Buddhism in Mongolia explores the unique historical and cultural elements of Mongolian Buddhism while challenging its stereotyped image as a mere replica of Tibetan Buddhism. Vesna A. Wallace brings together an interdisciplinary group of leading scholars to explore the interaction between the Mongolian indigenous culture and Buddhism, the features that Buddhism acquired through its adaptation to the Mongolian cultural sphere, and the ways Mongols have been constructing their Mongolian Buddhist identity. In a collection of fifteen chapters, the book illuminates the historical, social, and cultural contexts within which Buddhism has operated as a major social and cultural force among various groups Mongolian ethnic groups. The volume covers an array of topics pertaining to the important historical events, social and political conditions, and influential personages in Mongolian Buddhism from the sixteenth century to the present. It shows how Buddhism underwent a series of transformations, adapting itself to the social, political, and nomadic cultures of the Mongols. The contributors demonstrate the ways that Buddhism retained unique Mongolian features through Qing and Mongol support.
Most chapters bring to light the ways in which Mongolian Buddhists saw Buddhism as inseparable form "Mongolness". They posit that by being greatly supported by Mongol and Qing empires, suppressed by the communist governments, and experiencing revitalization facilitated by democratization and challenged posed by modernity, Buddhism underwent a series of transformations, while retaining unique Mongolian features. Wallace covers historical events, social and political conditions, and influential personages in Mongolian Buddhism from the sixteenth century to the present. Buddhism in Mongolia also addresses the artistic and literary expressions of Mongolian Buddhism and various Mongolian Buddhist practices and beliefs.
Vesna A. Wallace is a Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her areas of specialization are Indian and Mongolian Buddhist traditions.
Acknowledgments ; Contributors ; Introduction ; Vesna A. Wallace ; Part I ; 1. What Happened to Queen Jonggen? ; Johan Elverskog ; 2. The Western Mongolian Clear Script and the Making of the Buddhist State ; Richard Taupier ; 3. Shakur Lama: The Last Attempt to Build the Buddhist State ; Baatr Kitinov ; 4. Modernities, Sense Making, and the Inscription of Mongolian Buddhist Place ; Matthew King ; 5. Envisioning a Mongolian Buddhist Identity through Chinggis Khaan ; Vesna A. Wallace ; Part II ; 6. Establishment of the Mergen Tradition of Mongolian Buddhism ; Uranchimeg Ujeed ; 7. Zanabazar (1635-1723): Vajrayana Art and the State in Medieval Mongolia ; Uranchimeg Tsultemin ; 8. The Power and Authority of Maitreya in Mongolia Examined through Mongolian Art ; Uranchimeg Tsultemin ; 9. A Literary History of Buddhism in Mongolia ; Simon Wickham-Smith ; 10. How Vajrapani Became a Mongol ; Vesna A. Wallace ; 11. What Do Protective Deities, Mongolian Heroes, and Fast Steeds Have in Common? ; Vesna A. Wallace ; 12. Buddhist Sacred Mountains, Auspicious Landscapes, and Their Agency ; Vesna A. Wallace ; Part III ; 13. Criminal Lamas: Court Cases Against Buddhist Monks in Early Socialist Mongolia ; Christopher Kaplonski ; 14. Transition and Transformation: Buddhist Women of Buryatia ; Karma Lekshe Tsomo ; 15. The Social and Cultural Practices of Buddhism: The Local Context of Inner Mongolia in the First Half of the Twentieth Century ; Hurelbaatar Ujeed