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Archiv für Religionsgeschichte

Ed. by Bickel, Susanne / Frankfurter, David / Johnston, Sarah Iles / Pironti, Gabriella / Rüpke, Jörg / Scheid, John / Várhelyi, Zsuzsanna

Together with Beard, Mary / Bonnet, Corinne / Borgeaud, Philippe / Henrichs, Albert / Knysh, Alexander / Lissarrague, Francois / Malamoud, Charles / Maul, Stefan / Parker, Robert C. Y. / Shaked, Shaul / Stroumsa, Gedaliahu Guy / Tardieu, Michel / Volokhine, Youri


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History Writing and the Making of Mongolian Buddhism

Karénina Kollmar-Paulenz
Published Online: 2018-03-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/arege-2018-0009

Abstract:

When in the late sixteenth century the third Dalai Lama travelled to the Mongolian regions, he was accompanied by Buddhist monks of different Tibetan schools, Gelugpa, Sakyapa, Kagyüpa and others. Many of them built monasteries and temples in Mongolia, funded by Mongolian nobles. Although Gelugpa Buddhism quickly became dominant in Mongolia, the other schools remained present and active in the country until today. From the start, however, most Mongolian historians described the spread and development of Buddhism in the Mongolian lands as the endeavor of just one school, the ‘glorious Gelugpa’, ignoring the plurality of the Tibetan-Buddhist schools in the Mongolian religious field. This paper aims to analyze how and to what aims Mongolian historians created a uniform Gelugpa Buddhism, which taxonomies they used and which narratives they employed to present Gelugpa Buddhism as the religion of the Mongolian peoples. Moreover, the paper explores which impact Mongolian historiography had (and has) on modern scholarship and its narrative of Mongolian religious history. I argue that modern scholarship helps to perpetuate the ‘master narrativeʼ of Mongolian Buddhist historiography, presenting Mongolian Buddhism as a ‘pureʼ, exclusive Gelugpa Buddhism.

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Published Online: 2018-03-28


Citation Information: Archiv für Religionsgeschichte, Volume 20, Issue 1, Pages 135–155, ISSN (Online) 1868-8888, ISSN (Print) 1436-3038, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/arege-2018-0009.

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