A Tibetan monk and two Americans dedicated to the Bon tradition of Tibet, an ancient religion that influenced Tibetan Buddhism, deliver a digitized copy of canonical Bon texts to the UCLA Library and Center for Buddhist Studies.
The complete 179-volume Yungdrung Bon Kanjur, canonical texts of the ancient Bon religion of Tibet, arrived at UCLA on June 13, 2008, on 14 compact disks--a gift from Jeffrey and Cathy Granett, members of the boards of directors of the Bon Foundation and Bon Shen Ling. Bon religion and culture survive in part because Bon practices influenced Tibetan Buddhism following the seventh-century introduction of that tradition from India.
At a lunch-hour presentation to UCLA Buddhist studies faculty and students, Tulku Chongtul Rinpoche, a Bon scholar from the Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India, who is currently in the United States, and the Granetts talked about the struggle to preserve Bon culture since the Chinese takeover of Tibet in 1959. The Bon leader in exile, H. H. Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpai Nyima, has made a home for refugees and orphans at the monastery as well as a library and documentation center that was dedicated by H. H. the Dalai Lama in 2007.
The Granetts explained that a complete Bon Kanjur, believed lost after a set of 18th-century woodblocks was broken and scattered, had been reassembled from handwritten pages by 1999 and was finally scanned and digitized in 2006 by monks at the monastery in India. The CDs donated on Friday contain a copy of this version, the manuscript pages being bound in codices like the one in the photo at left from Menri Monastery.
The visit was freighted with memories for Jeffrey and Cathy Granett, whose son Daniel ("Danny") Granett was killed in an automobile crash in October 2000, a few months after graduating summa cum laude from UCLA with a degree in Japanese. Friday was the day of UCLA Commencement.