Shenchen Luga and the Revival of

In the year 1017, Shenchen Luga (gShen-chen klu-dga') came from eastern Tibet and discovered two large wooden boxes containing many Bonpo texts in the Tibetan language, which had been buried at Drigtsam Thakar ('brig-mtsham mtha' dkar) in Tsang Province, near the ancestral seat of the Shen clan. [21] It was principally this discovery that led to the revival of Bon in central Tibet in the eleventh century, a revival similar in character to the revival of Buddhism among the Nyingmapas at the same time. In part, this renaissance was a reaction to the development of the Sarmapa of the New Tantra movement of that century, a movement inspired by the translations of Indian Buddhist texts, many of them previously unknown in Tibet.

Among his disciples, Shenchen Luga commissioned Druchen Namkha Yungdrung (Bru-chen nam-mkha' g.yung-drung), together with his son, Khyunggi Gyaltsan (Khyung gi rgyal-mtshan), to copy and record the philosophical texts (mtshan-nyid) which he had recovered from this treasure hoard of the Shen clan. The cache was reportedly concealed during the persecution of Bon in the eighth century by Dranpa Namkha, Lishu Tagring and other Bonpo Lamas. This persecution occurred in central Tibet in the time of King Trisong Detsan. This large collection of Termas, or hidden treasure texts, became widely known as the Southern Treasures (lho gter), and they came to be classified into the Nine Successive Vehicles of Bon (bon theg-pa rim-dgu). As outlined above, also contained in this collection of rediscovered texts were the Gab-pa dgu skor and the Sems phran sde bdun, representing an important cycle of Dzogchen texts closely related to the Zhang-zhung snyan-rgyud.

According to the Bonpo histories, the Dru lineage became pre-eminent in the transmission of the Bonpo philosophical tradition. Druchen Namkha Yungdrung himself wrote a commentary on the Srid-pa'i mdzod-phug, the main Bonpo cosmological text, and his son Khyunggi Gyaltsan wrote a commentary that established the philosophical and exegetical tradition of this lineage (mtshan-nyid kyi bshad srol). Both father and son had listened to the master Shenchen expound the philosophy and cosmology of this text. Then in 1072, Druje Yungdrung Lama (Bru-rje g.yung-drung bla-ma, b. 1040) established the Bonpo monastery of Yeru Wensakha (g.yas ru dben-sa-kha) in Tsang Province that became the fountainhead of this tradition and the foremost Bonpo monastery of its time. When it was destroyed in a disastrous flood, it was re-established on higher ground by Nyammed Sherab Gyal-tsan (mNyam-med shes-rab rgyal-mtshan) in 1405 as the monastery of Tashi Menri (bkra-shis sman-ri), where later Lopon Ten-zin Namdak served as principal teacher for a time.

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