Ⓣʰ Theology

That is a good summary of pantheism and animism. There is one other category to consider - panentheism. Panentheism says that the Divine is both within everything and beyond everything. So there is an immanent aspect of Divinity (within everything) and a transcendent aspect (it’s also beyond everything since its infinite and therefore cannot be completely contained within anything finite.) Personally I am both a panentheist and an animist. The way I see it, the Goddessence is within everything, and beyond everything and also manifests itself in a myriad of sentient entities that have varying degrees of consciousness or “spirit.” So the Spirit of Divinity is manifest in the many spirits of nature. The Hindu tradition and some Buddhist traditions talks about these in terms of “Devas.”


Another interesting tradition connected with animism/shamanism is the Bon tradition of Tibet, which is the native Tibetan animistic/shamanistic tradition. Over the years, the Bon tradition took on a lot of ideas and practices from the Buddhist tradition, and the Tibetan Buddhist tradition took on a lot of Bon ideas and practices, so now it’s hard to tell them apart, but they each maintain their own separate lineages.

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Great read, I have not studied much about the Pure lands, but definitely want to learn more. I liked this from the article:

" The Jonang Master Kunchen Dolpopa labored long and hard to establish other emptiness (zhentong) —the view of ultimate reality as empty of all that is insubstantial and impermanent, but full of all permanent Buddha qualities— not out of some quaint philosophical curiosity, but to dispel the doubts of fellow Buddhists regarding the Pure Land. He saw the growing dominance of nihilism as a threat to the excellent Pure Land practice that is the last remaining viable way to enlightenment in this Dharma-Ending Age.

Kunchen Dolpopa taught in The Dharma Handbook: “The relative three worlds are just an exaggerated, confusing appearance, while the absolute three worlds and the Buddha Essence are an indestructible, unimagined, unconfusing appearance.”

The relative three worlds are the three realms of desire, form, and formlessness, while the absolute three worlds are none other than the three aspects of the Pure Land: the dharmakaya-kshetra of the fully enlightened mind of Amideva, in which dwell the Buddhas and Great Bodhisattvas; the sambhogakaya-kshetra of the unhindered power of Amideva, in which dwell the Bodhisattvas; and the nirmanakaya-kshetra of the compassion of Amideva, in which dwell aspiring ordinary beings, the non-retrogressing objects of the Buddha’s compassion. They are the three Pure Lands into which beings of various grades are reborn upon making the Definitive Aspiration for birth in the field of action (buddha kshetra ) of Amideva."

Thank you for sharing that :slightly_smiling_face:



Your post reminded me of this bumper sticker I have seen a few times


Havent seen this onein person , but goes to show you the bumper wars will never end lol:



Appreciate the clarification. Makes me wonder if most Animistic religions were born with a Shaman, or someone who could communicate with or interpret these spirits messages.

IDK, maybe not. But looking at many religions throughout history, there seems to be a designated spiritual position or role for people throughout many cultures, who seem to be able to connect with the divine on a deeper level than most.


I like the different layers of walls, and how one separates the people from the animals. I wonder what that symbolizes?

Ah, very interesting, I did not know there was a difference between Bon practices and Tibetan Buddhist practices. Very cool.


Really great video @_Barry , appreciate you sharing that.


Worth researching . . . . . . . . . .


Punched it into ChatGPT-4 to see what it had to say:

Bon and Tibetan Buddhism, while sharing many commonalities, have distinct differences:

  1. Origin and Authority: Bon’s religious authority comes from the land of Zhangzhung and its founder Tonpa Shenrab, different from the Indian Buddhist tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Bon’s teachings are derived from what it considers the eternal religion received from Zhangzhung [❞].

  2. Monastic Vows and Practices: Bon has specific monastic vows, such as vegetarianism, which differ from Tibetan Buddhism. While both traditions have monastic and lay followers, Bon emphasizes various Indian sciences like medicine and astrology more intensely [❞].

  3. Philosophical and Ritualistic Similarities: Bon teachings closely resemble those of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism, and its monastic and debate traditions are similar to the Gelug school. Both traditions teach concepts like karma, rebirth, and the six realms of existence.

  4. Bon Doctrines and Practices: Bon doctrine includes the “nine ways” and the “four portals and the treasury,” which encompass a range of teachings from prediction, rituals for local gods, and magical rites to ascetic practices and advanced meditational practices like Dzogchen. Bon is more explicit in embracing the practical side of life, including life rituals and worldly activities.

  5. Theological Concepts: Bon holds a belief in a transcendent principle pervading reality, represented by male and female aspects, similar to the Buddhist Dharmakaya and Buddha nature concepts. The Bon Dzogchen understanding of reality involves the concept of the mind as an emanation of luminous mind, an expression of the “bon nature”.

  6. Teachings Classification: Bon’s teachings are classified into three main schemas: the Nine Successive Vehicles to Enlightenment, Four Portals of Bon and the Treasury, and the Three Cycles of Precepts that include outer, inner, and secret teachings.

  7. Deities and Rituals: Bon deities and rituals often resemble those in Buddhism, though their names and iconography differ. For instance, the Bon deity Phurba closely resembles the Buddhist deity Vajrakilaya.

  8. Worldview and Emphasis on Practical Life: Bon tends to be more accepting and explicit in embracing the practical side of life, including rituals and activities related to everyday life, which is less common in Tibetan Buddhism.

In summary, while Bon and Tibetan Buddhism share many similarities in their teachings, rituals, and monastic practices, they differ in their sources of religious authority, specific doctrines, emphasis on practical life rituals, and certain theological concepts.


Shakyamuni Buddha, Nargarjuna, Padmasambhava . . . . . . .

  1. Shakyamuni Buddha:

    • Historical Context: Shakyamuni Buddha, also known as Siddhartha Gautama, is the founder of Buddhism. He lived in ancient India around the 5th to 4th century BCE.
    • Teachings: His teachings form the core of Buddhism, focusing on the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, which address the nature of suffering and the path to enlightenment.
  2. Nagarjuna:

    • Historical Context: Nagarjuna was an Indian Buddhist philosopher who lived around the 2nd century CE, long after the Buddha’s time.
    • Contributions: He is known for developing the concept of ‘Sunyata’ (emptiness) and is a central figure in Mahayana Buddhism. His philosophy argues that all phenomena are empty of intrinsic nature.
  3. Padmasambhava:

    • Historical Context: Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, was an 8th-century Indian Buddhist master.
    • Role in Tibetan Buddhism: He is credited with bringing Buddhism to Tibet and is a revered figure in Tibetan Buddhism. He established the Nyingma school and integrated local beliefs into Buddhism, which helped in its acceptance.
  4. Bon:

    • Nature: Bon is a pre-Buddhist spiritual tradition of Tibet.
    • Beliefs and Practices: It has its own set of practices, deities, and cosmology. Although influenced by the introduction of Buddhism into Tibet, Bon retains distinct rituals and beliefs, such as the focus on shamanistic and animistic practices.
  5. Tibetan Buddhism:

    • Development: It evolved from the 7th century CE onwards as Buddhism merged with the indigenous Bon traditions of Tibet.
    • Characteristics: Tibetan Buddhism encompasses the teachings of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, with a unique emphasis on rituals, tantra, and the role of lamas or spiritual teachers. It’s divided into different schools, like Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya, and Gelug.

In summary:

  • Shakyamuni Buddha is the founder of Buddhism, emphasizing a path to enlightenment.
  • Nagarjuna expanded Buddhist philosophy, particularly in Mahayana Buddhism, with his teachings on emptiness.
  • Padmasambhava is a seminal figure in Tibetan Buddhism, blending local traditions with Buddhism.
  • Bon is an indigenous Tibetan spiritual tradition, distinct but influenced by Buddhism.
  • Tibetan Buddhism is a unique form of Buddhism incorporating Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings, enriched by local Tibetan beliefs and practices.

Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rimpoche comes from the Bon lineage and teaches in the West. Here he speaks of the connection between Bon and shamanism. He also has a book and youtube videos on dream yoga. Several years ago I had the privilege of attending a workshop that he gave on dream yoga.


Vodou: Haiti’s African-Derived Religion

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Great video about the origin of the Christmas tree! Lots of research, and interesting his firm statement about having or not having evidence! That unless with evidence its not true.

“Our own filter bubbles” i subscribe to and (for me) i like this idea about the origin of Christmas trees:

Heres a site i like to use


The 5 pointed star representing the 5 elements was really interesting.

If you want a powerful air freshener during the time of year when every one in trapped indoors, get an evergreen



You may like some of the vids here.