Article ID: CBB502904878

Tibetan Bonpo Mendrup: The Precious Formula’s Transmission (2017)


The article presents the traceable history of the Tibetan Bonpo mendrup ritual practice in textual sources, as it has been recorded by the Bonpos themselves. These records are put into context with the current performance of the practice by the Bonpo exile community. The study aims to embrace all the relevant Bonpo historical material accessible, and thus deals with documents of a wide time spam, from the eleventh or twelfth century onwards until the early twentieth century. The Bonpo mendrup is a healing, longevity, rejuvenation and enlightenment-seeking contemplative meditational practice of the Tibetan tantric tradition with a strong emphasis on its medicinal component. It embodies various spheres of knowledge and their principles, as the Indian tantrism, a strong Buddhist cosmological organisational and soteriological framework, the Tibetan medical tradition, with embedded elements of alchemy and Tibetan indigenous religious notions. As the studied sources reveal, its origin can be traced to the intellectually vibrant times in Tibet of around the twelfth century, where all these fields of expertise came together. Thus the case provides an example of such a complex composed of tantra, medicine and alchemic influences specific for Tibet. Since then, the Bonpo mendrup can be followed by varied records in a number of Bonpo literary sources of different genres. These are compared with the present form of the ritual. The sources support the ritual’s anticipated transmission and practice throughout the history. They show that different ideas apply to its origin, and particularly its revelation as a treasure text, and that the ritual existed in varied forms, and was shared and imparted among different lineages of Bon. The most important finding is that the practice is actually traceable throughout the history, and likely have never ceased to be active over the centuries from the very early times until today.

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Article Dagmar Wujastyk; Suzanne Newcombe; Christèle Barois (2017) Transmutations: Rejuvenation, Longevity, and Immortality Practices in South and Inner Asia:. History of Science in South Asia. unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Gyatso, Janet
Garrett, Frances Mary
Pollock, Sheldon I.
Schaeffer, Kurtis R.
Chou, Wen-shing
Cuomu, Mingji
Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity
Micrologus: Nature, Sciences and Medieval Societies
History of Religions
Journal of Asian Studies
Dynamis: Acta Hispanica ad Medicinae Scientiarumque Historiam Illustrandam
History of Science in South Asia
Columbia University
Duke University Press
Columbia University Press
University of California Press
University of Washington Press
Medicine and religion
East Asia, civilization and culture
Mercury (element)
Saṅs-rgya-rgya-mtsho, Sde-srid
Orgyenpa Rinchenpel
Persia (Iran)
South Asia
17th century
19th century
13th century
20th century
16th century
18th century

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