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[book] Buddhism in Dialogue with Contemporary Societies

Buddhism in Dialogue with Contemporary SocietiesBuddhism in Dialogue with Contemporary Societies. Carola Roloff, Wolfram Weiße, Michael Zimmermann (Editor)

With contributions by
Bhikkhu Bodhi, Bhikkhunī Dhammadinnā, Jay L. Garfield, Huimin Bhikshu, Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Sallie B. King, Volker Küster, Miao Guang, Thea Mohr, Mario Poceski, Yangsi Rinpoche, Jan-Ulrich Sobisch, Sander G. Tideman, André Van der Braak, Michael von Brück, B. Alan Wallace

«The growing pluralization of religion and culture in Europe means that we encounter an increasing number of Buddhist immigrants as well as ‘Western’ converts. Against this background, in June 2018, the Academy of World Religions and the Numata Center for Buddhist Studies at the University of Hamburg (Germany), invited scholars of Theravāda, East Asian and Tibetan Buddhism. The questions discussed referred to:
— Does Buddhism matter today? What can it contribute?
— Must Buddhism adapt to the modern world? How can Buddhism adapt to a non-Asia context?
— When Buddhism travels, what must be preserved if Buddhism is to remain Buddhism?

The contributions in this volume show not only that Buddhism matters in the West but that it already has its strong impact on our societies. Therefore, universities in Europe should include Buddhist theories and techniques in their curricula.»

[books] Building a Religious Empire

Building a Religious Empire

Brenton Sullivan. Building a Religious Empire. Tibetan Buddhism, Bureaucracy, and the Rise of the Gelukpa

The vast majority of monasteries in Tibet and nearly all of the monasteries in Mongolia belong to the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism, best known through its symbolic head, the Dalai Lama. Historically, these monasteries were some of the largest in the world, and even today some Geluk monasteries house thousands of monks, both in Tibet and in exile in India. In Building a Religious Empire, Brenton Sullivan examines the school’s expansion and consolidation of power along the frontier with China and Mongolia from the mid-seventeenth through the mid-eighteenth centuries to chart how its rise to dominance took shape.
In contrast to the practice in other schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Geluk lamas devoted an extraordinary amount of effort to establishing the institutional frameworks within which everyday aspects of monastic life, such as philosophizing, meditating, or conducting rituals, took place. In doing so, the lamas drew on administrative techniques usually associated with state-making—standardization, record-keeping, the conscription of young males, and the concentration of manpower in central cores, among others—thereby earning the moniker «lama official,» or «Buddhist bureaucrat.»

The deployment of these bureaucratic techniques to extend the Geluk «liberating umbrella» over increasing numbers of lands and peoples leads Sullivan to describe the result of this Geluk project as a «religious empire.» The Geluk lamas’ privileging of the monastic institution, Sullivan argues, fostered a common religious identity that insulated it from factionalism and provided legitimacy to the Geluk project of conversion, conquest, and expansion. Ultimately, this system succeeded in establishing a relatively uniform and resilient network of thousands of monasteries stretching from Nepal to Lake Baikal, from Beijing to the Caspian Sea.»

[books] Mobility and Displacement

Mobility and Displacement : Nomadism, Identity and Postcolonial Narratives in Mongolia book cover
Cover

Orhon Myadar. Mobility and Displacement. Nomadism, Identity and Postcolonial Narratives in Mongolia.

«This book explores and contests both outsiders’ projections of Mongolia and the self-objectifying tropes Mongolians routinely deploy to represent their own country as a land of nomads.

It speaks to the experiences of many societies and cultures that are routinely treated as exotic, romantic, primitive or otherwise different and Other in Euro-American imaginaries, and how these imaginaries are also internally produced by those societies themselves. The assumption that Mongolia is a nomadic nation is largely predicated upon Mongolia’s environmental and climatic conditions, which are understood to make Mongolia suitable for little else than pastoral nomadism. But to the contrary, the majority of Mongolians have been settled in and around cities and small population centers. Even Mongolians who are herders have long been unable to move freely in a smooth space, as dictated by the needs of their herds, and as they would as free-roaming «nomads.» Instead, they have been subjected to various constraints across time that have significantly limited their movement. The book weaves threads from disparate branches of Mongolian studies to expose various visible and invisible constraints on population mobility in Mongolia from the Qing period to the post-socialist era.  

With its in-depth analysis of the complexities of the relationship between land rights, mobility, displacement, and the state, the book makes a valuable contribution to the fields of cultural geography, political geography, heritage and culture studies, as well as Eurasian and Inner-Asian Studies.»

[Book] Politics and Literature in Mongolia (1921-1948)

Politics and Literature in Mongolia (1921-1948)Simon Wickhamsmith. Politics and Literature in Mongolia (1921-1948).
«Politics and Literature in Mongolia (1921-1948) investigates the relationship between literature and politics during Mongolia’s early revolutionary period. Between the 1921 socialist revolution and the first Writers’ Congress held in April 1948, the literary community constituted a key resource in the formation and implementation of policy. At the same time, debates within the party, discontent among the population, and questions of religion and tradition led to personal and ideological conflict among the intelligentsia and, in many cases, to trials and executions. Using primary texts, many of them translated into English for the first time, Simon Wickhamsmith shows the role played by the literary arts — poetry, fiction and drama — in the complex development of the ‘new society’, helping to bring Mongolia’s nomadic herding population into the utopia of equality, industrial progress and social well-being promised by the Mongolian People’s Revolutionary Party.»

[book] Subjective Lives and Economic Transformations in Mongolia

Rebecca M. Empson. Subjective Lives and Economic Transformations in Mongolia. Life in the Gap.

Subjective Lives and Economic Transformations in Mongolia details this complex story through the intimate lives of five women. Building on long-term friendships, which span over 20 years, Rebecca documents their personal journeys in an ever-shifting landscape. She reveals how these women use experiences of living a ‘life in the gap’ to survive the hard reality between desired outcomes and their actual daily lives. In doing so, she offers a completely different picture from that presented by economists and statisticians of what it is like to live in this fluctuating extractive economy.

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[books] The Buddha’s Footprint

Johan Elverskog. The Buddha’s Footprint: An Environmental History of Asia.
buddhas_foot_«In the current popular imagination, Buddhism is often understood to be a religion intrinsically concerned with the environment. The Dharma, the name given to Buddhist teachings by Buddhists, states that all things are interconnected. Therefore, Buddhists are perceived as extending compassion beyond people and animals to include plants and the earth itself out of a concern for the total living environment. In The Buddha’s Footprint, Johan Elverskog contends that only by jettisoning this contemporary image of Buddhism as a purely ascetic and apolitical tradition of contemplation can we see the true nature of the Dharma. According to Elverskog, Buddhism is, in fact, an expansive religious and political system premised on generating wealth through the exploitation of natural resources.
Elverskog surveys the expansion of Buddhism across Asia in the period between 500 BCE and 1500 CE, when Buddhist institutions were built from Iran and Azerbaijan in the west, to Kazakhstan and Siberia in the north, Japan in the east, and Sri Lanka and Indonesia in the south. He examines the prosperity theology at the heart of the Dharma that declared riches to be a sign of good karma and the means by which spritiual status could be elevated through donations bequeathed to Buddhist institutions. He demonstrates how this scriptural tradition propelled Buddhists to seek wealth and power across Asia and to exploit both the people and the environment.

Elverskog shows the ways in which Buddhist expansion not only entailed the displacement of local gods and myths with those of the Dharma—as was the case with Christianity and Islam—but also involved fundamentally transforming earlier social and political structures and networks of economic exchange. The Buddha’s Footprint argues that the institutionalization of the Dharma was intimately connected to agricultural expansion, resource extraction, deforestation, urbanization, and the monumentalization of Buddhism itself.»

[публикации] Gold Mining, Shamanism, татары, Цеденбал

  • Dulam Bumochir. The State, Popular Mobilisation and Gold Mining in Mongolia. Shaping ‘Neoliberal’ Policies. (download pdf)
  • Judith Hangartner. Margins of Power. The constitution and contestation of Darhad shamans’ power in contemporary Mongolia. Dissertation. (download pdf)
  • Тишин В.В., Нанзатов Б.З. Татары Внутренней Азии VIII–XII вв.: некоторые вопросы исторической географии. (загрузить pdf)

Из старого:

  • Mongolians after Socialism: Politics, Economy, Religion (download pdf).
  • Morten Axel Pedersen. Spirits in Transition. Shamanic Souls and Political Bodies in Northern Mongolia after State Socialism (download pdf)
  • Надиров Ш.Г. Цеденбал. 1984 год. (загрузить pdf)

[books] Along the Silk Roads in Mongol Eurasia

biranAlong the Silk Roads in Mongol Eurasia. Generals, Merchants, and Intellectuals
by Michal Biran (Editor), Jonathan Brack (Editor), Francesca Fiaschetti (Editor).

During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Chinggis Khan and his heirs established the largest contiguous empire in the history of the world, extending from Korea to Hungary and from Iraq, Tibet, and Burma to Siberia. Ruling over roughly two thirds of the Old World, the Mongol Empire enabled people, ideas, and objects to traverse immense geographical and cultural boundaries. Along the Silk Roads in Mongol Eurasia reveals the individual stories of three key groups of people—military commanders, merchants, and intellectuals—from across Eurasia. These annotated biographies bring to the fore a compelling picture of the Mongol Empire from a wide range of historical sources in multiple languages, providing important insights into a period unique for its rapid and far-reaching transformations.

Read together or separately, they offer the perfect starting point for any discussion of the Mongol Empire’s impact on China, the Muslim world, and the West and illustrate the scale, diversity, and creativity of the cross-cultural exchange along the continental and maritime Silk Roads.

[Книги] Urban Hunters

Lars Hojer, Morten Axel Pedersen. Urban Hunters. Dealing and Dreaming in Times of Transition.

urbanhuntersAn ethnography of the Mongolian capital city of Ulaanbaatar during the nation’s transition from socialism to a market-based economic system

Urban Hunters is an ethnography of the Mongolian capital city, Ulaanbaatar, during the nation’s transition from socialism to a market-based economic system. Following the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, Mongolia entered a period of economic chaos characterized by wild inflation, disappearing banks, and closing farms, factories, and schools. During this time of widespread poverty, a generation of young adults came of age. In exploring the social, cultural, and existential ramifications of a transition that has become permanent and acquired a logic of its own, Lars Højer and Morten Axel Pedersen present a new theorization of social agency in postsocialist as well as postcolonial contexts.

 

New Book: Forging the Golden Urn

000000_urnMax Oidtmann. Forging the Golden Urn: The Qing Empire and the Politics of Reincarnation in Tibet.

«In Forging the Golden Urn, Max Oidtmann ventures into the polyglot world of the Qing empire in search of the origins of the golden urn tradition. He seeks to understand the relationship between the Qing state and its most powerful partner in Inner Asia—the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism. Why did the Qianlong emperor invent the golden urn lottery in 1792? What ability did the Qing state have to alter Tibetan religious and political traditions? What did this law mean to Qing rulers, their advisors, and Tibetan Buddhists? Working with both the Manchu-language archives of the empire’s colonial bureaucracy and the chronicles of Tibetan elites, Oidtmann traces how a Chinese bureaucratic technology—a lottery for assigning administrative posts—was exported to the Tibetan and Mongolian regions of the Qing empire and transformed into a ritual for identifying and authenticating reincarnations. Forging the Golden Urn sheds new light on how the empire’s frontier officers grappled with matters of sovereignty, faith, and law and reveals the role that Tibetan elites played in the production of new religious traditions in the context of Qing rule».