Ancient Tibet: The Hidden Treasures Of Bonpo In Mustang

Related post: Ancient Tibet: The Lost Buddhist Caves Of Mustang

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YT description: This film maps a journey made by Geshe Gelek Jinpa, a Bönpo Geshe (Doctor of Religious Philosophy) researching the ancient Zhang Zhung Empire which once stretched across the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau. The documentary follows Geshe Gelek as he travels through Mustang, a remote area of the Himalaya, on his misson to undertake the first survey of the Bönpo peoples living there, as well as to record religious sites, both ancient and modern at the request of Bön Mahasangha of Nepal. During this trip he discovers many treasures of Bön such as ancient texts, statues, historical records, and joins Prof. Charles Ramble in the dramatic recovery and identification of a significatnt Bönpo library at Mardzong. Other highlights include establishing the exact locations of a historic Bönpo monastery, Bönkor, and the hermit cave of Zhang Zhung Nyengyud Dzogchen master Rong Thogme Zhigpo. The fillm also shows unique footage of the Dögyab ritual held in the village of Lubrak to dispel negativities.

Title: Hidden Treasure Of Bön: Secrets of Mustang (YT link) Uploaded by Foundation for the Presevation of Yungdrung Bon.

The Hidden Treasures Of Bonpo In Mustang, Tibet – (2009) – 5 stars

Run time: 1 hour, 3 minutes. This documentary was produced by pro-Buddhist sources and comes about a year after a previous documentary I posted, titled The Lost Buddhist Caves Of Mustang. First off, Bonpo culture was prevalent in this section of ancient Tibet, modern day Nepal, before the advent of Buddhism. There isn’t a whole lot of information given as to the precise practices of Bonpo, as Buddhism absorbed it and has restructured it ever since the Medieval Age. The video is better seen as a pilgrimage that ordained Buddhist ministers take into remote places, as Geshe Gelek travels from one village to another to renew bonds with mainstream Buddhism. One of the more important parts of this documentary is the exploration of an ancient shrine inside a cave high up on the side of a mountain, and the work of organizing and studying the hundreds or thousands of ancient scrolls found there. We don’t get a lot of detail about what was actually in the scrolls, past that they reaffirm early Buddhist beliefs in that region and add some things that have since been forgotten. Rather, I found it more interesting to watch this video from an anthropological perspective, to see how these villagers socialize, dress and live in these faraway places.

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