Open Buddha

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New Bon Dzogchen Book

I am surprised that no one has mentioned this at all as I would think some of the usual suspects that I know would talk about this quite a bit.

John Reynolds has a new book out of his translations of Bon Dzogchen teachings by Lopon Tenzin Namdak. Some of these have circulated for a while and I have copies of at least some of this that Reynolds has self-published in the past. This is quite exciting as the practice of dzogchen within Bon is quite vibrant and not identical with how the main Tibetan Buddhist branches practice it. For those that don’t know Bon is either the native tradition of Tibet before Buddhism or a mixture of this native tradition and Tibetan Buddhism, depending on who you ask. There is a fair bit of evidence that dzogchen entered Buddhism from Bon (as opposed to the other way around as some had taught) and that Bon was an earlier stream of transmission of Tantric Buddhism into Tibet from an area near Pakistan. It’s all caught up in mythology now so it is hard to say.

That being said, this is a wonderful book to get, as is all of Reynolds’ work. I was lucky enough to spend about a week camping with him and other Dharma brothers a couple of years ago in New York. I found him to be quite knowledgeable and pretty bullshit free.

The book is “Bonpo Dzogchen Teachings.” It is available through Wisdom Books and Amazon (through resellers). The summary is as follows:

Renowned Bonpo master Lopon Tenzin Namdak gives an explanation of Dzogchen from the Bon perspective, comparing the Dzogchen view with the views of Madhaymika, Chittamatra (Mind-Only), Tantra, and Mahamudra, clearly indicating the similarities and differences among them. Translated and edited by John Reynolds from a series of nine teachings that Lopon gave to Westerners, this work introduces Dzogchen and its practice and the result. Dzogchen, or the Great Perfection, lies even beyond the process of tantric transformation and is regarded as the quintessential teaching, pointing directly to the nature of mind and its intrinsic awareness, known as Rigpa. The book covers Bon and Buddhism in Tibet; the Nine Ways of Bon; Yungdrung Bon; the traditions of Bonpo Dzogchen; the attaining of Buddhahood according to sutra, tantra, and Dzogchen; four essential points for understanding Dzogchen; the view of Dzogchen; the practice of Dzogchen; Rushans or preliminary practices, the view of shunyata or emptiness found in Madyamaka, Chittamatra, and Dzogchen; the views of Tantra, Mahamudra, and Dzogchen; the practice of Thekchod and Thodgal; and the rainbow body.