Imagining a “Buddhist Government” (mo. törö šasin) in seventeenth century Mongolia

Kollmar-Paulenz, Karénina (2020). Imagining a “Buddhist Government” (mo. törö šasin) in seventeenth century Mongolia. Mongolica, 23(1), pp. 18-27. Peterburgskoe Vostokovedenie

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The early seventeenth century saw the consolidation of Buddhism in the Mongolian regions, instigated some decades earlier by Altan Qa an of the Tümeds and other Mongolian leaders. Mongolian chronicles of the seventeenth century describe the impact the new socio-religious dominance of the Tibetan Buddhist dGe lugs paschool had in the field of Mongolian politics. They also mirror the deep influence the Tibetan concept of chos srid zung `brel, the “conjunction of religion/ religious law and government”, had on Mongolian conceptualizations of secular and religious power. This paper addresses the shifts in political concepts of secular and religious rule by undertaking a close reading of two important historical sources of the time, the Erdeni tunumal neretü sudur (around 1607) and the Erdeni-yin tobči (1662). I argue that the Erdeni tunumal still adheres to a concept of political rule in which the secular ruler has pre-eminence against his religious counterpart. A close reading of the Erdeni-yin tobči reveals that this balance of power shifted in the latter part of the seventeenth century with the establishment of the institution of the Dalai Lamas, which led to an increasing influence of Tibetan politicoreligious thought on the Mongolian configuration of törö šasin.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute for the Science of Religion

UniBE Contributor:

Kollmar-Paulenz, Karénina


200 Religion




Peterburgskoe Vostokovedenie




Ursina Wüthrich

Date Deposited:

10 Mar 2021 07:51

Last Modified:

10 Mar 2021 07:58




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