Mongolian Shamanism

by TK

Mongolian  Shamanism

Mongolian Shamanism

Mongolian  Shamanism
Mongol Shaman Female
Mongol Shaman Training
Mongolian Shaman Practice

“The Mongolian government and Lamaist bodies of that period implemented a variety of measures intended to wipe out Mongolian shamanism. For example, Tumed’s Altan Khan passed a law in 1578 that banned shamanist ideological propaganda and traditional rituals. Shamanist ceremonies, including burial-services that involved the burning of animal meat were forbidden by this law. In contrast, Buddhist annual and monthly fasting was strictly enforced. Laws protected inviolable rights of Lamaist officials as officers of the state according to their rank and positions respectively. The four main ranks of Lama priests became exempt from military and fiscal dues. Lavish gifts were given to incoming Lamas according to special codes. For example, a Lama should receive at least 100 horses or equivalent, if he were a learned priest, an unlearned one no less than 20, and even a servant or coachman should be given at least 10. Moreover, images and appurtenances of ongons were burned down and replaced with idols of Mahagal-Burhan. These were to be worshipped with sacrifices of the three kinds of animal flesh (mutton, beef, and horse), and all kinds of milk products. Households were forbidden to carry out shamanist worship at home. Culprits were to pay a fine in horses related to the number of offenses. These laws on one hand gave Lamaism legal, political and economic privileges, while on the other they persecuted shamans and severely restricted the practice of their customs.


Thanks mainly to the investment, assistance, and support of the Ming Dynasty, many Lamaist monasteries were built and many Buddhist texts were published in Beijing to be sent to Mongolia. It is evident that this zeal on the part of the Ming and Qing dynasties to spread the red and yellow Buddhist sects in Mongolia was primarily in order to undermine the heroic warrior traditions of the Mongols. Encouraging Lamaism or Yellow Buddhism in Mongolia subverted the Mongol traditional values. In this regard the distinguished scholar Roy Chapman Andrews wrote “There were several contributory causes of the decay of the Mongol race, but the primal factor was the introduction of Lamaism. Before this they were shamanists, worshipping the spirits of nature...in rocks, trees and mountains.”

Excerpt from Mongolian Shamanism by Purev Otgony

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