Opnion: Are we just culturally Buddhists?

Everybody knows that dominant religion in Mongolia is Tibetan Buddhism or Lamaism. It is a religion that survived 70-years of Communist rule and prospering now in democracy and free market economy.More and more boys are being sent to Lamaist temple schools and learns to chant in Tibetan and read Tibetan alphabet. Lamaist scriptures and chants are all in Tibetan language, which is a foreign language to Mongolians.
If you ask many Mongolians if they are religious and believe in a god, many would say" yes, of course, we are Buddhists and we believe and pray to god". However, in original Buddhism, there is no concept of creator god.Buddha was a human being which was "enlightened and reached state of Nirvana". Core of the Buddhist teaching is "life is all suffering and there is other reality which is "Nirvana".
He probably would not have recognized Lamaism as religion he founded about 2500 years ago.After hundreds of years of mixing with Tibetan and Mongolian shamanism and feudalism, heads of monasteries and temples of Lamaism became no different than feudal lords. Manipulative and exploitative Lamaism led Mongolia to brink of extinction by turn of 19th century. That is when Mongolian nationalists liberated Mongolia and made it republic.

Now after the bloodless, democratic revolution of 1990s, under context of revival of everything Mongolian, Lamaism is on its path to become most dominant, feudalistic religion in Mongolia. "Yes, we are Mongolians and therefore, Buddhism is our native religion as elements of Yellow Religion is ingrained in our blood and cell" says high lamas.Yeah, right.... many Mongolians do not understand the Lamaist rituals and prayers they participate in. They worship, chant and hear sermons delivered in a foreign language they do not understand. For many Mongolians, their religious beliefs are simply cultural.
Many forgot that before 1921, Mongolia was the most "Lamaist" Buddhist country and high lamas were running the country. However, corruption, syphilis was rampant and according one Russian traveller who visited Mongolia at that time, "these people are doomed to extinction within next 100 years".

Let's us not forgot that Buddhism is all about inner change and equanimity and not about following dogma and rituals.It is not about making a class of people your object of worship and allow them to manipulate you and the society.

By Shagai, a concerned citizen of Mongolia

Note:The above opinion is in no way reflect views of MonInfo News Service. As independent news agency, we welcome all alternative views and opinions out of respect of freedom of expression and speech. If you have different and alternative opinion and news stories, please e-mail us at mongol.setguulch@gmail.com


  1. lamaism is a corrupt form of buddhism .It is a byproduct of brahminical hinduism trying to engulf buddhism.

  2. Well, you must be a Christian attacking Mongolian Buddhist religion... Are you really Mongolian?

    Concerned Mongolian Buddhist


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