Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


The Effects of Tulku on Oirat-Mongolia
Society in Xinjiang
A Case Study after the Death of Shariwan Gegen XIV


(SOKENDAI (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies),
School of Cultural and Social Studies,
Department of Regional Studies)

Key words:

Oirat-Mongolia, Tulku, Shariwan Gegen

This paper examines the influence of the secular Tulku of Xinjiang Oirat-Mongolia who reached nirvana in last October, Shariwan Gegen XIV, by analyzing author’s field data regarding mourning ceremonies and prayers for his reincarnation performed by the people of Hoboksair-Mongolia, his birthplace.

Shariwan Gegen XIV not only commended the reverence of his followers, but he was also appointed one of leaders of Mongolian Buddhism by the Chinese Government. His standing enabled him to successfully communicate with both higher level bureaucrats in the government and the local community. He became a source of information, his words and activities being considered reliable. Thus he had considerable influence on both the government and the people. For the past several decades, Shariwan Gegen XIV was not only a religious leader but also played the role of a political leader of the people of Oirat-Mongolia in Xinjiang.

The ceremonies and prayers offered for the reincarnation of Shariwan Gegen XIV represent, in some degree, the nationalism of the Oirat-Mongolian people that has grown up during the 30 years under Shariwan Gegen’s leadership. However, compared with the nationalist movements of certain Muslim peoples in Xinjiang, that of the Oirat-Mongolians has been mild and sentimental, and has avoided violence and bloodshed.