Religion in Tibet – Bon and Buddhism. Before the seventh century almost all the Tibetans including the Kings and ministers believed and practiced a religions called Bon, which is native to Tibet. It is believed that Tonpa Sherap, who was the founder of Bon, came from Olmo Lungring in the west to Shangshung and Tibet to spread his teaching. The main ideas and practice of Bon is very similar to Buddhism. For example, in Bon the wisdom of emptiness is very important and the practice of love and compassion for all beings is also highly valued. Another important teaching of Bon is about the qualities do different natural elements and their relation and influence on our life.
From the seventh century,Buddhism began to take root and develop. Gradually it became the main religion in Tibet. There are three important aspects of Buddhism to understand-the view, motivation and conduct. Buddhists believe in cause and effect or Karma and rebirth. Because of this view, Buddhist practitioners have to avoid harming any living beings and help all beings with love and compassion. The motivation for this compassion should not be self-esteem, but to work for the enlightenment of all beings. In terms of conduct, we follow the Buddha’s teaching and practice generosity, discipline, diligence, patience, concentration and wisdom.
To be Buddhist it is necessary to take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Buddhists believe sentient beings suffer from the diseases of the three poisons which are desire, anger and ignorance. So we are like the patients and the Buddha is like the great doctor. His teaching is like the great medicine and the monks are like nurses who can help and guide us on the path.