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jeudi 17 octobre 2013

La piste perse

Extrait de Traveller in Space, In search of Female Idetity in Tibetan Buddhism, June Campell, 1996 The Athlone Press, p. 37-38

« According to the Russian academic Kuznetzov, Bön was introduced to Tibet in the fifth century BCE, when there occurred a mass migration of Iranians from Sogdiana in north-east Iran to the northern parts of Tibet. The theory is that they brought with them their religion, an ancient form of polytheistic Mithraism, and the Aramaic alphabet, named after Aramaiti, the Iranian earth-goddess[1]. This is an interesting proposition, given that Buddhists have always maintained that the Tibetan alphabet was devised by Sanskrit scholars at the time of the state establishment, whereas Bon texts ascertain the existence of a written language long before this time. These texts maintain that many translations were made into different Indo- European languages, and the teachings of Bon thus spread right across the Middle East and Asia. Texts of the sixteenth-century Buddhist philosopher and scholar Taranatha, refer to the founders of Boil as being of Persian origin, and name Mathura as being one of them. In Bon texts the name Mura is given. In the Tibetan biography of Shenrab, who is said to have been the original founder of Bon, his origins are recorded as being in Iran-Elam and his name given as Mithra. Furthermore, one of the epithets of Bori s founder as it appears m its Tibetan form, is Tsug Pu (Tibetan gtsug.phud), meaning ‘the crown of the head', which approximates with the actual meaning of the word ‘Mithra’.

If indeed ancient traditions of both Iran and India reached Tibet and influenced the already existent practices of shamanism, which were certainly a common feature of all the peoples of Northern Asia and America in early times, then the curious combination of aspects of Indian Tantra, Buddhism and Iranian cults such as Mithraism provide clues as to how the representations of the female developed. Certain myths appear to have common roots. The Tibetans, for example, believe that their race came into being when a monkey married a goddess who emerged from a roc k, whilst in Mithraic myth, the Iranian Mithras was bom from the Rock Mother (Petra Genetrix). The name of the principal Iranian deity Ahura Mazda is to be found in Bon texts. Indeed Chandra Das translates a phrase meaning ‘the language of Ahura’ (aura trita, Tibetan a.u.ra.bri.ta) as [38] ‘the language of the demons'[2], implying the Buddhist view of the ancient deities as ‘demons’. The roots of Mithraic belief are to be found far back in the annals of prehistory in the worship of the sky- goddess Mitra, references to whom can be found in the history of North Mesopotamia around the fourteenth century BCE, and whose predominance .is the central female deity either resulted in, or was due to, a social system in which female identity was highly valued.[3] Her worship in later times was connected to the Anatolian cults of the Mother Goddess Ma, but as time went on a gender transformation seems to have taken place, and Mitra became the male Indo-Iranian sun god Mithra, who according to Mithraic myth, took as hh consort, the Anatolian Mother Goddess Ma. This phenomenon of gender transformation and reversal of roles, as I shall later show, was not restricted to the Middle East, but seems to have taken place throughout the whole sub-continent of India, and also in China where confusion over gender transformations of popular deities still exist to this day. »

"Pour M. Kuznetsov, le bön est issu de migrations de masse d’Iraniens quittant la Sogdiane (région située entre les fleuves Amou-Daria et Syr-Daria) pour le nord-ouest du Tibet. Ceux-ci apportèrent avec eux leur religion. Le fondateur de la nouvelle religion serait un certain Mathura, déformation de Mithra, fondateur du mithraïsme. Le bön serait donc un vestige de cette religion autrefois populaire dans tout l’orient méditerranéen." Source

[1] B. Kuznetsov, ‘Who was the founder of the « Bön » religion’, Tibet Journal, 1975, p. 113.

[2] Chandra Das, Tibetan-English Dictionary (Rinsen Book Company, 1979), p. 1347

[3] See Riane Eisler’s The Chalice and the Blade (Pandora, 1990), which reconstructs prehistory and argues there are two cultural models, partnership and dominator, the former being associated with goddess worship, and the latter with patriarchal religions and societal organisation.

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