BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

Catching up ...

Yeah, I know, two book reviews on the same date, what is this world coming to? I figured that I'd cover this now, as it was a very quick read, and came out of the same stack as the last book. This is also a bit odd in that I can't find anything about it on the web ... although I did find a page with info on the author, Lopön Tenzin Namdak. I'm also not 100% sure about the title, but I think it ought to be Tapihritsa: The Condensed Meaning of an Explanation of the Teachings of Yungdrung Bon. The booklet is one of those "Asian" formats that seems to be hand-set with actual metal type, with newsprint interior pages, and not a whole lot of publication info. Oddly enough, this was printed no earlier than 1991 as the translator's note in the book is dated from May of that year ... looking at it you'd guess it had been made decades ago, but I guess that's Kathmandu for ya. In the links that I would usually have going out to Amazon, I've targeted the English language top page of, which has info on Lopön Tenzin Namdak and is run by the Paris-based Yungdrung Bön Association.

Now, if you're not familiar with it, Bön is the native "shamanistic" religion of Tibet, that strongly influenced the way that Vajrayana developed. I suspect that I picked this up at the NYC Kalachakra just to get some info on the Bönpo traditions. Frankly, though, I have a hard time really separating what's in this volume with the general stuff I've been exposed to of Vajrayana teachings. Perhaps Bönpo has become so intertwined with the Tibetan Buddhist lineages, that it has become something of a "heretical" close cousin, something like Sufism to mainstream Islam. Most of the materials that I can find on the web refer to it as the "Bön Buddhist tradition", which confuses me somewhat, as Bön is a survival from the pre-Buddhist times in Tibet.

Anyway, this is a fascinating little book ... it does, however, read very much like the last one in that there are a lot of things being "defined" in terms that are themselves technical and don't necessarily make things clear for the "outsider" reading it! Maybe some day I'll find a nice over-view book of the history (and survival) of Bön to get me up to speed with the subject. As noted, I was unable to find any source for this, so if you have a hankering for a copy, you're pretty much out of luck, although there do seem to be some decent basic web pages (,, etc.) with good info if you're interested in checking it out.

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Tags: book review

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