buddhist scholarship tends to cast Bon in a negative, adversarial light, with derogatory stories about Bon appearing in a number of Buddhist histories.[6] The Rimé movement within Tibetan religion encouraged more ecumenical attitudes between Bonpos and Buddhists. Western scholars began to take Bon seriously as a religious tradition worthy of study in the 1960s, in large part inspired by English scholar David Snellgrove's work.[7] Following the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, Bonpo scholars began to arrive in Europe and North America, encouraging interest in Bon in the West.[8] Today, Bon is practiced by Tibetans both in Tibet and in the Tibetan diaspora, and there are Bonpo centers in cities around the world.

[25]

The Dzungar people invaded Tibet in 1717 and deposed a pretender to the position of Dalai Lama who had been promoted by Lhabzang, the titular King of Tibet. This was met with widespread approval. However, they soon began to loot the holy places of Lhasa, which brought a swift response from the Kangxi Emperor in 1718, but his military expedition was annihilated by the Dzungars not far from Lhasa.[26][27]

Many Nyingmapas and Bonpos were executed and Tibetans visiting Dzungar officials were forced to stick their tongues out so the Dzungars could tell if the person recited constant mantras, which was said to make the tongue black or brown. This allowed the

Many Nyingmapas and Bonpos were executed and Tibetans visiting Dzungar officials were forced to stick their tongues out so the Dzungars could tell if the person recited constant mantras, which was said to make the tongue black or brown. This allowed them to pick the Nyingmapas and Bonpos, who recited many magic-mantras.[28] A habit of sticking one's tongue out as a mark of respect on greeting someone has remained a Tibetan custom into modern times.[citation needed]

In the 19th century, Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen, a Bon master whose collected writings comprise eighteen volumes significantly rejuvenated the tradition. His disciple Kagya Khyungtrul Jigmey Namkha trained many practitioners to be learned in not only the Bon religion, but in all Tibetan schools.

According to the Bonpo, eighteen enlightened entities will manifest in this aeon and Tönpa Shenrab Miwoche, the founder of Bon, is considered the enlightened Buddha of this age (compare aeon and Tönpa Shenrab Miwoche, the founder of Bon, is considered the enlightened Buddha of this age (compare yuga and kalpa). The 33rd lineage holder of Menri Monastery, Menri Trizin Lungtog Tenpei Nyima and Lopön Tenzin Namdak are important current lineage holders of Bon.

More than three hundred Bon monasteries had been established in Tibet before Chinese annexation. Of these, Menri Monastery and Shurishing Yungdrung Dungdrakling Monastery were the two principal monastic universities for the study and practice of Bon knowledge and science-arts.

According to a recent Chinese census[when?], an estimated 10 percent of Tibetans follow Bon. When Tibet was annexed into the People's Republic of China, there were approximately 300 Bon monasteries in Tibet and the rest of western China. According to a recent[when?] survey, there are 264 active Bon monasteries, convents, and hermitages.[citation needed]

The present spiritual head of the Bon is Menri Trizin Rinpoché, successor of Lungtok Tenpai Nyima (1929–2017), the thirty-fourth Abbot of Menri Monastery (destroyed in the Cultural Revolution, but now rebuilt), who now presides over Pal Shen-ten Menri Ling in Dolanji in Himachal Pradesh, India.

A number of Bon establishments also exist in Nepal; Triten Norbutse Bonpo Monastery is one on the western outskirts of Kathmandu. Bon's leading monastery is the refounded Menri Mo

The present spiritual head of the Bon is Menri Trizin Rinpoché, successor of Lungtok Tenpai Nyima (1929–2017), the thirty-fourth Abbot of Menri Monastery (destroyed in the Cultural Revolution, but now rebuilt), who now presides over Pal Shen-ten Menri Ling in Dolanji in Himachal Pradesh, India.

A number of Bon establishments also exist in Nepal; Triten Norbutse Bonpo Monastery is one on the western outskirts of Kathmandu. Bon's leading monastery is the refounded Menri Monastery in Dolanji, Himachal Pradesh, India.

The Dongba (东巴) practices of the Nakhi people and the Hangui (韩规) religion of the Pumi people are both believed to have originated from Bon.[29]

Lobsang Yeshe, recognized as the 5th Panchen Lama by the 5th Dalai Lama, was a member of the Dru family, an important family of the Bon religion. Under Lozang Gyatso, Bon became respected both philosophically and politically.[30] However, the Bonpo remained stigmatized and marginalized until 1977, when they sent representatives to Dharamshala and the 14th Dalai Lama, who advised the Parliament of the Central Tibetan Administration to accept Bon members.

Since then, Bon has had official recognition of its status as a religious group, with the same rights as the Buddhist schools. This was re-stated in 1987 by the Dalai Lama, who also forbade discrimination against the Bonpos, stating that it was both undemocratic and self-defeating. He even donned Bon

Since then, Bon has had official recognition of its status as a religious group, with the same rights as the Buddhist schools. This was re-stated in 1987 by the Dalai Lama, who also forbade discrimination against the Bonpos, stating that it was both undemocratic and self-defeating. He even donned Bon ritual paraphernalia, emphasizing "the religious equality of the Bon faith".[31]

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").[32][33]