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Agvan Eshey, About Buddhism in Kalmykia

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


Lama Agvan Eshey talks about Buddhism in the early 1990s, the Buddhist schools that currently operate, and the Buddhist texts that he uses when reciting prayers. He says that at the beginning of the 1990s there were no lamas to be seen on the streets in Kalmykia. Those religious specialists who performed Buddhist rituals at home, did not wear Buddhist robes. When the Kalmyks returned to their homeland from exile, (former, disrobed) lamas continued to see people, including Party apparatchiks, and perform rituals for them. Today there are several officially registered schools of Buddhism in Kalmykia, including Gelug, Karma Kagyu, Dzogchen, Nyingma and Sakya. Agvan Eshey says that he recites prayers by using the following sources: the texts compiled by the Kalmyk lama Ulankin Sandzhi, Mongolian texts, and the texts that were chanted during his initiation ritual into Buddhist priesthood. Apart from receiving clients in his office, he works with the Buddhist community of the Khosheutovskiy Temple in Astrakhan oblast where he reads prayers in Kalmyk. Agvan Eshey also says that he receives Buddhist thangkas from people as a gift.



Buddhism, schools, texts

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Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin