Founder of Yungdrung Bon-Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche
According to the Bön religion, about 18,000 years ago Lord Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche (Founder of Bon and Great Man of the Shen Tribe) was born in the land of Olmo Lung Ring Tazik. “Öl” symbolizes unborn, “mo” implies undiminishing, “Lung” denotes the prophetic words of Tonpa Shenrab, “Ring” refer to his everlasting compassion and “Tazik” indicate the region that scholars of the modern day recognize the present day Tajikistan, which is situated north-west of Tibet that once thought to be the mythical kingdom called Zhang-Zhung (ShangShung in Tibetan). Olmo Lungring is also known as “Shambhala” in Sanskrit and it continues to be known by this name among Tibetan Buddhists even today.
At the age of thirty-one he renounced the world and lived in austerity, teaching the dharma. During his whole life his efforts to propagate the Bön religion were obstructed by the demon Khyabpa Lagring (Khyab-pa Lag-ring), that fought to destroy or impede Tonpa Shenrab’s work until eventually the demon was converted and became his disciple. Once while pursuing a demon to recover his stolen horses the Lord arrived in present-day western Tibet. This was his only visit to Tibet. On this occasion he imparted some instructions on the performance of rituals, but on the whole he found the people unprepared to receive more teachings. Before leaving Tibet he prophesied that all his teachings would flourish in Tibet when the time was appropriate. Buddha Tonpa shed his human shell at the age of eighty-two. Admittedly 82 years in Olmo Lungring corresponds to some 8,200 years of human time.
There are three biographies of Lord Tonpa Shenrab. The earliest and shortest one is known as “Epitome of Aphorisms”; the second is in two volumes and is called “Piercing Eye”. These two accounts were rediscovered as Terma(Tibetan words literally meant to treasure) in the 10th and 11th centuries respectively. The third and largest is the twelve volume work entitled “The Glorious”. This last book belongs to the category of Bon scriptures known as “Oral transmission”, and was dictated to Loden Nyingpo who lived in the 14th century.
Eighteen hundred years after the passing of Tönpa Shenrab, Mucho Demdug came from heaven to Olmo Lung Ring as the speech emanation of Tönpa Shenrab. Mucho Demdug turned the wheel of Bön so that all the teachings of Tönpa Shenrab would be organized and classified. He taught many students, the best known of which are referred to as the Six Great Scholars or the “Six Ornaments of the World”(Zamling Khepi Gyendug). They translated the Bön teachings into their own languages and spread them throughout their native lands. These six great masters are: Mutsa Tahe, Tritok Partsa and Huli Paryag from Tagzig; Lhadag Ngagdo from India; Legtang Mangpo from China; and Sertok Chejam from Trom.