Attempts to Buddhicise the Cult of Chinggis Khan

N. HURCHA1 Editorial Office of the Inner Mongolia Social Sciences Inner Mongolian Academy of Social Sciences Daxue Lu Huhhut, Inner Mongolia, 10010, People’s Republic of China ABSTRACT Buddhism and the cult of Chinggis Khan are part of the Mongolian cultural and religious heritage. Through extensive textual and historical analysis, N. Hurcha argues that the cult of Chinggis Khan instituted in the thirteenth century has survived repeated attempts of Buddhist monks to incorporate it into the Buddhist ritual and cosmology. The paper poses important questions as how to balance the conflicting moral qualities represented by these two cultural and religious institutions of the Mongols.

Ever since the penetration of Red Hat (Nyingmapa) Buddhism into Mongolia in the late 13th century, Buddhist lamas regarded the cult of Chinggis Khan as a hindrance to the spread of Buddhism. However, since they had no courage to prohibit the proud central feature of the nomadic culture – the ancestral cult of the Mongolian royal family (altan urag) – they could only try to bring it closer to Buddhism itself. In the 16th century, when Yellow Hat (Gelugpa) Buddhism began to spread among Mongols, the cult of Chinggis Khan was again considered a block to the lamas’ efforts. However, they refrained from antagonising the Mongols by denouncing it. Instead they attempted to subject it to their influence. However, all their efforts eventually ended in failure. In this paper I would like to expound on this interesting phenomenon. CREATING PUBLIC OPINION Before undertaking an important endeavour, it is a usual practice to create favourable public opinion. Lamas were no exception in making the necessary preparation before their attempt to turn the cult of Chinggis Khan towards Buddhism.
Inner Asia 1 (1999): 45–57 Reprinted 2008 © Global Oriental Ltd

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Dalai or the Panchen Lamas ever had the right to confer titles on Chinggis Khan posthumously. He pacified with his fierce name the twelve recalcitrant kings.3 This must have been the reflection of the aristocratic opinion of the time. Here. the heavenly lord. to worship Vajra-Pani on a large scale. This tradition was maintained until very recently as can be seen in Ejen Bogda-yin Serjim (Offerings to the Holy Lord). The Heaven that supports the whole world. According to Batbagan.indd 46 30/6/08 11:19:29 . HURCHA Hutugal Sechen Hung Taiji (1540–1586) wrote in his celebrated Arban Buyantu Nom-un Cagan Teühe (White History of Ten Virtues). this was first mentioned in Had-un Ündüsü-ü Huriyangui Altan Tobchi (The Comprehensive Golden Chronicle of the Khans) and in greater detail in Sagang Sechen Hung Taiji’s (1604-1669) Erdeni Tobchi (Bejewelled Summary). Another point worth mentioning is the so-called genealogical link of the Mongol Khans to the Indian and Tibetan kings. or ‘[He] was evidently reincarnated as the majestic Vajra-Pani’. Tengri-ün Arban Hoyar Dagu (Twelve Songs of Heaven). ‘After that. Since then.46 N. Chinggis Khan is portrayed as a reincarnation of the bodhisattva Vajra-Pani. As is well known. especially the Ordos Mongols. in a Mongolian place called Küsen-ü Jad. no one other than the Phagspa. The later practice of calling Chinggis a reincarnation of Vajra-Pani was related to this tradition of the Phagspa Lama. and was heard all over the Jambudvipa’. Ulagan Debter (Red Chronicle) 03_Hurcha. By 1949. the reincarnation of Vajra-Pani – Temüjin.5 Such an equation led Mongols. he gave the title Chakravartin (universal Buddhist king) to Khubilai Khan. In general. For example. Thus in the ritual song of the Chinggis shrine. the prince – was born. the practice of conferring Sanskrit names of saintly persons and nobles upon Mongol Khans began with the Phagspa Lama (1235–1280). all the Borjigin royal clan princes and nobles worshipped Vajra Pani. it was such canons as the ‘Cihula Hereglegci Tegüs Udh-a tu Shastir (The Indispensible Comprehensive Sutra). The reincarnation of the majestic Vajra-Pani. and implemented impeccably the ancient dual system (of politics and religion). And his queens and companions are invited. leaving the impression upon people that the worship of Chinggis Khan and the worship of Buddhist saints were equivalent. which begins. Chinggis became ‘the great virtuous holy Bodhisattva’ and was asked to ‘enjoy imperishable happiness and peace’. born at Deligün Boldog of the Onon River’. written in the 20th century.4 It is evident that the frequent use of the following phrases in sutras dedicated to Chinggis are manifestations of a Buddhist influence: ‘[He] was reincarnated as the heroic Bodhisattva Vajra Pani. put the entire Jambudvipa2 under his control. the name of the August Chinggis Khan spread to Heaven. According to scholars. Chinggis Khan.

one face. After the collapse of the Yuan dynasty. august Chinggis Khan. Since such a psychological habitat was extremely unfavourable to the spread of Yellow Hat Buddhism in Mongolia. the cult of Chinggis Khan was fully revived among the Mongols. reddish yellow sparse beard and eyebrows. Later that secret stuff [i. after the sixteenth century lamas had to wage a second campaign to pacify the cult.6 Khubilai Khan reportedly remarked in the White History: ‘[The dual system of politics and religion] was first instituted by Maga Sambadi Khan of Ancient India and then renovated by the Sakyamuni Buddha. Tibetan and Mongol Khans’.8 It goes without saying that such a ferocious cult figure which ate ‘meat and blood.10 Thus they used another method to pacify the heretical sides of the cult. In ‘Offerings to the Holy Lord’. meticulously carried it out to rule the empire and people’.7 These explanations are no more than attempts to legitimate the Buddhicisation of the cult of Chinggis Khan. the Phagspa was not able to erase Chinggis’ image from the heart of the Mongol people in general. we read: 03_Hurcha. thanks to the weak influence of Red Hat Buddhism. and holding a thread in his threatening left hand which is put upon his heart’.ATTEMPTS TO BUDDHICISE THE CULT OF CHINGGIS KHAN 47 and Mashi Todorhai Uhagdahun Hemehu Sudur (Sutra Called the Very Clear Meaning) that systemised the tradition of linking the rise and fall of Buddhism to the deeds of Indian. surrounded by red mountains. he had some fiendish features: ‘dangerous or rough. I was told that if the portrait was revealed. three round red eyes. the Phagspa tried to envelope or cover the fierce looking figure worshipped with blood sacrifices. immersed in the sea of blood’. According to Tabudugugar düri-yin dalai lama-yin neyislel orugsan temdeglel (Record of the Fifth Dalai Lama’s Visit to the Capital): ‘In the palace of the Jinong (deputy Khan) prince was a tangka portrait of Chinggis Khan. and drank tea and wine’9 did not appeal to the high ranking lamas who had taken oaths to transform ‘the great river with blood waves into a clear sea with milk’. so it had had to be offered blood sacrifice. In their description of Chinggis Khan. and had ‘a red body.11 This record shows that at least according to later Mongolian tradition. protruding teeth. as early as the second half of the 13th century. Although his religious activities had some influence upon some Mongol nobles. two mudra (gesture-making-arms). the portrait] was enveloped and left there within a case by the Phagspa’. PACIFYING THE CULT OF CHINGGIS KHAN An earlier way for the lamas to carry out their mission had been to pacify ritually ‘ferocious’ people or cult leaders by tying them with an invisible thread called machig.e. Later it was unwaveringly followed and implemented by Tibet’s three great Chakravartin kings. people would die. brandishing a spear in his right hand.indd 47 30/6/08 11:19:29 . finally it came to Mongolia and my grandfather.

at the invitation of the Yongzheng emperor of the Qing dynasty. i. He replaced Onggod idols with the seven-armed black Mahakala.48 N. the holy lord’ who was being reminded of his oath and urged to ‘spread the impeccably virtuous temple and religion’. and I was offered 100 taels of silver and 300 horses’. the protective lord of Buddhism. ‘when we arrived at Olan Bulag. and Lanabu. It was written about the third Dalai in Erdeni Tunumal Neretü Sudur (Sutra Called Preciously Clear): 03_Hurcha. It must have been the fifth Dalai Lama Agvanglubsanjamsu who had given the cult a machig. and Sagang Erhe Sechen Hung Taiji and other civil and military officials of Ordos. mentioned in the text. One piece of circumstantial evidence is a document entitled Erhe Chorji-yin Ug Ehe-yi Medegülehü Hagudasu (Memo on the Origin of the Powerful Chorji). And spread the impeccably virtuous temple and religion. Erhe Sechen. together with Rinchin Beise. He personally banned the flesh and blood offerings. the governor of Uushin banner – Rinchin Beise (who became Beise [prince of the fourth rank] in l649 and died in l661).indd 48 30/6/08 11:19:29 . which recorded. In fact the foundation had been laid as early as 1586 when the third Dalai Sodnamjamsu (1543-1588) came to Mongolia at the invitation of Altan Khan. At the meeting.12 It was ‘Chinggis Khan. he passed by Olan Bulag of Ordos. Guushi Noyan (chief). along with one thousand horsemen. which was held on the third of the tenth lunar month. he arrived at Tosutu. I was received by the leader of the white palace tribe – the descendant of Chinggis Khan ordained by Heaven – Erinchin Jun Wang. he made the rule of making three tasty offerings. was an abridged name of Agvanglubsangjamsu. Deign to do all the good deeds. Guushi Noyan. Vajra-dhara was a title of the Dalai Lama. Headed by Agvangjamsu Vajra-dhara.e. The meeting was unusual in that the Dalai was met by so many aristocrats: the governor of the Ordos Yeke Juu League – Erinchin Jun Wang (who became Jun Wang [prince of the second rank] in 1649 and died in 1656). the governor of Hangin banner – Jamsu Gung (who became Gung [duke] in 1649 and died in 1670).13 This meeting coincided with the Tasuman (thong) ritual at the Chinggis shrine. because people believed that the Dalai was a reincarnation of the Vajra-dhara Bodhisattva. the governor of Jungar banner – Sereng Beise (who became Beise in 1649 and died in l676). HURCHA Recall the vows of the great lamas. Sereng Beise. ‘the fifth Dalai Lama Navangjamsu (sic. The Dalai wrote about this in his Autobiography of the 5th Dalai Lama: On the second day of the 10th month of the black dragon year (1652). today’s Ejen Horoo (where the shrine of Chinggis Khan is located). Jamsu Gung. Second. Shajaban Shira. a foundation was laid for that. On the following day.) Gegeen’. There are several reasons for deducing this: First. Third. Read the unforgettable oath. Agvangjamsu. and in their place. even if no machig was given to the cult. Here the phrase ‘Headed by Agvangjamsu Vajradhara’ means ‘Headed by the Vajra-dhara Dalai Lama Agvangjamsu’. Chohur. the 5th Dalai went to Beijing. On his way.

indd 49 30/6/08 11:19:29 . Invited [the Dalai] at the place called Olan Bulag. It is not clear from historical sources just what machig the Dalai Lama gave to the cult of Chinggis Khan. Chinggis Khan became very angry. The Jinong with decree of heaven. [The Dalai who] upheld virtues infinitely. By the force of the miraculous power of The remarkable three deities. so they used the pretext that ‘Chinggis Khan became very angry’. This indicates that the Dalai might have given Chinggis Khan the machig of ‘upasaka’. Therefore the Ejen Chinggis Hagan-u Öchig Tahil (Prayer to the Lord Chinggis Khan). when these two great incarnate lamas decided to ban the sheep offering sacrifice. The all-powerful guardian. To ensure general peacefulness. Mergen Gegeen Lubsangdambijalsan of the Urad (1717-1766) wrote: On the throne made of incomparable treasures On the carpet decorated with eight lotus flowers Deign to rest here joyfully The harmonious guardian deity. According to the Darhad. [The Jinong] received instruction to prolong the consecration. The ministers and the companions.14 49 Furthermore. But in the Sudu Bogd Chinggis Hagan-u Sang (Incense Offering to August and Holy Chinggis Khan). great white Upasaka (vow-bearer) And all the companions. I don’t know how true it is. another piece written by Mergen Gegeen. it reads: 03_Hurcha. Tseven Jamtsarano wrote in 1913 in his travelogue ‘The Chinggis Khan Shrine in Ordos’ as follows: ‘It is said that reading sutras in the Yellow Hat Buddhist way was decreed by the third Dalai Lama and the fifth Panchen Lama. so they agreed to keep the ritual intact’. Satisfy all what is wished for. The leader of the white tents of the Holy Lord.17 In this Chinggis is again the great white vow-bearer and it is prayed that all the wishes be fulfilled.ATTEMPTS TO BUDDHICISE THE CULT OF CHINGGIS KHAN When the Bodhisattva Saint Vajra-dhara Dalai Lama arrived. For the benefit of the universal parents of all living beings. the great white Upasaka. ministers and deities.15 This further tells that the Darhad were not so pleased with some of the Buddhist prohibitions.16 In this Chinggis Khan became a ‘great white vow-bearer’ who was invited to sit on the beautiful carpet of the treasure-laden throne. and four ferocious deeds. Made abundant blessings. extensive power.

Refrain from self-intoxication with drinks and drugs. His body was wrapped by the ten thousand white moon rays. Refrain from taking what which is not given.indd 50 30/6/08 11:19:29 . Refrain from taking life. 2. 03_Hurcha. when preaching his religion in Ordos in the first half of the 18th century.50 N. and he thus acquired three eyes. HURCHA Chinggis Khan. 3. And his reincarnation Sayangjamsu. making him ‘the great virtuous Bodhisattva’ or ‘heavenly Upasaka’. In his left hand he was holding close to his heart a plate full of treasures. women and children and who still wished to worship Buddha. Under such circumstances. He got rid of poverty in the samsara and nirvana. His white garment was fluttering in front of his chest. lamas granted the Upasaka machig freely to any men who loved power. Refrain from misuse of the senses. In this we see that Chinggis Khan took up a meditating posture. the followers of the Yogacara18. He was smiling wryly. Such a tranquil-imaged cult figure must have been useful in the 18th century. In the late l7th century and the early 18th century. The decree of the foundation lamas. his wisdom eye had opened. Construct the deeds of us. and three eyes. Headed by the Vajra-dhara Dalai Lama Navangjamsu Gegeen. referring to a lay man taking vows to adhere to the following Five Precepts: 1. He had one face. An Upasaka is not supposed to wear yellow or red coloured gowns. material life. who had the power of three thousand people. The attempt to pacify the prowess of the Mongols or ‘to Buddhicise’ the Mongols started from that period. ‘to get rid of the poverty in samsara and nirvana’. Bogda Chinggis Ejen-u Dalalg-a (Beckoning [the soul] of the Holy Lord Chinggis) reads. Brandishing to the centre of the sky a white spear in his right hand. in order to pacify him. 4. pandering to the traditional Mongolian colour symbolism.19 also issued some decrees regarding the cult of Chinggis Khan. Refrain from telling lies. This shows that the sixth Dalai Lama Sayangjamsu (1683-1746). 5. and both his body and clothes became white. lamas gave the Upasaka machig to Chinggis Khan. Reminds [Chinggis] of the not-to-be-forgotten oath. two arms. Ubasi or Upasaka is a Sanskrit word.

ATTEMPTS TO BUDDHICISE THE CULT OF CHINGGIS KHAN COMPILING PRAYERS 51 As soon as the cult of Chinggis Khan had been put under the Buddhist rules and regulations. the governor of Urad West Gung banner. In order to multiply your livestock and subjects. several influential prayers were written. For such an urgent demand... . In order to guard the life and soul. ‘The Mergen Gegeen once went to Wang banner of Ordos. . who was famous everywhere. and he had the local sage Hutung-in Lhungrub Bandita. On the bank of the Borotohoi [i. Guardian of virtuous deeds. proceed solemnly. but later they became heavily imbued with Buddhist hues. If we examine the hitherto available prayers written by lamas. and even portrayed Chinggis as born to support Buddhism: Especially the three important blessing of lamas. In this six-stanza prayer. my holy lord. In order to spread the religion of the renowned Sakyamuni. Support the holy names of Buddhism.. and the final stanzas also reflected the fact that Buddhism was not yet fully spread among Mongols. The unexaggeratably great virtuous holy lord. lamas deemed it necessary to compile corresponding prayers. huu gurabata’. May all of you be happy.e. For instance.indd 51 30/6/08 11:19:29 . Buddhist elements are mentioned only twice: The great virtuous bodhisattva. Furthermore.20 One of the sutras and mantras was the 97 line sutra ‘Ejen Bogdayin Serjim’ (Offerings to the Holy Lord). one of the ‘twelve songs for the lion holy lord’. Although Lhungrub Bandita dedicated this sutra to the Chinggis cult. In the words of Galdanvangchugdorji (1801-1854). Multiply the sangha of the splendid temples. write sutras and mantras in Tibetan and Mongolian’. he blended in a lot of Buddhist elements. they were initially less coloured by Buddhism. In the 18th century.. Ordos]. knowledgeable lamas did not refrain from offering their services.21 03_Hurcha. nor indeed could they possibly have refused. We kneel down to pray to the gracious holy lord. Increase the magnificent descendants. Holy Chinggis. an incense-burning prayer possibly written between the 16th-l7th centuries started with ‘Uva a-a. when Yellow Hat Buddhism took root in Mongolia. Deign to grant grace to all. the first stanza came from ‘Au au au edehü’.

[You] became famous by the name of Holy Lord Chinggis. bodhisattvas. Fulfil the wishes of the great time. We frequently pray and praise.23 In the same period. it reads as follows: Headed by Chinggis Khan with great power. [There are] offerings of meat and blood libations. Also he was asked to personally draw and consecrate portraits of Chinggis Khan. Become like the palace of Valcaraman god.52 N. his companions and relatives. and Vanchingjigmeddorji who was the son of the governor of Hangin banner Chavanbaljur Beise (who became Beise in 1717 and died in 1772). Enjoy happily the offering made with fruit. May all those wishes be fulfilled. the deputy governor of Uushen banner. guardian deities. wise ministers. Deities of all earthly and heavenly cults. the governor of Hangin banner – Rashijamsu Beise (who became Beise in 1806 and died in 18l2). sons. Befriend those who sit and stand.22 May all be peaceful and happy. May the radiance and gain spread widely. Multiply the timely rain. May the good virtue be filled with ocean-like happiness. robbers. According to the translation of Mergen Toin Dorji Da Lama. Protect us from thieves.24 Furthermore. Deign to rest here. Starting with pure food and koumiss. powerful great lord heavenly Chinggis Khan. namely Todi. the deputy governor: From the sky of the Land of [Buddhist] Law came the lamas.indd 52 30/6/08 11:19:29 . the seventh Panchen Lama Lubsangbaldandambinima (17821853) wrote several sutras for the Chinggis Khan cult at the urging of regional leaders.25 Now. queens. the sixth Panchen Lama Lubsangbaldanyeshe (17381780) also wrote a sutra in Tibetan. HURCHA He further wrote as if the fame of Chinggis Khan in the world was spread by the order of the lamas! For example: By the order of the gracious lamas. From epidemics and diseases. companions. In the land of Mongolia. livestock and crops. the governor of Otog banner – Sodnamrabjai Beise (who became Beise in 1798 and died in 1838). 03_Hurcha. The fierce deities of earth and heaven. Spread the treasure. and wild animals. May you be happy with companions. let me quote a few sentences from the memoir of Todi. seed and fruit.

[You are] the conqueror of the heretical enemies of Buddhism. In the blazing bonfire were burning all sorts of offerings. Enter happiness and blessing to the great time. lamas. but they failed to be accepted by ordinary Mongols. Then he begged to permanently input appropriate deeds. Heissig 03_Hurcha. With this.000 kings. the famous Mongolist W. Only the renowned poet Mergen Gegeen Lubsangdambijalsan’s 64 line sutra lyric written in the 18th century27 came to be popular among Mongols. and urged the spreading of the religion of Vajra-dhara. . you Lord Chinggis Khan were purified and worshipped. For instance: [You are] the best of 84. Its popularity was also due to the special breathing technique required for reading it. smoke becoming like a cloud mass.. The sutra. which has been recited for the last two hundred years. [We] praise and prostrate to you. Cut up his aorta.. Lhungrub Bandita and Lubsangbaldanyeshe’s sutras written in Tibetan might have been influential among lamas. written in Mongolian. Although some sutras were translated into Mongolian later.indd 53 30/6/08 11:19:29 . to sit here. Even the scope of the content widened. catering to the expectations of the Mongols. rather regarding it as the best prayer possible for Lord Chinggis.ATTEMPTS TO BUDDHICISE THE CULT OF CHINGGIS KHAN 53 deities of all directions. Who has the power like that of the universal king Chakravartin. the Mergen Gegeen could not but squeeze in many Buddhist elements into the sutra. the thunderboltholder: Dismember with strong thunderbolt sword. Spread the religion of the Vajra-dhara. Despite this. Mongols did not think this sutra was a Buddhist sutra. guardian deities and bodhisattvas were purified and worshipped. In this sutra. deities of all directions were purified and worshipped. grace and merit to Chinggis Khan’s spirit. especially the Darhad who were the guardian people of the Chinggis Khan shrine. guardian deities and Three Jewels28 Especially by the guardian deities who took vows. they were not so popular as the lamas hoped. Do impeccably well the appropriate deeds.26 The fact that the Panchen Lamas also frequently wrote sutra indicates how important the Chinggis Khan cult was for Yellow Hat Buddhism. and it is read even today. Since he was a truthful disciple of Yellow Hat Buddhism. The enemy who opposes Master Buddha’s teachings. Accordingly. the all-powerful guardian deity. However. the Mergen Gegeen also admonished those who betrayed Buddhism. which had taken vows of Upasaka: By the salvation of the lamas. was rather rhythmic. Reading this sutra was even a kind of physical exercise. queens and sons were purified and worshipped.

blessing the fulfilling oblations (made to the ‘terrible’ deities). and to those who protect Buddhism – the Supreme one and Maharagca’. it is written as follows. ‘I prostrate to those who don’t deviate from Buddhism. Of the mantra and samadhi (meditation). For example. lords and monsters of eight kinds of places. And he instructed his followers to ‘make appropriate customs that don’t contradict the recent conventions. He systematised all the protocols of making offering to the spirit of Chinggis Khan.indd 54 30/6/08 11:19:30 .31 He further wrote. beings with devilish features. He wrote teachings that would pacify deities and dragons of the earth. the universal petitioner. and singing praises. HURCHA wrote in his ‘The Religions of Mongolia’29 The Mergen Diyanci-yin Gegeen also wrote an offering-prayer in connection with Chinggis Khan in the middle of the eighteenth century for his national liturgy in the Mongolian language. The holy Panchen. making repentance.[. and many offerings such as the religious vestments called garsha. the seventh Panchen Lama made further clarification in Dürben Jüiltü Üiles-i Türgen-e Bütügegci Egesig Dagun (The Vowel Song to Speed up Completing the Four Kinds of Deeds): ‘Along with preparing materials useful for making the ritual food offerings. the sixth Panchen Lama tried to exert Buddhist influence by inserting in the Chinggis Khan incense prayer: Uva a-a Huu. Of the incense-burning and ritual idols blessed with mudra. reading mantras.54 N. hat. making restitution.. in his reincarnation as Lubsangbaldan Dambinim-a. decreed three kinds of the ‘hundred thousand sayings’: blissful Jikir pagoda of the heart. and mischievous beings. in the latter half of the 18th century. ATTEMPTS TO CHANGE THE RITUAL Lamas had never been negligent in their effort to model the Chinggis worship ritual after that of Buddhism.] In various works he wrote about the bond between the powerful holy lord 03_Hurcha. make blessing in proportion to that to be fulfilled’. In the Sasa Tahilg-a-yin Sudur (Sutra for Offerings).. making memorials.30 His successor. Fill the sky with the assembly. to those who eliminate the sinful and keep the vow. and cover all those attendants with lucky rain at the time of praying’. making food offerings. bring about firm decoration to the end [of life] with prayers that salute power. this text was diffused widely among the Mongols and was still being newly printed in Eastern Mongolia in 1930s.

purify the place in front of you. It is thus clear that the details of the ritual designed by the seventh Panchen must be in a book called Gegen Toli. they neither accepted the theory of the rituals designed by the Panchen. nor implemented them. Batu Jebseg Hemegci Orosiba (Book named Strong Weapons)34 which is a hand-written copy. for hundreds of years. when Yellow Hat Buddhist monasteries were built around the Chinggis Khan shrine from four directions. and offering liquor and whole sheep’. and the customs regarding lords and deities of oboos (cairns) and places. it is specified: Those who wish to make offerings to Chinggis Khan should prepare the most aromatic incenses. repeat thrice the three-word mantra. even the houses of those Darhad faithful to Chinggis Khan were hung with Buddhist tangkas. companions and relatives’ was rather interesting. Thus they had never surrendered the right of controlling the rituals to Yellow Hat Buddhism. who had been worshipping and guarding the shrine of Chinggis Khan. In other works he wrote about the great mountain deity called Tachinrahaba.. In this. Thus they gave the appearance of being frightened and obedient on the surface. At the time. the Darhad people. Make music by blowing conches and copper bugles. there were several Darhad lamas who would not refrain from burning incense.32 It is evident that the seventh Panchen put much of his heart into regulating religious affairs in Mongolia and he designed ‘suitable customs’ for all sorts of deities and guardian spirits. However.ATTEMPTS TO BUDDHICISE THE CULT OF CHINGGIS KHAN 55 Chinggis. Thus. it was impossible for the Darhad to openly defy the lamas. and were frequented by lamas. On this Tseveen Jamtsarano wrote: ‘At the tomb of Chinggis. his companions and his relatives. In the 19th century. In what is believed to be a later version. In Chinggis Khan-u Chadig-un Tobchi ba Ahul Jüres-ün Sachural (A Brief Biography of Chinggis Khan and Libation to his Descendants)33 it is written that ‘the ritual designed by Lubsangbaldandambinim-a for holy lord Chinggis..35 03_Hurcha. They beat cymbals and drums at the doors of the shrine palaces. his children and companions is clearly described in a comprehensive book called Gegen Toli (Clear Mirror) which has been shown to Vangiri’.. To simplify.. Later the lamas went a step further by burning incense and blowing conches on the Gandariin Sili Oboo close to the eight white tent shrine of Chinggis. . many Darhad started to send their children to monasteries to become monks. however. deemed it unnecessary to follow lamas’ instruction as how to worship Chinggis. and he wrote prayers of offerings. display pictures in a clean comfortable place.indd 55 30/6/08 11:19:30 . and they strictly maintained the original rituals. reading sutras in Tibetan. purify tangkas if there are any. but in reality. the ritual designed for the ‘powerful lord holy Chinggis. sutras. and purify them in whatever way one has become familiar with. otherwise.. since almost every activity in every corner of Mongolian society was permeated with Buddhist doctrines. Buddhist offerings.

However. Since the cult had gradually become the psychological pillar of the Mongols. and were firm on certain issues essential for Mongol values. (Beijing. but as the ‘son of heaven’. i.indd 56 30/6/08 11:19:30 . Chinggis Khan had never been seen by the Darhad as a reincarnation of ‘Vajra-Pani’. Arban Buyantu Nom-un Cagan Teühe. However. This task was initially assigned to the Mongol rulers who wanted to use Buddhism.56 N. Mongols. HURCHA To conclude. when Buddhism came to the Mongols. because of the successful resistance of the Darhad people. loved their own civilisation. 399-400. Buddhicising the Chinggis Khan cult. lamas were not entirely successful until Buddhism itself met with decline in this century. By examining this historical process. p. (Hailar 1992). Monggul Ündüsüten-ü Gün Uhagan-u Üjel Sanagan-u Teühe-yin Sudulul. and adopted a method that was both favourable to Buddhism and welcomed by the Mongols. (Huhhot. because the Mongol rulers became subservient to Buddhist manipulation. Bulag. 7 See note 3. 4 See Tabdugar Dür-yin Yongzung Gegen Agvanggelingjamiyanjamsu-yin Johiyal Orosibai. and therefore no official change was made to the rituals of the Chinggis Khan shrine. 31-43. 98. 4. 5 See sutras Altan Ordu-yin Golomta-yin Yehe Öchig and Bogda Chinggis Ejen-ü Dalalga Orosiba. such as the Dalai and Panchen Lamas. on the other hand. (Huhhot. pp.1981) pp. however. Erdeni-yin Tobchiy-a. 1993) pp. and they openly supported the lamas’ scheme. 6 Batubagan-a. Later. This set a strong contrast to the harsh policies of eliminating shamanic idols and fetishes. and for the sake of its dissemination they did not refrain from transforming the nomadic culture on the Mongolian plateau into a Buddhist culture. 3 Liu Jingsuo (ed. To resolve this contradiction. 2 ‘Rose-apple continent’ – the southernmost of the seven worlds or major continents which surround the mythical Mount Meru in Buddhist cosmography. 248. 1987) p. 1 03_Hurcha. lamas encountered the inevitable question of how to resolve the problem of the Chinggis Khan cult. (Huhhot.e. ignoring it would not enhance the prestige of lamas. nor punished the calf’. 9 Ordus-un Tayilg-a Tahilg-a Yirügel Magtagal. & annotation). nor would banning it win the heart of Mongols. 75-76. lamas indeed managed to influence the cult of Chinggis Khan. pp. we should be clear that high-ranking lamas. It is translated here by Uraydn E. 241-242. 8 Batu Jebseg Hemegchi Orosiba’. 10 Höheündür (annotation). in the library of the Inner Mongolian Academy of Social Sciences. they made sure they ‘neither shamed the mother. No. NOTES The paper was originally published in Mongolian under the title ‘Eminent Monks’ Attempts to Buddhicise the Cult of Chinggis Khan’. 1990). handwritten copy. were faithful to their religion. Social Sciences of Inner Mongolia (Mongolian Edition) 1997.

Hurcabilig.3. According to Vajra-dhara Mergen Diyanchi Blam-a-yin Gegen-u Gbum Jarlig-un Garcag Bichig Erdeni Erihe Orosiba. 15 ‘Ordos dah’ Chingisiin Ongon’. See note 4. Övür Monggul-un Neyigem-un Sinjilehü Uhagan. 27 The sutra he wrote for the cult of Chinggis Khan has been known as ‘Ejen Sang’. 34 Hand-written copy in the library of the Inner Mongolian Academy of Social Sciences. Heissig. 1990.indd 57 30/6/08 11:19:30 . 1992. Routledge & Kegan Paul. while in others. 18 See note 9. 35 See note 15. 59-60. which is pronounced Namsray. Monggul Sudulul-un Medegelel (Cyrillic Edition) 1994. No. 23 See note 4. 21 See note 4. 1980) p. No. ‘Jirgadugar Dalai Lama Zangyangjamsu-yin Ordus-tu Higsen Shashin-u Ajillag-a’. 13 Xibei Minzu Yanjiu. 1995. In some versions. hand-written copy. Buddha. 33 Hand-written copy in the library of the Inner Mongolian Academy of Social Sciences. it has 72 lines. hand-written copy. in the library of the Inner Mongolian Academy of Social Sciences. ‘Sagang Secen-u Sharil-un Ongun-u Tayilg-a Tahilg-a’. hand-written copy. 31 Dürben Jüiltü Türgen-e Bütügegci Egesig Dagun. hand-written copy. 26 Ibid. Dharma and Sangha. No. 64. in the library of the Inner Mongolian Academy of Social Sciences. 17 Ibid. 1986 20 Bayasgulang-i Huragachi Süm-e-yin Ug Ehi-yin Dangsa.2. the full name of Ejen Sang is Ahuu Horiyan-u Oron-u Ejen-ü Sang Tahil. No. 24 Ejen Chinggis Hagan-u Sang Orosiba. 28 I.3. The Religions of Mongolia. 32 Övür Monggul-un Neyigem-un Sinjilehu Uhagan.ATTEMPTS TO BUDDHICISE THE CULT OF CHINGGIS KHAN 11 12 57 See Zhongguo Xizang. 22 He is the guardian of the northern quarter of the world and god of riches. pp.e. No. l. 1993. 19 N. 1. 30 See note 24.2 and 1995. Alasha Hele. p. popularly known by his abbreviated Tibetan name. the sutra has 65 lines. 16 Hand-written copy. translated from German by Geoffrey Samuel. in the library of the Inner Mongolian Academy of Social Sciences. No. 25 Choidar. No. (London. 14 Erdeni Tunumal Neretu Sudur Orosiba. 1. 03_Hurcha. 111. 29 W.

indd 58 30/6/08 11:19:30 .03_Hurcha.