Bon


Bon
/bon/; Fr. /bawonn/, n.
Cape, a cape on the NE coast of Tunisia: surrender of the German African forces, May 12, 1943. Also called Ras Addar.
/bawn/, n.
an annual festival of the Japanese Buddhists, welcoming ancestral spirits to household altars. Also called Feast of Lanterns.
[ < Japn, orig. Urabon < Chin version of Skt ullambana lit., hanging upside down (a metaphor for the suffering brought on by physical desires)]

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I
Indigenous religion of Tibet.

It was originally concerned with magical propitiation of demonic forces, and its practices included blood sacrifices. It later developed a cult of divine kingship (with kings regarded as manifestations of the sky divinity), reformulated in Tibetan Buddhism as the reincarnation of lamas. Bon's order of oracular priests had their counterpart in Buddhist soothsayers, and its gods of air, earth, and underworld in the lesser Tibetan Buddhist deities. Though its religious supremacy ended in the 8th century, Bon survives in many aspects of Tibetan Buddhism and as a living religion on Tibet's northern and eastern frontiers.
II
Popular annual festival in Japan, usually observed July 13–15, in honor of the spirits of deceased family members and of all the dead.

As at the New Year festival, the dead are believed to return to their birthplaces. Memorial stones are cleaned, dances performed, and paper lanterns and fires are lit to welcome the dead and to bid them farewell when their visit ends.
III
(as used in expressions)
Le Bon Gustave
Cape Bon Peninsula

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▪ Japanese festival
also called  Bon Matsuri, or Urabon,  
 one of the most popular annual festivals in Japan, observed July 13–15 (August 13–15 in some places), honouring the spirits of deceased family ancestors and of the dead generally. It is, along with the New Year festival, one of the two main occasions during the year when the dead are believed to return to their birthplaces. Memorial stones are cleaned, community dances performed, and paper lanterns and fires are lit to welcome the dead and to bid them farewell at the end of their visit.

      The word Urabon was probably derived from the Sanskrit Avalambana (All Souls Day), a Buddhist ceremony based on the Avalambana-sūtra (Urabon-kyō in Japanese). The sutra relates the story of Maudgalyāyana, a disciple of the Buddha, who secured his mother's release from hell by having monks offer food, drink, and shelter to the spirits of his ancestors. Though observed as a Buddhist festival, Bon is not exclusively so and reflects the ancient theme of close continuity in Japanese religious life between the living and the dead.

▪ Tibetan religion
      indigenous religion of Tibet that, when absorbed by the Buddhist traditions introduced from India in the 8th century, gave Tibetan Buddhism much of its distinctive character.

      The original features of Bon seem to have been largely magic-related; they concerned the propitiation of demonic forces and included the practice of blood sacrifices. Later, there is evidence of a cult of divine kingship, the kings being regarded as manifestations of the sky divinity (reformulated in Buddhism as the reincarnation of lamas); an order of oracular priests (their counterpart, the Buddhist soothsayers); and a cult of the gods of the atmosphere, the earth, and subterranean regions (now lesser deities in the Buddhist pantheon).

      In the 8th and 9th centuries, struggles took place between the ruling house of Tibet, whose members sided with Buddhism, and the powerful noble families, who sided with Bon. Enabled by deliberate Buddhist concern for written works, Bon was developed into a systematized religion with specific doctrine and a sacred literature. Although any serious Bon claims to religious supremacy were ended by the late 8th-century persecution by King Khrisong Detsen, it was never completely destroyed and continues to survive both in the aspects of Tibetan Buddhism that are mentioned above and as a living religion on the northern and eastern frontiers of Tibet.

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Universalium. 2010.