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The Head Lama of the Western Banner Monastery

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Bulag, Uradyn E. 


Daranzan was born in Bayanbulag in 1969 and he was later sent to study in the Western Banner Monastery. After a further ten-year study in Lhasa he is now a well-known lama in Bayanbulag. As shown at the beginning of the video, Daranzan Lama is predicting an auspicious day for two Torghut herders who are going to worship an oboo soon.According to Daranzan, the Western Banner monastery was originally a mobile temple housed in a yurt following herders' seasonal movement in different farms in Bayangol before the Cultural Revolution. In 1984, Torghuts in Bayanbulag rebuilt the monastery again in three yurts donated by local herders and three mud rooms constructed by the local government. In 2015, leading 13 lamas from his monastery, Daranzan visited Mongolian Buddhist monasteries in Xinjiang: 3 in Ili, 3 in Bortala, 3 in Hara Usu, 2 in Hobogsair and 1 in the Altai district. As an influential person amongst the Torghuts, he often advocates that people should pray sincerely in their local monasteries, rather than take a long journey to Tibet or Qinghai paying high prices.



Bayanbulag, Western Banner Monastery, lamas

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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