Tonpa Shenrap Miwoche

Deities & Enlightened Teachers
 

Tonpa Shenrap Miwoche (the Supreme Teacher) is the nirmanakaya form, or emanation body (tulku), of Kuntu Zangpo. He is the founder of the Bön tradition.

Peaceful in appearance, he is adorned with the 13 ornaments of a peaceful deity. His right hand is extended across his knee and holds a yungdrung, a symbol of the eternal truth. His left hand is placed in his lap with the palm upturned in a gesture of meditation.

According to Bön history, Tonpa Shenrap was born approximately 18,000 years ago into a royal family in Olmo Lungring, a pure land believed to be part of Tazik, to the west of Tibet. He gave up his kingdom at age 31, became a monk, attained buddhahood after nine years, then traveled throughout the land spreading the teachings of Bön and performing various rituals. On one occasion he entered the kingdom of Zhang Zhung in western Tibet. There, he gave the first Bön teachings in that region, where they took root and continue to this day. His wives and children also played significant roles in the history of Bön.