What is Yungdrung Bön?

Tibet’s oldest spiritual tradition

Yungdrung Bön has rich traditions and sophisticated philosophy and teachings. These teachings and practices help to cultivate the heart-mind of compassion and wisdom. They promote healing, forgiveness, clarity, peace, and ultimately lead to enlightenment.

The founder of Bön is Tonpa Shenrab Miwo, who, according to Bön tradition, first brought the Bön teachings to what is now Western Tibet 18,000 years ago.

Yungdrung Bön can be categorized into three main sets of teachings. These three sets are known as the Outer, Inner, and Secret teachings (Sanskrit SutraTantra, and Dzogchen.) Each of these sets of teachings is a complete system of spiritual development that can lead the practitioner to attain enlightenment. Yungdrung Bön practitioners may choose to practice one, or more, of these sets of teachings, based on their capacity of understanding and the suitability of the practice.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has acknowledged that Bön is the native religion of Tibet, and one of the five core spiritual traditions of Tibet. The Dalai Lama has further said that to understand Tibetan culture and history completely, one must understand Bön, and both support and preserve it. This acknowledgment confirms the role of Bön in the historical and current religious and political life of Tibetans.

Himalayan Art Archives – Private Collection