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Religion in Mongolia
HomeAbout MongoliaReligion in MongoliaUpdated 2017 March

Religion in Mongolia: BuddhismIt is believed that Buddhism was first introduced in Mongolia in the 3rd century of BC, but the facts say that Buddhism entered Mongolia in the Modun Shanyu's era (209-174BC). The translation of the Buddhist philosophical literatures had started during the Mongolian Empire period between 1182 and 1270. The later development of Buddhism in Mongolia occurred after the 16th century during the Manchu era. The yellow hat sect or the Lamaism had been introduced from Tibet. In 1570, the king of Tumed, Altan made up the term Dalai Lama and recognized Buddhism as the state official religion. Since then, some 200 Mongolian scholars wrote many religious and philosophical writings and books.

Religion in Mongolia: ShamanismAs a central Asian nomadic country, various kinds of Shamanism or Tengrism (Tengriism) have been widely practiced throughout history. Even though Shamanism was gradually replaced by Buddhism, it made its remnants in Mongolian culture and nowadays Shamanism is becoming popular among Mongolians. The religious ceremony called "Ovoo Takhikh", to make an offering to an "Ovoo" (pile of stones often built on top of the mountains and passes as a home to mountain spirits), is one of the Shamanistic rituals that is widely practiced.

During the 20th century political repression, some 700 temples and monasteries were destroyed and around 18,000 lamas or monks were executed. The fall of communism in 1991 restored the legality of public religious practice, and now Buddhism is the most widely practiced religion in the country.

Also other religions, such as Islam, Christianity are spreading in the country. Recently, some scholars and politicians are making a proposal on restoring and recognizing the "Forever Blue Sky Worship" or the Tengriism as the state official religion. A study shows that 40% of the population are Buddhists, 30% are Atheists, 20% are Shamanists, 6% are Christians and 4% are Muslims.
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