The standard Buddhist version of the introduction of Buddhism into Tibet under the patronage of the Tibetan kings in the 7th and 8th centuries AD is not based on contemporary sources, but is a pious reconstruction made some three to four hundred years after the event. The concern of this paper is not with historical reality in a strictly factual sense, but rather with competing representations or constructions of history. Although the established Buddhist version of Tibetan history has long dominated the Tibetan as well as the international scene, it is not the only version. The 'autochthonous' Bon religion has its own historical perspective, which in many respects differs radically from that of the Buddhists. The author shall argue that although the Bon version is no older than the dominant Buddhist one, it is an independent and coherent construction of early Tibetan history. The paper draws heavily on what may be the earliest historical text of the Bon religion, the 'Grags pa gling grags' (late twelfth century AD?), of which an edition, translation and study is under preparation.
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