Foundation for the Preservation of Yungdrung Bön / གཡུང་དྲུང་བོན་ཉར་ཚགས་རིག་མཛོད།

The Magical Duel between Milarepa and Naro Bönchung: Who Really Won?

The Magical Duel between Milarepa and Naro Bönchung: Who Really Won?


Probably everyone who has even a little interest in Tibet knows or has at least heard of the magical contest between Buddhist yogi Milarepa and Bönpo sorcerer Naro Bönchung which is purported to have taken place at Mount Kailash.  The tale has been told and retold for centuries in Tibet and beyond to illustrate the superiority of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism over Yungdrung Bön. But does it have any grounding in real events? Did this magical duel really happen on Mount Kailash? And who was the real winner? I will attempt to answer these questions by examining both Bönpo and Buddhist sources on Milarepa as well as by looking into the oral tradition of pachyu ‘shamans’ of Gurungs (Tamu) in Nepal.

The text of this presentation can be read here:


3 Responses

  1. André Walsh says:

    I have been reading the book of the life of Milarepa, I love that!

  2. Anna says:

    In your beautiful and astounding presentation, you were citing a biography of Mila (“Milarepa Narratives ..”). Could you please refer to this text in detail?

    Thank you

    • FPYB says:

      Thank you, Anna. You can read translation of Tsangnyon Heruka’s biography of Milarepa in this books: Tsangnyön Heruka, Tr. Andrew Quintman, Life of Milarepa, (New York: Penguin Books, 2010. And, also, a study on various biographies of Milarepa here: Tiso, Francis V. Liberation in One Lifetime: Biographies and Teachings of Milarepa, North Atlantic Books, Berkely, California, 2014.

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