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Boris Dochkaev, a legend about Ulyadzhi bagshi and the destruction of the Mandzhikin Temple

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


Boris tells us a story about how a famous Kalmyk lama named Ulyadzhi bagshi Tazaev and a zaisang called Badma Tsembelev went to Tibet. Both of these men belonged to Boris’ clan:There was a well-known lama (gelyung) in our clan named Ulyadzhi bagshi Tazaev. He lived before the 1917 Revolution. One day, Badma Tsembelev went to ask his relatives for help (dem). Upon entering the yurt of his relatives, who lived the furthest, Badma saw Ulyadzhi bagshi. Badma sat down and enquired about his relatives’ well-being. Ulyadzhi bagshi asked Badma, ‘Have you collected a lot of help from your relatives?’, ‘Yes, enough. I will buy land, breed cattle and become rich’, Badma replied. Ulyadzhi bagshi continued, ‘If you want to really get rich, you can go with me to Tibet in two weeks’ time’. Badma replied, ‘I need to talk to my parents first’. The next morning Badma went home and told his father about Ulyadzhi bagshi’s proposal. After listening, Badma’s father ordered his son angrily, ‘If Ulaydzhi bagshi told you to go with him to Tibet, you must not hesitate. Go with him immediately!’. So Ulyadzhi bagshi and Badma set out on a journey to Tibet, which they reached in two or three years. They lived there for a while, waiting for an audience with the Dalai Lama. After some time, all those who had been waiting for an audience were gathered in a big hall. The Dalai Lama decided to test them and began to read a long prayer, during which everyone fell asleep, except for Ulyadzhi bagshi and Badma. The Dalai Lama invited them first for an audience with him during which Ulyadzhi bagshi said that he wanted to build a temple in the Mandzhikin clan’s land and Badma relayed his desire to become rich. The Dalai Lama smiled, presented them with gifts, including Ganjur and Danjur texts, and sent them back home. They returned to Kalmykia safely. Later, Ulyadzhi bagshi built the temple and Badma became a rich zaisang. It was in the Soviet period that religions were persecuted. The Mandzhikin temple was burnt down. The NKVD people also wanted to burn all Buddhist texts housed in the temple. They piled them outside the temple and were about to set them on fire when, all of a sudden, a strong wind twirled and carried the texts up to the sky. Later Kalmyks searched for these texts for a long time, but did not find a single page.



Ulyadzhi bagshi, Badma Tsembelev, pilgrimage

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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