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Buddhism in Mongolian History, Culture, and Society$
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Vesna A. Wallace

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199958641

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199958641.001.0001

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Criminal Lamas: Court Cases Against Buddhist Monks in Early Socialist Mongolia

Criminal Lamas: Court Cases Against Buddhist Monks in Early Socialist Mongolia

Chapter:
(p.243) 13 Criminal Lamas: Court Cases Against Buddhist Monks in Early Socialist Mongolia
Source:
Buddhism in Mongolian History, Culture, and Society
Author(s):

Christopher Kaplonski

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199958641.003.0013

The chapter looks at the use of the court system to handle cases against Buddhist lamas during the 1930s. The chapter examines three cases. In the first, dating from 1936, lamas were accused of deceiving workers through organizing a religious festival (tsam). The second, also from 1936, dealt with children taking part in religious ceremonies. In the last case, from 1937, a lama was accused of poisoning people by using Tibetan medicine. The first case touches on the boundary of public action and private belief. The second brings in the issue of education and recruitment to the monasteries, while the last case is noteworthy because it took place during the period of the closure of monasteries and the execution of monks as counter-revolutionaries. These cases highlight the measures taken against the Buddhist establishment as the socialist state sought to answer “the question of the lamas.”

Keywords:   high-ranking lamas, executions of lamas, People’s Revolution, criminal court, socialist government, Special Commission, counter-revolutionary

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