Buddhism in Mongolian History, Culture and Society, by Vesna A. Wallace

Hardcover, 352 pages, 2015, new

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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.

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