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The Bön Pantheon

In the Bön tradition there are thousands of Buddhas, the Enlightened Ones of the three times, past, present and future, as well as male and female divinities and enlightened Protectors of the doctrine.


The Primordial Buddha
Kuntu Zangpo


Bönku Kuntu Zangpo (Samanthabadra) represents the Primordial Buddha, the Absolute Wisdom Body, the Dharmakaya (Bönku), which is the essence of the Basis of All, out of which all Buddhas manifest. Kuntu Zangpo means “everlasting all good” and symbolizes the primordially pure and perfect Nature of Mind.

He is without boundaries, limitations, definitions, and without any divisions. He is all-pervading and all-encompassing like infinite space. Because he is primordially pure and perfect and beyond conceptions and thoughts, he appears without clothes and ornaments and is sitting in the meditation posture.


Sherab Chamma


Sherab Chamma (Satrik Ersang), the Great Wisdom Loving Mother, represents the Nirmanakaya form (Trulku), the Body of Perfection. She is known as the Mother of all Enlightened Ones and source of all love and compassion. She is the feminine counterpart to Shenlha Ödker and the source of all manifestations of the Nirmanakaya Buddhas of the past, present and future.


Sherab Chamma has the power to dispel all obstacles such as fear, sickness, sadness and negative forces. She is usually depicted in yellow colour with beautiful ornaments and holding a mirror in her left hand and a vase in her right. 


Shenla Ökar


Shenlha Ökar, the White Shen Deity and the Buddha of Compassion, represents the Sambhogakaya (Dzogku) emanation of Kuntu Zangpo, the Body of Perfect Enjoyment, which is the enlightened clear light manifestation purified from all defilements. His compassion is all-pervasive and he is the embodiment of the most exalted qualities shown in the thirteen ornaments. He is the root of all enlightened divinities and he manifests in the six realms for the benefit of all sentient beings and guides beings to ultimate liberation.


Shenlha Ӧkar is depicted as a luminous white deity, with one face and two arms. His hands are placed in his lap in equipoise. He is adorned with the thirteen beautiful ornaments: crown, earrings, three necklaces (short, medium, and long), bracelets, anklets, arm bands, scarf, skirt, throne, golden decoration behind the throne and a halo. He often appears in the center of the Refuge Tree.


Sangpo Bumtri

Sangpo Bumtri is the creator deity of Bön. Together with Shenla Ökar, Sherab Chamma, and Tönpa Shenrab, he is one of the Four Transcendent Lords (Sugatas). He appears in the Sambokhagaya form (Dzogku). His left hand is in equipoise and his right hand is holding the victory banner symbolizing the undimishing of the doctrine and Buddha’s enlightened activities.  


Tönpa Shenrab Miwo

Buddha Tönpa Shenrap, the founder of Yungdrung Bön, manifested as an emanation of Kuntu Zangpo in the Nirmanakaya form to benefit all the sentient beings. Before he achieved enlightenment, he went in countless rebirths through the six realms of cyclic existence. He entered the path of enlightenment through the practices of accumulating merit and purifying the three doors, resulting in the attainment of the state of pure and perfect mind, Sanggye, the Buddhahood. According to the Bön Scriptures, Tönpa Shenrab then took rebirth in Olmo Lungring and through his twelve deeds and enlightened activities countless sentient beings have achieved enlightenment.


Tönpa Shenrab is depicted holding the Yungdrung Chakshing (double swastika) in his right hand and his left hand in the equipoise.

Main Protectors of the Bön Doctrine


Sidpa Gyalmo


Sidpa Gyalmo, the Queen of the Universe, is the main wrathful Protector of Yungdrung Bön. She is the wrathful form of Sherab Chamma curbing evil beings, and protecting and healing all sentient beings. Sipe Gyalmo is indigo in color with three faces: the right face is white, the left face is red, in the center the face is indigo. She is riding on a mule and has six arms holding a victory banner, a sword made of thunderbolt, a phurba (glorious dagger), a mirror, a hook, and a skull cup filled with blood. Her body is draped in skulls and fresh flayed human skin. In prayers she is asked to liberate the world from evil and bring everlasting peace.


Yeshe Walmo

Yeshe Walmo, the Wisdom Protector, is an enlightened being considered to be the semi-wrathful form of Sherab Chamma and the wisdom aspect of Sidpa Gyalmo. Yeshe Walmo is the special Protector of the Bön Dzogchen doctrine and in that capacity she is the preserver and protector of all Bön wisdom. Yeshe Walmo is dark blue in colour and has one face and two arms. She appears in Khandro position, standing on one foot and dressed in peacock feathers, symbolizing the transmutation of poison (ignorance). In her right hand, she holds a flaming thunderbolt sword, and in her left hand she holds a vase. She wears a tiger skin, and stands upon a lotus flower, surrounded by flames burning all ignorance.

Nyipung Sed recadré.jpg


After Gyerpung Nangzher Löpo had received the complete teachings of the Zhang Zhung Nyengyud from Tapihritsa, he felt that he needed special Protectors to preserve and safeguard the doctrine. Nyipangse and his female partner Menmo appeared in his meditation and promised to protect the Zhang Zhung Nyengyud teachings.

Menmo recadrée.jpg

et Menmo


Jyara Masum

Jyara Masum is the main Protector of Dzogchen Drakpa Korsum and Yangtse Longchen.

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