According to the Bon religion of Tibet, about 18,000 years ago (1) Lord Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche ("Teacher and Great Man of the Shen"; also known as Shenrab Miwo Kunle Nampar Gyalwa) was born in the land of Olmo Lungring ('Ol mo lung ring), a part of a larger country called Tazig (sTag gzigs: Central Asia).
Ol symbolizes the unborn, mo the undiminishing; Lung denotes the prophetic words of Tonpa Shenrab, the founder of Bön, and ring, his everlasting compassion. Olmo Lungring constitutes one-third of the existing world, and is situated to the west of Tibet.
It is described as an eight-petalled lotus under a sky which appears like an eight-spoked wheel. In the centre rises Mount Yungdrung Gutseg (gYung drung dgu brtsegs), the 'Pyramid of Nine Swastikas.'
The nine swastikas represent the Nine Ways of Bön, which will be described below. The swastika or yundrung is a symbol of permanence and indestructibility of the wisdom of Bön.
At the base of Mount Yungdrung Gutseg spring four rivers, flowing towards the four cardinal directions. The mountain is surrounded by temples, cities and parks. To the south is Barpo Sogye (Bar po so brgyad) palace, where Tonpa Shenrab was born.
To the west and north are the palaces where Tonpa Shenrab's wives and children lived. To the east is Shampo Lhatse (Sham po lha rtse) temple. The complex of palaces, rivers and parks with Mount Yungdrung Gutseg in the centre constitutes the inner region (Nang gling) of Olmo Lungring. The intermediate region (Bar gling) consists of twelve cities, four of which lie in the four cardinal directions. The third region includes the outer land (mTha' gling). These three regions are encircled by an ocean and a range of snowy mountains.
Tonpa Shenrab was born a prince, married while young and had children. At the age of thirty-one he renounced the world and lived in austerity, teaching the doctrine. During his whole life his efforts to propagate the Bön religion were obstructed by the demon Khyabpa Lagring (Khyab pa Lag ring), that fought to destroy or impede Tonpa Shenrab's work until eventually the demon was converted and became his disciple.NOTES(1) According to the bsTan-rtsis of Nyima Tenzin, translated by Per Kvaerne in "A Chronological Table of the Bon-po: The bsTan rcsis of Nyi-ma bstan-'jin," in Acta Orientalia XXXIII, Copenhagen 1971, pp. 205-282.