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Orthodoxy and Buddhism in Russia

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#1 Ryan


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Posted 22 July 2009 - 04:44 PM

I am curious if there have been any concerted missionary efforts toward the large Buddhist communities in eastern Russia. Many of the people there practice Buddhism of the tantric variety as found in Tibet. My interest in this area was stoked when I was reading a general book about shamanism. At one point, the book described an incident on the eastern side of Lake Baikal, where Buddhist missionaries were trying to convert the people and to wipe out their native shamanism. Supposedly the people got so fed up with the Buddhist missionaries that they formally converted to Orthodoxy to get the Buddhists off their backs; Orthodoxy was preferable because the Church was fairly remote and was not in a position to scrutinize their shamanist practices. I understand that the Tsarist government actually officially recognized Buddhism as the official religion in Buryatia, so I wonder where that would have left any missionary efforts. I am wondering if there are any Russian Orthodox texts specifically directed toward Buddhists, or if there were any formal polemics between the religions (Buddhists love debates).

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