Bon is the native religion of Tibet while Buddhism was introduced into that country from India in the seventh century A.D. or thereabouts under Royal patronage. Originally Bon was a cult of nature worship. The Bon po regarded the various elements of nature as spirits or gods to be worshipped for favours or propitiated to avert harm. Seeing that Buddhism had a sound philosophical and doctrinal structure, they thought of providing their religion with a philosophical structure of its own so as to enable it to hold its own in the face of the new religion. In the process they came into conflict with Buddhism. They were supported by a section of the aristocracy which felt threatened at court by the entry of Buddhism with the support of the King.
About the beginning of the eleventh century there was a revival of Buddhism with a centralized religious hierarchy and a monastic order. The Bon po too organized themselves a new with a revised doctrinal structure and an order of monks and monasteries on the same lines as the Buddhists. Though they were called Bon po, they had far too many affinities and similarities with the Buddhists. This helped in eliminating tension between them over the centuries. In fact Bon and Buddhism have together given Tibet a unique religious culture which is reflected in its temples, monasteries, sculptures, paintings, arts, and icons. This religious culture is reflected in the day-to-day life of its people as well.
This book is so designed as to help those engaged in research on the subject in understanding the distinction between Bon and Buddhism in Tibet.