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In the history of Western Tibetology, few scholars have done more to

give the Bon religion of Tibet a fair hearing than Professor Per Kvrne.
Querying the often prejudiced views that at first prevailed, he embarked
on a wide-ranging series of dispassionate and scholarly studies in Bon
that succeeded magnificently in displacing ignorance with insight. Not
only that, but he contributed hugely to the preservation of Bon literature, Bon art, and Bon life in general.
Our own, much more recent, foray into Bon studies has been considerably inspired by Per Kvrnes fine example of subjecting any received opinion on Bon to a rigorous and dispassionate examination. As
a result, we have now come to suspect that perhaps a rather greater proportion of indigenous Tibetan ritual categories might continue to exist
within the canonical Bon tantras than has sometimes been allegedor
at least, that is our impression from the single example we have studied.
For although it is only a single text, it is also a very important, early, and
seminal text for Bon, the foundation of their entire Phur pa tradition no
less, so its testimony cannot easily be ignored.
The text in question is the Black Pillar Secret Pith Instruction Root
Tantra (Ka ba nag po man ngag rtsa bai rgyud) in 39 chapters, the
first and most important of the cycle of nine Phur pa tantras revealed
by Khu tsha zla od at sPa gro cal gyi brag or Phug cal in Bhutan,
sometime in the 11th or 12th century.2 Analysing the Black Pillar from
the perspective of literary composition, we came to the conclusion that
in many instances (of course, by no means all!) pre-existing non-Buddhist indigenous ritual structures had seemingly been disassembled into
their component elements, and then these component elements in various ways reassembled into entirely new structures that now accorded
with Buddhist tantric templates. Or, to use an architectural analogy, it
Thanks is due to the UKs Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), who
very generously funded this research.
Different sources give him different dates. See the discussion in Cantwell and
Mayer 2013: 87100.



was as though some Bon po buildings had been carefully disassembled,

and their constituent building materials, such as bricks, stones, window
frames, and floors, newly reassembled into an edifice called the Black
Pillar that conformed to a tantric Buddhist architecture.3 And if, as we
believe, a religion is primarily located in the human beings who practise it, perhaps we can interpret such plentiful survivals of indigenous
ritual symbolism within canonical Bon tantras as contributory evidence
for the continuity of a distinctive albeit evolving Bon religious identity, stretching from pre-Buddhist times, through the period of change
marked by the introduction of Buddhism, and on into the modern era.
Why do we suspect that many such ritual elements were not imported from Indian tantrism, along with the kla, the maala, the heruka,
and all the other Indian categories also found in the Black Pillar? In
some cases simply because we do not find evidence for them in India,
and they do not seem Indian; but in other cases because we also find
positive proof for their existence in surviving Imperial period sources
(such as woodslips from Miran), as well as in other old sources (such as
the dGa thang bum pa texts). We will present a fuller account of such
elements within the forthcoming publication of our full English translation of the Black Pillar.
In many cases, the categories most clearly identifiable as pre-Buddhist are the numerous retinues of the central Phur pa deity often seated
at comparatively peripheral locations within his maala: such deities
are classified as gze ma, mtsho sman, sman gcig ma, bdud, etc.
Here, however, we would like to present a category closer to the
main Phur pa deity and the centre of his maala. As is often the case,
it is not yet entirely clear to what degree and in what ways it might
have been Buddhist inspired, and to what degree and in what ways indigenous. The category in question is the binary of Hawks and Wolves
(khra spyang), their passionate couplings, and consequent progeny of
Hawk-Wolf hybrids. The Hawks and Wolves are quite prominent and
well known, and are not only represented in old canonical texts such as
the Black Pillar. They also appear in contemporary Bon Phur pa ritual.4
For example, at the year-end (dgu gtor) Phur pa ceremony we attended

For a more detailed analysis, see Cantwell and Mayer 2013.

Within contemporary rituals we can find such items as a khra spyangs gtor zlog,
a khra spyangs dres byang, and a khra spyang zor rite. Thanks to Riccardo Canzio for
sharing with us his unpublished handlist of some ritual sections within dBal phur nag
po sgrub pai las tshogs skor 1974. See also des Jardins 2012: 187.



at Triten Norbutse Monastery in Kathmandu in 2009, the Hawks and

Wolves had their own special dances performed by two monks within
the temple during the major communal Phur pa practice.5 The Hawks
and Wolves and their various couplings and combinations are also
clearly visible as important details in many extant painted scrolls of the
Bon Phur pa deity and his maala.
The Hawks and Wolves are interesting not simply as an isolated individual item. More than that, there is the further suggestion that they
might be representative of a wider cultural pattern, one that is reflected
for example in several further chapters of the Black Pillar, as well as in
well-known rNying ma ritual cycles, such as rDo rje phur pa and rDo
rje gro lod. Leaving aside their formal doctrinal significations, which
although very important we cannot discuss here, anthropologically
speaking, the Hawks and the Wolves might signify two things:
[i] A broad idea that hybrid or composite creatures, whether comprised
from parts of naturally-occurring animals such as hawks and wolves, or
from imaginary chimeras or deities, have special potency as protector
deities, and that this principle is well represented within Bon.
[ii] Entangled with these broader ideas, the narrower more particular category of a binary that specifically pairs a winged composite creature with
a fanged composite creature, in a play on oppositional categories that
might have delighted Claude Lvi-Strauss.

Charles Ramble is already engaged in a Bon-related study of [i], the

idea that hybrid or composite creatures have special potency as protector deities, so we will not say any more on the subject here, other than
to mention that his hypothesis is amply supported by the Black Pillar,
where not only the Hawks and Wolves, but also many dozens of other
hybrid deities appear in several chapters of the work.
The more particular category of a binary that specifically pairs a
winged composite creature with a fanged composite creature remains a
tantalizing question that requires a degree of further research to explore
adequately. We have no idea, for example, how widespread the binary
might be, and at this preliminary juncture, all we can do is present some
empirical data.
The Black Pillar is a carefully structured text, and its chapters progress in a rational sequence. Chapter 1 sets the opening scene, Chapter
2 explains how sentient beings have fallen from primordial wisdom,

See the vivid description of this in Schrempf 1999: 207208.



and Chapter 3 describes how the compassion of the Enlightened Ones

manifests to save them. The specific teachings of Phur pa then begin
with Chapter 4 with its description of Phur pas pure land, while Chapter 5 describes the main Phur pa deity and his manifestations in the ten
directions. Directly after this, the text continues through the retinues,
proceeding first to the more central and then to the more peripheral.
Chapter 6 describes the arising of the Hawks, and Chapter 7 the arising
of the Wolves and their unions with the Hawks. Chapter 8 introduces
the sa bdag, Chapter 9 the bdud mo, Chapter 10 the sman cig ma and
their brothers, Chapter 11 various groupings of activity ma mos, and
Chapter 12 various groupings of ritual functionaries such as the ral ka
mched bdun.
The Hawks in Chapter 6 are at the top of the list of retinues, closest
to the central deities. Their ground of origin in the transcendent enlightened nature is emphasised and described in Buddhist-congruent terms
of emanation6 (nevertheless, despite their Buddhist-inspired nature and
functions, their actual birth process seems indigenous, involving birds
nests, the hatching of eggs, nurturing parent birds, and so forth). Likewise, the Wolves of Chapter 7 are described in Buddhist-inspired terms
of emanation from an enlightened source. Clearly then, the Hawks and
Wolves are represented as close to the central Phur pa deity, who is the
symbol of highest enlightenment.
But this is by no means the first incidence of a winged and the fanged
binary within the Black Pillar. We find it already in the description of
the central deity himself, and his emanations in the ten directions. For in
Chapter 5 a few folios above, we find the main description of the central
Phur pa deity, who is made of iron, surrounded by his entourage of ten
Phur pa deities of the ten directions, each made of a different substance,
such as crystal, acacia, copper, gold, etc. What is interesting is that each
of these Phur pa deities emanate pairs of zoocephalic (or sometimes

Chapter 6, incipit: // ji yang med pai stong pa las/ mkha klong dbyings kyi rang
bzhin gyis/ drag gsas sku gsung thugs su grub/ de las lha mi bya gsu sprul/ yab gcig
mkha gying sprul pa las/ khra gsas khyung rgod thabs kyi bya/ From out of the emptiness that is nothing whatsoever, the natural quality of the sky[-like nature] and expanse
[of mind], with its spatial field, becomes established as the body, speech and mind of
the Destructive Divinity. From it emanate the trio of deity, human, and bird.* From an
emanation of the single father, Khajing, the bird of skilful methods, Hawk Divinity,
Wild Garua [arises]. Etc. *(Lopon Tenzin Namdak explains, deity = the Phurpa yi
dam; human = sTag la me bar; bird = the Hawk deities).



theriomorphic) forms, where one is winged and the other fanged or

tusked. Thus we find the following pairs:7
1. Main central deity holds phurbus made from: hawk and vulture quills /
bear and lion bones, with these blades emerging from the heads of those
animals, and emanates attendants with: wild boar head / sea monster head
2. Above deity emanates attendants with: garua head / dragon head
3. East deity emanates attendants with: vulture head / lion head
4. South-east deity emanates attendants with: raven head / fearsome bear
5. South deity emanates attendants with: owl head / tiger head
6. South-west deity emanates attendants with: crow head / leopard head
7. West deity emanates attendants with: hoopoe head / cat head
8 North-west deity emanates attendants with: sky hawk head / jackal
9. North deity emanates attendants with: bat head / brown bear head
10. North-east deity emanates attendants with: mouse hawk head / weasel head

Yet again, an underlying structural template (in this case a central Phur
pa heruka deity with emanations in the ten directions, each flanked by
two attendants), is typically Buddhist, and close parallels exist in numerous rNying ma Phur pa maalas; yet individual symbolic units
out of which the edifice is constructed, such as the winged and fanged
zoocephalic deities, look like they might owe something to indigenous
symbolism. We should add, it has sometimes been suggested that indigenous elements within Bon tantrism might be expected to occur largely
amongst the subdued deities of the maalas periphery. Yet here, if
these examples are indeed to some degree indigenous, we find them
closer to the enlightened centre of the maala.
But how sure are we that the winged/fanged binary as evidenced
in Chapter 5 is in truth indigenous? Or even the Hawks and Wolves in
Chapters 6 and 7? Might they not be Indian after all? We cannot say for
sure as yet. None of the many learned Indologists we have approached
know of any such iconography from India, nor have we found it ourselves; but of course, given the vastness of Indian culture, that cannot
yet be taken as definitive proof of its non-existence.
A close approximation does exist in rNying ma Phur pa texts, in the
form of the well-known Buddhist equivalents to the Bon pairs, known
Chapter 5 of the Black Pillar does not attach a name to this class of deities, but its
Chapter 13 seems to imply that they are to be identified as the group of gze ma gyad mo
(also mentioned in Chapter 1 as gyad mo dang gze ma). Other more recent Bon sources
describe them as khra thabs gze ma, see Bonpo Thangkas from Rebkong 280: 4341.



as the phra men ma, or hybrid females. Again, these are zoocephalic
deities who emanate from the ten direction herukas as pairs, known as
Carnivores (za byed) and Killers (gsod byed). The rNying ma version is
less systematic than the Bon, with not all the Carnivores being fanged,
and not all the Killers being winged, and the central deity does not have
an additional animal-headed pair. The most common rNying ma list is
as follows:
1. Above, the pig-headed carnivore and lizard-headed killer
2. East, the tiger-headed carnivore and vulture-headed killer [vulture is
the same]
3. South-east, the yak-headed carnivore and raven-headed killer [raven
is the same]
4. South, the stag-headed carnivore and owl-headed killer [owl is the
5. South-west, the leopard-headed carnivore and crow-headed killer [this
one is parallel]
6. West, the cat-headed carnivore and hoopoe-headed killer [this one is
7 North-west, the wolf-headed carnivore and hawk-headed killer [this
one is very similar]
8. North, the lion-headed carnivore and bat-headed killer [bat is the same]
9. North-east, the bear-headed carnivore and weasel-headed killer
10. Below, the brown bear-headed carnivore and rat-headed killer

It is worth noting that this list is found in early Phur pa texts, and also
in Chapters 12 and 13 of the Thabs zhags manuscript as found at Dunhuang (and in the bsTan gyur).8 While the Thabs zhags root text (which
shows no clear sign of having been written or compiled in Tibetan)
clearly signals the existence of such a group, it does not specify them
all: only its commentarial text (which does show possible signs of having been written or compiled in Tibetan) lists them in full.9
For traditional polemicists of whatever persuasion, the historical relations between the Bon and rNying ma variants might constitute an
important consideration. Is the Bon list a later adaptation of the Buddhist one, slightly modified to accentuate the winged/fanged binary?

See Cantwell and Mayer 2012: 299, 302.

Felicitously, an intact manuscript of the Thabs zhags commentary, complete with
the root tantra embedded as lemmata, has been preserved at Dunhuang. This root tantra in the form of lemmata incorporates clear indicative errors avoided in some other
branches of the root tantra transmission. From these one can infer the existence of an
archetype that was, at a minimum, two levels of copying prior to the Dunhuang version.
See Cantwell and Mayer 2012: 10.



Or might the Buddhist list include some Bon influences? Is the winged/
fanged binary itself predominantly indigenous in origin, as we currently
guess? Or, might this binary have first developed as an elaboration of
early Buddhist tantric traditions of zoocephalic phra men ma, such as
those of the Thabs zhags commentary and early Vajraklaya tantras, or
those found in the rGyud gSang ba snying pos Chapter 15, where we
do indeed find a list of eight phra men ma, precisely four of whom are
winged, and precisely four fanged?10 To add to the historical confusion,
it has never yet been quantitatively established to what extent such early rNying ma tantric traditions are pristinely Indic, and to what extent
they might also include Tibet-specific redactions, whether made by Indian missionaries or by Tibetan converts.
In this context, we must also consider what increasingly became a
standard form of rNying ma pa heruka, with three fanged heads, two
wings, six arms, and four legs. This form is widely attested from Nyang
ral nyi ma od zer (112492) onwards, but also appears in at least one
much older source, Chapter 12 of the Thabs zhags root tantra (which,
unlike its commentary, shows no clear sign of having been written or
compiled in Tibetan).11 What is of interest is his two wings: for while
numerous herukas, as described in the many surviving sources that are
incontestably pristinely Indian, might bare their fangs, few if any have
so far been found spreading their wings. It would seem that if winged
herukas did exist in India, they were most probably part of a rare, minority tradition.12 Might the rNying ma pas increasingly widespread
seng gdong (lion), stag gdong (tiger), wa gdong (fox), khyi gdong (dog), bzhad
gdong (swan or water bird), kang kai gdong (Skt. kaka = heron), dur byai gdong
(charnel ground bird), ug pai gdong (owl).
11 Despite the explicit mention of wings on the herukas in the Thabs zhags, the
descriptions of herukas in the rGyud gSang ba snying pos Chapters 15 and 17 mention
only the three heads, the six arms, and the four legs, but do not mention any wings;
and even the fangs are only mentioned near the end, in the eulogy in Chapter 21; nevertheless the later tradition seems to take the presence of the wings as implicit (thanks
to Gyurme Dorje for his clarification). Likewise some early Sa skya descriptions of the
Phur pa heruka omit the wings, and the Dunhuang text IOL Tib J 306 also describes a
rNying ma-style heruka, but without the wings.
So far, we know of only a single possible example for an Indian winged heruka:
bDe mchog rdo rje mkha lding (Vajragaruasamvara), a form of Samvara combined
with garua, surrounded by a retinue of a further 50 deities in garua form. It is found
in Taranathas sGrub thabs rin byung brgya rtsa (deity 228), and transmitted in some
dGe lugs and Jo nang pa traditions. According to the notes attached to TBRC Resource
ID T711, the tradition was transmitted by Rwa lo tsa ba rDo rje grags, which might
indicate Indian rather than Tibetan origins. If it is indeed Indian rather than Tibetan, it
might be seen as an exception that proves the rule, since the comparative rarity of such



proliferation of wings upon their already fanged Buddhist herukas have

been an indigenously Tibetan emphasis or development?
Bu ston (12901364) found no Sanskrit original for the rGyud gSang
ba snying po, the Thabs zhags, or rDo rje Phur pa, and despite their
acceptance as valid rNying ma traditions by the early Sa skya hierarchs,
Bu ston preferred to exclude them, and related texts, from the canon.
Apart from the lack of available Sanskrit originals, Bu ston did not
elaborate further on his reasons. It is tempting to speculate that some
conservative Tibetan opinion might have considered these traditions to
have been redacted by Indian siddhas with a Tibetan audience in mind,
and hence to incorporate some local Tibetan colour such as wingsillicitly, in their view? For the Dunhuang Phur pa lo rgyus text (PT44)
and the Dunhuang Thabs zhags commentary (IOL TibJ 321) might indeed be interpreted as hinting at Tibet-specific redaction by Indian siddhas with regard to the Phur pa and Thabs zhags traditions respectively, a narrative also repeated in the later Phur pa lo rgyus texts.13
We have not yet got many conclusive answers to these complex historical questions of origins. The rules of evidence probably dictate that
winged herukas in Indian sources seems in stark contrast to their widespread occurrence in rNying ma pa sources. Note, however, that in this case, the wings do not appear
to be inherent to heruka per se as in the rNying ma examples, but only appear upon him
because heruka is here combined with garua. In short, the wings derive from garua;
they are not inherent to heruka as in so many rNying ma pa examples. Thanks to Jeff
Watt for this reference.
Like the innumerable Phur pa lo rgyus texts (historical narratives with a ritual
function) of later centuries, PT44 describes Padmasambhavas induction of the ritually
important bSe goddesses of Nepal into the Buddhist pantheon for the first time, to serve
as Phur pa protector deities. Padmasambhava does this as a prelude to his transmission
of Phur pa teachings to Tibetan and Nepali disciples. These Nepalese bSe deities also
turn up in canonical NGB texts, such as the Phur pa bcu gnyis, so that the historical-narrative Phur pa lo rgyus texts and the canonical NGB tantras mutually reinforce one
another. Likewise, Sa skya Paitas redaction of the rDo rje phur pa rtsa bai dum bu,
which became canonical beyond the rNying ma school through its inclusion in the Tshal
pa Kanjur, is explicitly interpreted by the subsequent Sa skya tradition to represent
these same bSe goddessses initially tamed by Padmasambhava. The unavoidable implication is that the Sa skya system of Phur pa exegesis consciously accepts the rNying ma
lo rgyus tradition, that an Indian siddha, Padmasambhava, had introduced significant
ritual additions particularly intended for Tibet, to an originally Indian scriptural tantric
tradition, understood as bKa or Buddhavacana. Coming from a rNying ma and Sa skya
background as he did, Bu ston was undoubtedly familiar with these Phur pa lo rgyus
traditions. See Cantwell and Mayer 2008: 4547, 5666. In a very similar manner, IOL
TibJ 321 seems to say that the Thabs zhags root tantra had been redacted in a significant
way by Padmasambhava, or perhaps even revealed by him, although the original point
of departure for its maala design remains close to that of the Indian Sarva-tathgata-tattva-sagraha. See Cantwell and Mayer 2012: 9198.



a reliable answer can only finally come from a comprehensive Indological, Sanskrit-based investigation. It might be that the evidence available
from the Tibetan sources consulted by various scholars so far depends
too much on hearsay and was too much articulated within polemical
contexts, independently to support any conclusion beyond dispute.
While such questions of origins have been important for Bon and
Buddhist polemicists over many centuries, they are not the only area of
interest for us. What we see and find equally interesting here is a Tibetan cultural tendency to play on category boundaries, whether they be of
Indian or indigenous origins. This play seems to occur in a manner that
might have delighted Lvi-Strauss. One example is the garua ritual
from bDud joms Rinpoches (190487) treasure revelation of rDo rje
gro lod (a wrathful form of Padmasambhava). The garua is a category-crossing hybrid endowed with horns, beak, claws, wings, and fangs,
and, in line with a symbolic logic Charles Ramble has recently mentioned in parallel contexts,14 its horns protect against any bad omens
of horned animals, its beak protects against any bad omens of beaked
animals, its claws protect against any bad omens of clawed animals, its
wings protect against any bad omens of winged animals, and its fangs
protect against any bad omens of fanged animals. Yet it is the winged
and fanged categories that are singled out for particular emphasis, as we
can see in these lines of revealed gter ma verse:
(Seeing) a white bird of the sky with fangs,
Since it is not possible for birds to have fangs,
Is a very bad omen for your father.
(Seeing) a black earth rat with wings,
Since it is not possible for a rat to have wings,
Is a very bad omen for your mother.
If these two should conceive children,
Then the 81 bad omens will result.
From these will arise all types of illnesses, evil spirits, and obstacles,
Broken hearts and all possible anxieties.15

The principle is similar with the Hawks and Wolves of the Black Pillars Chapter 7. Through their unions, they produce miraculously ap14
Unpublished talk delivered at the Tibetan Protector Deities Workshop, Wolfson
College, Oxford, 4 June 2014.
gnam gyi bya dkar mche ba can: bya la mche ba mi srid de: ltas ngan kun gyi
pha ru byung: sa yi byi nag gshog pa can: byi bar gshog pa mi srid de: ltas ngan kun
gyi ma ru byung: de gnyis srid du sbrum pa las: ltas ngan brgyad cu rtsa gcig byung:
de las nad gdon bgegs rigs dang: chag che nyam nga thams cad byung: (bDud joms
Collected writings, vol. Ba: 302303).



pearing incongruous offspring with both wings and fangs, who emanate
evil omens that descend like a rain on the enemies of Bon, strenuously
destroying them.
No doubt, there is plenty of material here, enough for a book or PhD.
For the time being, we simply present a translation of Chapter 7 of the
Black Pillar.16


Base text (=Kanj): Ka ba nag po man ngag rtsa bai rgyud, vol. 160,
pp. 1125 of Theg chen g.yung drung bon gyi bka gyur, Bod ljongs
bod yig dpe rnying dpe skrun khang, Lhasa 1999. (= 3rd edition of Bon
Kanjur, in 178 volumes)
Nor: Vol. 35, pp. 172 of Bonpo Kanjur held in the University of Oslo,
Norway, published by Ha-san-yon and Bon-slob Nam-mkha bstan-dzin, Sichuan, c. 1987 (= 2nd Edition of Bon Kanjur, in 192 volumes)
Tenj: Vol. 268, pp. 1163, Bon gyi brten gyur chen mo, 2nd edition
(in 333 vols), n.d., n.p., ISBN 7-223-00984-5 (sic). From a private collection, courtesy of Dr J.-L. Achard. (This is identical with the version
found in vol. 268, pp. 165345 of Tanbai Nyima, ed., Bonpo Tenjur, 380
vols, Lhasa 1998.)
Ktm: dbu med ms from the library of Geshe Yungdung Gyaltsen, folios 1a49v. NGMPP Reel Number E3406/2, Running Number E55878,
filmed 20/9/2000.
KTY: oral explanations of Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung, Shenten Dargye
Ling, Blou, France, 2011/12.
Bonpo Thangkas from Rebkong: edited by Bon brgya dge legs lhun
grub rgya mtsho; Shinichi Tsumagari, Musashi Tachikawa, Yasuhiko
Nagano Suita, Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology, 2011.
Thangka Paintings of Yungdrung Bon: A sngags Tshe ring bkra shis and
gNyan mo grub (eds). gYung drung bon gyi rab byams dkyil khor rgya
mtshoi zhal thang kun dus / Thangka Paintings of Yungdrung Bon /
. Si khron dpe skrun tshogs pa / Si khron mi rigs dpe krun
khang, 341 pp. (hard cover in slip case, larger than A4) 2010.

Some questions of gender remain problematic in our interpretation, which is not

altogether unusual in old Phur pa texts such as these, whether Buddhist or Bon.



[28.2] [Tenj 33.2] [Ktm 10r.7] [Nor 14v.4]

gnyis dzin khrul rtog sun phyung nas/
Having refuted erroneous conceptions of dualism,
bla med g.yung drung gnas su dgod/
[One] is established in the unsurpassed eternal abode.
sprul pa thabs kyi phyag rgya ni/
The emanations which are symbols [of] means
sngon tshe dbal bon khro bo yi17/
Were emanated in bygone times, [by] the wrathful Wal Bon,
byin rlabs18 [3] dbal ri chen por sprul/
On the great consecrated Wal mountain.19
[Ktm 10v] sprul pa dus pai ri bo ni/
This mountain [where] the emanations assembled,
shar phyogs dkar gsal dung gi log20/
[In] the east [has a] clear white conch shell side;
lho phyogs gdong21 tsher g.yui22 log23/
[In] the south [has a] luminously radiant turquoise side;
nub phyogs [4] dmar gdangs24 zangs kyi log25/
At the west [has a] lustrous red copper side;
byang phyogs gzi brjid gser gyi log26/ [Nor 15r]
[In] the north [has a] resplendent golden side;
dbus steng mdzes pa g.yu od bar/
Above the centre, a beautiful turquoise light blazes;
ye shes lnga yi cho phrul yin/
[It] is the miraculous appearance of the five wisdoms.

yi: Tenj, Ktm, Nor yis; we follow Tenj, Ktm, Nor

byin rlabs: Tenj byin brlabs
Kanjs reading would be: Were emanated in bygone times, [by] the consecration
of the wrathful Wal Bon, on the great Wal mountain.
log: Tenj, Nor logs
gdong: Tenj, Nor gdangs ; we follow Tenj, Nor
g.yui: Tenj, Nor g.yu yi
log: Tenj, Nor logs
gdangs: Nor nag
log: Tenj, Nor logs
log: Tenj, Nor logs



[dbal [5] rii phyogs dang mthun pai27/]

[In accordance with the directions of the Wal Mountain,]

[dbal rii phyog bzhi dbus dang lngar/

In the four directions plus the centre of the Wal Mountain,
sa bdag lngai sprul pa29 ru/
As emanations of five Earth Mistresses,
srid pai rin chen chu dmig lnga/
Five precious springs of existence well up,
brdol bai dbal ri stobs dang ldan/
Endowed with the Wal Mountains power.
srid pai chu dmig de lnga la/
At these five springs of existence,
khro bo yab lngai sprul pa ru/
As emanations of the five Wrathful male deities,
kha dog phyogs dang mthun pa ru30/]
In accordance with the direction colours [of the Wal Mountain],
rang brtags31 mtshan ma32 rin chen min ma33 can/
Each one characterised by their own symbolic implements, and endowed with jewelled eyebrows.34
dbal gyi gcan spyang gdug pa lnga ru babs35/
The five vicious predatory Wal Wolves descend;

pai: Tenj pa yi
Ktm, 10v.23 and Nor 15r 12 omit the previous line, but differ from our base
text Kanj and Tenj in giving instead the seven lines from here, up to kha dog phyogs
dang mthun pa ru/ KTY: these seven lines may have been omitted in the other versions,
but should be included here, since they give a necessary part of the narrative, namely
the arising of the Five Springs.
pa: Ktm omits
ru: Nor yi
brtags: Tenj, Ktm rtags, Nor brtan
ma: Ktm mai
min ma: Tenj, Ktm, Nor smin ma; Tenj, Ktm, Nor are better.
KTY: the meaning here is eyebrows.
babs: Nor bab
The Kathmandu/Norway passage has introduced emanations of the Wrathful
male deitiesbut if this text is not in error, these are presumably to be distinguished
from the Wal Wolves introduced now, who are described immediately below as emanations of the Wrathful female deities. It therefore seems to make sense to start a new



khro mo yu lngai sprul pa [6] ru37/

As emanations of the five Wrathful female deities,
kha dog phyogs [Tenj 34] mthun gdug pai mche38 sder can/
[Their] colours accord with their directions, and they have poisonous
fangs [and] claws.
rtogs kyi mtshan ma rin chen thig lei40 brgyan41/
[They] are ornamented with jewel drops, as signs of realisation,
gdug pa dbal gyi bya khra lnga du chags/
And have passion for the five vicious Wal Hawks.
de [7] nyid42 cig yid cig la43 chags gyur na44/
By these pair[s] coming to have passion for one another,
rin chen bsrid pai45 chu mig lnga la thung46/
[They] drink at the five precious springs of existence;
spyang khus gdong47 thung khrai48 og nas thung49/
The Wolves drink from above, the Hawks drink from below;50
sentence here. However, uncertainty about the intended genders remains (see also note
67 below).
ru: Nor ni
mche: Nor mchu
The Wal Wolf emanations are not mentioned on the list of deities for Thangka 43
in Bonpo Thangkas from Rebkong, but they are surely the five unlabelled small, wolflike emanations depicted near the bottom of the thangka. The white wolf is near the
bottom right of the thangka (perhaps indicating the east); the yellow is slightly lower
and more central; the blue is at the same level as the white, on the left hand side; the
reddish is just to the left of this and a little higher; while the green is central and slightly
higher than the other wolves. They seem neither to be depicted in Thangka 57, nor
to be described Thangka Paintings of Yungdrung Bon, although their emanations are
depicted (see below).
thig lei : Tenj thig les; Nor omits
brgyan: Nor rgyan
nyid: Tenj, Ktm, Nor gnyis; we follow Tenj, Ktm, Nor
cig yid cig la: Tenj gcig yid gcig la, Nor gcig gcig la yid
gyur na: Nor gyur nas
bsrid pai: Tenj srid pai; Nor omits
thung: Nor thungs
gdong: Tenj, Ktm, Nor gong; we follow Tenj, Ktm, Nor
khrai: Tenj khra yis; we follow Tenj here
og nas thung: Nor og thungs
KTY: The imagery here has meanings at different levels. The precious springs of
existence imply the eternal primordial time of original existence.



yid sems dres [29] bai51 rin chen sgo ngar bltas/
[They] give birth to precious eggs which are the fusion of mind and
mental [consciousness],
de las sprul pa dbal gyi phur pa52 lnga ru byung/
From which emanations are produced as the five Wal messengers.
dung spyang khra gshog sprin dpung ral pa [2] can/
The Conch Wolf with Hawk Wings has locks of hair piled up [like]
lcags spyang khra gshog me dpung chu54 od can/
The Iron Wolf with Hawk Wings has a mass of flames, with the radiance of light over water;
zangs lcags55 khra gshog khra yi mchu sder can/
The Copper Wolf with Hawk Wings has hawks beak [and] talons;
gser spyang khra gshog56 sprin57 dmar58 ral [3] pa can/
The Golden Wolf with Hawk Wings has red locks [like heaped] clouds;

bai: Tenj, Nor pai

sprul pa dbal gyi phur pa: Tenj, Ktm sprul pa dbal gyi pho nya, Nor dbal gyi
sprul pa; we follow Tenj and Ktm
Note that in Bonpo Thangkas from Rebkong (Thangka 43), these emanations are
depicted (towards each side of the upper section of the painting) as having wolf-like
bodies and heads, but bird beaks as well as wings, thus, fully integrating the wolf and
the hawk. Note also that in this thangka, the group are all shown with a large head of
bushy hair, which is indicated in some of the description given here in the Ka ba nag po.
They are depicted in the upper left of Thangka 57 in Thangka Paintings of Yungdrung
Bon, just below the Five Hawk Emanations, and they are described on p. 151 (group
18): (1) a white wolf body with the wings of a hawk, a white tail, bent like a sickle, and
hawk beak, wings and talons; (2) similarly, an iron-coloured wolf body with hawk beak,
wings and talons, and hair locks emitting flames; (3) a copper-coloured wolf body; (4)
a yellow-coloured wolf body; (5) a deep blue-coloured wolf body (1 spyang khui lus
dkar po/ khra yi gshog pa can rnga ma dkar po zor ba bzhin bkug pa/ khra yi mchu dang
gshogs pa sder mo can/ 2 de bzhin du lcags mdog can gyi spyang lus/ khra yi gshog
sder mchu dang ral pa me dpung phro ba can/ 3 spyang lus zangs mdog can/ 4 spyang
lus gser mdog can/ 5 spyang lus mthing mdog can bcas lngao//). In this thangka illustration, their open mouths appear to depict wolf teeth, despite their beak-like snouts.
chu: Tenj chung, Nor spu, Ktm ral pa spu, losing the metre. KTY advises that
Kanjs reading, chu, is preferable to chung but no better than ral pa spu. Both chu and
ral pa spu can work equally well. Me dpung chu od can is often used in the sense of
flames with the radiance of light playing over water. Ktms reading could read as
and hair locks with luminous strands.., but could also be interpreted in other slightly
different ways.
lcags: Tenj, Ktm, Nor spyang; Tenj, Ktm, Nor are preferable.
khra gshog: Nor omits
sprin: Ktm, Nor rlung
dmar: Nor mar



g.yu spyang khra gshog thig ler59 khyil [Nor 15v] pai spyan/
The Turquoise Wolf with Hawk Wings has eyes which become round
like bindus.
gshen gyi bka nyan dgra la rtags60 byin ma/
[These] females61 who are obedient to the practitioner, producing signs
for the enemies,62
rol pai63 cho phrul ya ma [Ktm 11r] zung gi bu/
Have, as [their] display, miraculously appearing incongruous offspring;
[4] sprul pa ltas ngan64 dgra la char du bebs/
[Their] emanated evil omens descend like a rain on the enemies;
dbal phur pho nya drag poi las la brtson/
Wal Phurpas servants are strenuous in their destructive actions.
de lngai cho phrul mngon par65 byung [Tenj 35] ba ni/
[These] actually manifesting miraculous manifestations of the five of
nyi ma phyogs bzhi [5] dbus dang lngar/
[Upon] sun[s], in the four directions and the middle, making five,
rigs mthun spyang khu66 lnga po la/
[There are] five wolves in accordance with the five families;

thig ler: Nor thig le

rtags: Nor rtag
KTY: this is referring to the above mentioned group of five hawk-wolves.
KTY: this means they show warning signs to the obstacles, or let them see the
consequences of their deeds.
rol pai: Nor rig pai
ltas ngan: Nor ltar na
par: Nor du
spyang khu: Nor spyang gi
This further set of emanations do not appear to be depicted in Bonpo Thangkas
from Rebkong (Thangka 43). They are depicted in the upper right of Thangka 57 in
Thangka Paintings of Yungdrung Bon, just below the Five Hawks, and they are described as the Wolf emanations (spyang khui sprul pa lnga) on p.151 (group 19): a
white wolf ridden by a white hawk [which] casts a snake lasso from the tips of its talons; a black wolf ridden by a black hawk; a red wolf ridden by a red hawk, and a yellow
wolf by a yellow hawk; a blue wolf ridden by a blue hawk; the hawks similarly casting
snake lassos from their talons (spyang khu dkar mo bya khra dkar pos zhon pa/ bya yi
sder rtses sbrul zhags phen pa/ spyang nag khra nag gis zhon pa/ spyang khu dmar
mo khra dmar mos/ gser spyang gser khras zhon pa/ spyang sngon khra sngon gyis
zhon pa/ khra yis sder mos sbrul zhags phen pa sogs drao//). The wording of this
description (the particles, mo and po in the first example) would suggest that the wolf



sprul pa yang dag gna khras68 zhon/

The authentic sky hawk emanations ride upon them;
gdug pa rin chen sder mo yis69/
With their vicious jewelled talons,
rang rtags sbrul gyi zhags [6] pa phen/
[They] cast serpent lassos, which are their own implements;
gang la dmigs pa70 gting nas len/
Whoever [they] think of is comprehensively captured;
bon da71 bsrung zhing bka khor skyongs72/
[They] guard the vows of Bon and protect the wheel of the teachings;
dbal ri gdug pai skad73 la grol74/
[They] frequent the waist of the noxious Wal Mountain.
dbal phur sgo [7] bai75 srung ma byed/
[They] act as guardians of the Wal Phurpas gates.76
rgya mdud thig le ri rab brjid77/
Imposing, [they are] a Mount Meru essence knot.78
che bai yon tan bsam mi khyab/
[Their] qualities of greatness are inconceivable.
mounts are female while the hawk riders are male, and this would appear to fit with our
text above, which seems to give the Wal Wolves given at the beginning of the chapter
as female emanations. However, there is some uncertainty (see above) and the set of
Hawk emanations in Chapter 6 are similarly given female particles. Also, although
not explicit in this text, the pairs of carnivore/bird-headed phra men ma in the rNying
ma tradition are often given as male/female pairs, and KTY explains that generally in
Bon contexts, the wolves are male, and the hawks female. In any case, we now have
another variation on the combination of the wolves and hawks, this time as linked pairs
of mounts and riders.
khras: Nor khra
yis: Tenj yi
pa: Tenj pai
dam: Nor dag
skyongs: Tenj skyong
skad: Tenj, Nor rked; Ktm rkyen. KTY: the Tenj, Nor reading is preferable.
grol: Tenj dril; KTY: grim (to frequent) may in fact be the correct reading here.
sgo bai: Tenj, Nor rked pai; Ktm rkyen kyi.
gates: Tenjs reading of waist might also be plausible
brjid: Ktm dzin
KTY: the image of the knot (rgya mdud) symbolises that it is unchanging in its
essence (thig le), indicating its eternal essence (ngo bo) or natural condition.



mthu dpung stobs79 dang ldan par gyur/

[They] are endowed with might and a great number of magic powers.
nyon mongs bdud80 lnga log rtogs81 [30] dul/
[They] subdue the wrong views of the demons of the five defilements,
dgra dang bgegs la smos ci dgos/
No need to mention the enemies and obstacles.
phrin82 las rang skal dul bar byed/
[Their] enlightened action tames each of those who are karmically destined to be tamed.
ces gsungs swo 83/
Thus [he] spoke.
ka ba nag po man ngag rtsa bai rgyud las/
From out of the Black Pillar Pith Instruction Root Tantra,
khra spyang gdug pai [2] byung lugs84 bstan pai leu ste bdun pao/
This is the seventh chapter, the teaching on how the vicious Hawk
Wolves arose.

A sngags Tshe ring bkra shis and gNyan mo grub (eds) 2010. Thangka Paintings of
Yungdrung Bon. (g.Yung drung bon gyi rab byams dkyil khor rgya mtshoi zhal
thang kun dus / .) Sichuan: Si khron dpe skrun tshogs pa, Si khron
mi rigs dpe krun khang.
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India: Tibetan Bonpo Monastic Centre.
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Yasuhiko Nagano (eds) 2011. Bonpo Thangkas from Rebkong. Suita, Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology.
Cantwell, Cathy and Robert Mayer 2013. Neither the same nor different: the Bon Ka
ba Nag po in relation to Rnying ma Phur pa Texts. In Brandon Dotson, Kazushi
Iwao and Tsuguhito Takeuchi (eds), Scribes, Texts, and Rituals in Early Tibet and
Dunhuang, pp. 87100. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag.


dpung stobs: Nor stobs dbang

bdud: Nor dug
rtogs: Tenj, Nor rtog
phrin: Tenj, Nor phrin
ces gsungs swo: Tenj, Nor zhes gsungso
byung lugs: Ktm byung khungs, Nor sprul pa



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