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Buddhism in Buryatia—a regional form of Buddhism.

The spread of Buddhism into Buryatia

Historical evidence gives reason to believe that, from the 2nd century BC, proto-Mongol peoples (the Xiongnu, Xianbei, and Khitans) were familiar with Buddhism. On the territory of the Ivolginsk Settlement, remains of Buddhist prayer beads were found in a Xiongnu grave.[1]

At the beginning of the 17th century, Tibetan Buddhism penetrated northward from Mongolia to reach the Buryat population of Transbaikalia (the area just east of Lake Baikal). Initially, Buddhism disseminated primarily among the ethnic groups that had recently migrated out of Khalkha Mongolia (the Selenga and Zede Buryats). At the end of the 17th to the beginning of the 18th centuries, it spread throughout the Transbaikal region. A second branch came directly from Tibet, from the Labrang Monastery in Amdo.[1]

The establishment of Buddhism

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Dzogchen Dugan (temple) at the Ivolga Datsan, 2012
Dzogchen Dugan (temple) at the Ivolga Datsan, 2012
Green Tara Dugan at the Ivolga Datsan, 2012
Green Tara Dugan at the Ivolga Datsan, 2012

To the present day

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The Devajin Dugan at the Tamchinsky datsan. Exhibit at the Ethnographic Museum of the Peoples of Transbaikalia.
The Devajin Dugan at the Tamchinsky datsan. Exhibit at the Ethnographic Museum of the Peoples of Transbaikalia.
Cham mystery dance
Cham mystery dance
At Ivolga Datsan
At Ivolga Datsan
Hambo Lama (center) of the Tamchinsky datsan, 1886
Hambo Lama (center) of the Tamchinsky datsan, 1886

Local characteristics

Buddhism in Buryatia is the northernmost extension of Vajrayana Buddhism in Central Asia. It is primarily the Gelug tradition from Tibet, although there are signs of influence from the Nyingma tradition as well. Buddhist followers in Buryatia revere the founder of the Gelug school, the great guru Tsongkhapa (called Zonhobo in Buryat), on par with the founder of the entire Buddhist tradition, Shakyamuni Buddha. Gelug adherents in Buryatia prefer to either use this self-designation for the tradition, or the general terms "teachings of the Buddha" or "Mahayana doctrine."

Buryat Buddhism shows slight deviations from general Mahayana tradition mainly in its system of religious practice, in its rituals and magical practices, and are due to the influence of traditional, more ancient and archaic beliefs, practices, and rituals of the Tibetans and of the Buryat-Mongols. In particular, the religious system of Buddhism incorporated and assimilated traditional folk ceremonies, rituals, and beliefs associated with the honoring of ovoos, paying homage to spirits of the land, mountains, rivers, and trees. Among monastic religious practices, those of tantric origin, forming the basis of Vajrayana Buddhism, play an important role. In its philosophical, psychological and ethical teachings, Buryat Buddhism does not differ significantly from the fundamental provisions of Mahayana Buddhism as presented in the Tibetan version of the Buddhist canon referred to as the Kangyur (Ganzhuur in Buryat; 108 volumes) and the Tengyur (Danzhuur in Buryat; 225 volumes).

Buddhism has had a tremendous impact on the development of culture and scholarship among the Buryat-Mongols, particularly on the formation and development of philosophical thought, norms of morality, mental development, fictional literature, art, cooking, and aspects of alternative medicine including chronobiology and bioenergetics.

Among the great variety of religious practices at Buryat datsans, there are six large ceremonies that take place: Sagaalgan (New Year); Duynher (Kalachakra); Gandan-Shunserme (the birth, enlightenment and parinirvana of Shakyamuni Buddha); Maidari-Hural (the anticipated coming of Maitreya, the buddha of the next world epoch); Lhabab-Duysen (Buddha's descent from the heaven called Tushita); and Zul-Hural (commemoration of Tsongkhapa).

Temples and monasteries

Datsans in Buryatia and in the Chita and Irkutsk Oblasts:

  1. Hambyn-Hure Datsan of Ulan-Ude: city of Ulan-Ude
  2. Aga Datsan: Chita, Aga Buryat Autonomous Area, village of Aginskoye
  3. Atsagat Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, village of Atsagat
  4. Kurumkan Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, Kurumkansky (Huramhaanai in Buryat) District, village of Kurumkan
  5. Sartul-Gegetuy Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, Jidinsky (Zede) District, village of Gegetuy
  6. Atagan-Dyrestuy Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, Jidinsky (Zede) District, village of Dyrestuy
  7. Tabangut-Ichotuy Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, Jidinsky (Zede) District, village of Dodo-Ichotuy
  8. Egita Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, Yeravninsky (Yaruunyn) District, village of Egita
  9. Sanaga Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, Zakamensky (Zahaaminai) District, village of Sanaga
  10. Ivolga Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, Ivolginsky (Ebilge) District, village of Vyerkhnyaya Ivolga website
  11. Kizhinga Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, Kizhinginsky (Hezhengyn) District, village of Kizhinga
  12. Baldan Breybun Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, Kyakhtinsky (Hyaagtyn) District, village of Murochi
  13. Tugnui Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, Mukhorshibirsky (Muhar-Sheber) District, village of Mukhorshibir
  14. Okinsky Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, Okinsky (Ahyn) District, village of Orlik
  15. Tamchinsky (Gusinoozyorsk) Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, Selenginsky (Selenge) District, village of Gusinoye Ozero (Tamcha)
  16. Kyren Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, Tunkinsky (Tünhen) District, village of Kyren
  17. Hoymor Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, Tunkinsky (Tünhen) District, Arshan resort
  18. Ugdan Datsan: Transbaikalia District, Chita Oblast, village of Ugdan
  19. Ust-Orda (Abaganat) Datsan: Irkutsk Oblast, village of Ust-Orda
  20. Ana Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, Khorinsky (Hori) District, village of Ana
  21. Chesan Datsan: Republic of Buryatia, Kizhinginsky (Hezhengyn) District, village of Chesan
  22. Chita Datsan: Transbaikalia Kray, Chita Oblast, city of Chita
  23. Tsugol Datsan: Chita Oblast, village of Tsugol

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Александр Берзин, Тибетский буддизм: история и перспективы развития, M., 1992 (Alexandr Berzin, Tibetan Buddhism: History and Future Prospects, Moscow 1992; Буддизм, Л. Л. Абаева, М., Республика, 1991 (Buddhism, L.L. Abaeva, Respublika, Moscow 1991)
  2. ^ Декрет Совета Народных Комиссаров (23 января 1918 г.) Об отделении церкви от государства и школы от церкви, Решения КПСС и Советского Государства о Религии и Церкви, История Нашей Страны ("Decree of the Council of People's Commissars (23 January 1918) on the Separation of Church from State and School from Church," in "Resolutions of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Soviet State on Religion and Church," The History of Our Country)

Bibliography