Rare Bön Texts From the BDRC Archive

With support from the BDRC community and our generous funding partners, BDRC has been expanding its collection of Tibetan texts through new digitization efforts in Tibet and Mongolia, as well as through our long-term operations in India. Among the thousands of recently acquired Tibetan volumes, BDRC identified many rare and previously inaccessible texts. Some of these works are virtually unknown to the scholarly community while others were renowned but feared lost—and BDRC has now made all of them freely available online for your perusal, practice, and research.

BDRC’s founder, E. Gene Smith, at Menri Monastery.

Here we feature a few selections of those texts from the Bön school. In addition to Tibetan Buddhist works, BDRC has long collected the writings of the Bön masters. Indeed, our founder, Gene Smith, was lifelong friends with the head lamas of Menri Monastery, as seen in the photo above. Likewise, BDRC has enjoyed the patronage of the Bon Foundation and we have digitized hundreds of volumes at Bön monasteries across the Tibetan plateau, plus many Bön paperbacks published in China.

Below is a list of the highlights of our recent Bön acquisitions. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to BDRC today to support the collection and dissemination of literary treasures such as these Bön texts.

Page from a calligraphed ritual manual for the propitiation of Taklha Mebar.

བོན་གྱི་བཀའ་བརྟེན། The Bön Katen in 200 volumes. This computer-input version of the canon was published by Khyungpo Tengchen Monastery in Kham in 2014. BDRC scanned it in color so that readers may fully appreciate the illustrations and passages in red ink.

བོན་གྱི་བསྟན་འགྱུར། A computer input version of a rare manuscript edition of the Bon Tengyur in 110 volumes.

བཀའ་བརྟེན་དཀར་ཆགས་བློའི་ཐ་རམ་བཀྲོལ་བྱེད་འཕྲུལ་གྱི་ལྡེ་མིག An exhaustive catalog of the Bönpo Katen, the Bönpo canon in 1,300 pages.

སྒོ་བཞི་མཛོད་ལྔའི་ཡང་བཅུད། A collection in thirty–two volumes that covers the doctrinal classification scheme known as the “Four Portals and Treasury as the Fifth” (sgo bzhi mdzod lnga).

རྗེ་བཙུན་མཉམ་མེད་ཤེས་རབ་རྒྱལ་མཚན་གྱི་གསུང་འབུམ། The collected works of Nyamé Sherap Gyaltsen in seven volumes. This master lived in the fourteenth century and founded Menri monastery.

གནས་འགོ་དགོན་དུ་བཞུགས་པའི་དཔེ་དཀོན་ཕྱོགས་བསྒྲིགས། The complete library of Néngo Monastery in Kardzé, Kham. This irreplaceable treasure is comprised of 114 volumes and ninety of them are fully outlined on our website. This is an excellent example of BDRC’s recent work on the Tibetan plateau to digitize personal collections and archives that otherwise might never be copied and shared with the rest of the Bön-Buddhist and scholarly communities. Collections like this capture local textual traditions in their full integrity.

སྨུག་རོང་རི་མགུལ་ཆ་ཚང་གི་བོན་གྱི་ཡིག་རྙིང་ཕྱོགས་བསྡེབས། This set represents the entire library of Bön texts belonging to the Rigulcha family of Mukrong in Tawu county, Kham.

སྟག་ལྷ་མེ་འབར་གྱི་ཆོས་སྐོར། A beautifully calligraphed ritual manual for the propitiation of Taklha Mebar.

དབལ་གསས་རྔམ་པའི་ལས་རིམ་གྱི་ཚིགས་བཤད་སོ་སོའི་མངོན་རྟོགས་གསལ་བྱེད་འཕྲུལ་གྱི་སྒྲོན་མེ་སོགས། This volume is comprised of a number of individual works and is made up of both manuscripts and woodblock prints. The chief work herein is a detailed explanation of the rites for the deity Welsé. Of note are the many illustrations and diagrams.

མདོ་དྲི་མེད་ཀུན་གསལ་ལས་སངས་རྒྱས་སྨན་ལྷའི་དཀྱིལ་འཁོར་ཆོ་ག A Bönpo mandala rite for the Medicine Buddha. This is another composite work that includes short pieces in various hands.

བོན་གྱི་འདོན་ཆ་ཕྱོགས་བསྡུས། A 5-volume collection of ritual texts that contains many images, diagrams, and arrangements of mantras.

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