Lachen Gongpa Rabsal, Drenpa Namkha, Guru Rinpoch
The main Bön that is currently being practiced in Tibet comes from Zhang Zhung and is known as the system of Buddha Tonpa Shenrab. According to the Bön teaching, in the time of Buddha Tonpa Shenrab, Buddha Shakyamuni was his student (named Dhampa Tokar). Tibetan Buddhism, the system of Lord Shakyamuni Buddha, contains all of Buddha’s teachings—Hinayana, mahayana and tantrayana—which not only follows faith, but is explained through logic and philosophy. The principle rituals and healing methods practiced by the majority of the Tibetan people are from the Bon tradition; the Nalanda tradition brought much of the sutra, philosophic and logic systems into Tibetan Buddhism.
Throughout time, holy beings and buddhas have not had any limitation of spiritual tradition. Ultimate wisdom, omniscience, is the same for everyone. This is the view of Rime. Ríme is very important now. People need to understand that wisdom can be attained by opening to other teachings.
In the Tibetan tradition, particularly when Indian Buddhism came to Tibet in the 8th Century, practitioners began to develop rime. The great Lotsawa Vairocana, Vidhyadhara Drenpa Namkha, Guru Rinpoche and many others up to the present day practiced both Bön and Indian Buddhism without prejudice towards one or the other.
There was great upheaval in the centuries following King Trisong Detsen’s reign. Not until the 10th c., with the great ríme master Lachen Gongpa Rabsal, did people receive the vinaya and the teachings began to flourish again. With a historical rise disputation, the ríme movement saw a rejuvenation in the 19th C. among different traditions in a wish to recognize not only difference, but to find commonality and instill a greater sense of respect and non-paritality.
Likewise, many treasure-revealers of various periods have discovered both Dharma and Bön termas—hidden treasure teachings. For example, Treasure Revealers of both Bön and Dharma Termas were rime: Dorje Lingpa, Pön-se Kyung-gö, Guru Chowang, Shötön Ngödrub Drag, Kutsa Daö, Guru Nöntse, Rashag Yung-bar, Ten-nyi Lingpa, the Nyalpa Nyima Sherab, Dechen Lingpa, Rigdzin Longsal Nyingpo, and others.
The rimé movement was revived in the 19th C. by the Jamyang Kyentse Rinpoche and Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, Terton Dechen Lingpa, Kungrol Gragpa, among others. Their work has forwarded the potential to grow and bridge divisions among practitioners to recognize the universalistic, ultimate, unbounded, all-embracing, unlimited, and also impartial quality of the teachings; and to examine the differences between traditions and appreciate them, while also establishing a dialogue which would create common ground. Currently, science is contributing through evidence uncovered in archeology, physics and mind science.
Speaking of our basic potential, we have the power to transform our minds and our thinking. We can use that now to bring society more peace, more patience and love, more altruism and compassion, and many other good qualities.