Libmonster ID: KZ-2452

The article is devoted to the confessional situation in Tuva in the past and present. Special attention is paid to traditional beliefs-Buddhism and shamanism, their place and role during the Qing Dynasty of China (1758-1911), the Tuvan People's Republic (1921-1944), the Soviet (1944-1991) and post - Soviet times. Modern non-traditional confessions are also considered, and the attitude of Tuvans to them is analyzed. The article is based on various sources, including archival documents and the results of the author's field research conducted in 1990-2000.

Tuva is one of the three republics of the Russian Federation, along with Kalmykia and Buryatia, where Buddhists live compactly. Until the middle of the 9th century, the territory of Tuva was part of the Turkic and Uyghur khaganates, in the beginning of the 13th century it was conquered by the Mongols, and in the 18th century - by the Manchus, i.e., the Qing dynasty of China. After the overthrow of the Manchurian yoke in 1911, Tuva, then called the Uriankhai Region, was taken under the protectorate of Russia, and later, in 1921, as a result of the national liberation revolution, it was proclaimed a people's republic. In October 1944. Tuva became part of the USSR as an autonomous region; after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, it was transformed into the Republic of Tyva 1 within the Russian Federation. Mahayana Buddhism is the official religion of Tuvans. The traditional belief of the population of Tuva is shamanism.


According to Chinese chronicles, the earliest forms of Buddhism existed as early as the time of the Turkic Khaganate, which emerged in the second half of the sixth century in the vast territory of Central Asia and soon split into two parts. The northern Turks were concentrated in the area of Lake Baikal, where Buryatia was later formed, and the southern Turks-in the valley of the Yenisei River, in the territory of modern Tuva. American Buddhologist A. Berzin believes that Buddhism first penetrated the Turkic Khaganate from Sogdiana in the form of Hinayana, which, starting from the end of the Kushan period (II-III centuries AD), also had some Mahayana features. This was, in his opinion, the first wave of Buddhism that reached Mongolia, Buryatia, and Tuva (Berzin 1992, p.15).

A special role in the spread of Buddhism in Central Asia belonged to the Uyghurs , a Turkic-speaking people related to the Tuvans. In the middle of the eighth century. they conquered the northern Turks and ruled over the territories of Mongolia, Altai, Tuva and the surrounding areas until the middle of the 9th century. At the beginning of the tenth century, the Uyghurs were somewhat influenced by Buddhism from Sogdiana and China, although they continued to be largely Buddhist.-

1 According to the Constitution of the Republic, both its names - Tuva and Tuva - are considered equivalent.

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investigators of Manichaeism. It was at this time that the Uyghurs began to widely translate Buddhist texts from Sughd and Chinese. After some time, a significant part of their translations were already made from Tibetan texts, which eventually led to the predominance of Tibetan influence in Uyghur Buddhism.

Thus, thanks to the Uyghurs, the nomadic tribes of Central Asia got their first idea of Buddhism. The familiarity of Tuvan tribes with Buddhism is indicated by images of Amitabha Buddha, better known as the Buddha of Boundless Light, which first spread in Tuva during the Uyghur period [Maidar, 1981, p. 63]. However, the first wave of spread of Buddhism in Mongolia, Buryatia and Tuva, received from the Turks and Uyghurs, was not very long.

Since the 9th century, the role of Tibet as the successor of Indian Buddhism has been growing. At this time, three new traditions were developed there: Sakya, Kagyu and Kadam. The latter was transformed in the 14th century into the Gelug tradition, founded by the reformer Lama Tsongkhapa (1357-1419). During this period, Buddhist treatises were actively translated into Tibetan, mainly from Sanskrit.

Gradually, Buddhism began to spread from Tibet to neighboring countries. Its most widespread distribution was in Mongolia in the 13th century. This was the second and larger wave of Buddhism spread in Central Asia, coinciding with the formation of the early feudal Mongol state, founded by Genghis Khan (1155-1227), the leader of the famous Kiyat-Borjigin family. During the reign of Kublai Khan (1215-1259), one of the successors of Genghis Khan and the founder of the Mongol Yuan dynasty, the great teacher Sakya Pagvalama arrived in Mongolia from Tibet. He compiled the Mongolian alphabet based on the Tibetan script and used it to translate Buddhist texts. At the same time, teachers of the Kagyu tradition also arrived in Mongolia. Tibetan Buddhism was also adopted by the Turkic-speaking tribes that were part of the Great Mongol Empire. However, in the middle of the 14th century, after the fall of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty, the influence of Buddhism in Mongolia and neighboring regions significantly weakened.

It was only in the second half of the sixteenth century that the third wave of Buddhism came to Mongolia, but this time its main form was the Gelug tradition. Minor traces of the previous Sakya and Kagyu traditions, although preserved, were not officially recognized. At this time, the Bogdo-gegen Institute, or Jebtsun Damba Khutukhty, whose residence was located in Urga (modern Ulaanbaatar), gained wide popularity in Mongolia. The Bogdo-gegen line is known as the line of rebirth of the Tibetan master Taranatha Kung Nyimo (1575-1637), who later became the traditional head of Buddhism in Mongolia, Buryatia and Tuva. The tradition of monastic life of monks also passed from Tibet, but the tradition of novices, i.e. female monasticism, did not reach either Mongolia or areas with a Turkic-speaking population.

In the 14th century, Tibetan Buddhism had already thoroughly penetrated Tuva from Mongolia. As in Mongolia and Buryatia, this was mainly the Gelug tradition, although for the sake of objectivity, it should be noted that the Nyingma tradition also became somewhat widespread. The Gelug tradition, as is well known, presupposes a strict system of monastic ethics, including, along with other requirements, the vow of celibacy. However, Tuva has developed a peculiar tradition of "married motherhood".


Having replaced the Mongols in the historical arena, the Manchu-Chinese conquerors, who captured Tuva as well, managed to effectively use Buddhism as a means of influencing the "barbarian peoples". So, the Manchu Emperor Abahai issued the following decree: "Do not destroy the buildings of temples and do not take away the property that is in them.

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temple utensils. Those who violate the order, punish with death. Do not disturb the monks in the temples, do not take their property, but write down the number of monks and report. I do not allow you to stay in churches. Those who disobey will be charged for a crime" [Ermachenko, 1974, p. 57].

Initially, the propaganda of Buddhism was mainly carried out by representatives of the local ruling elite, who sought to introduce it more widely and deeply into the Tuvan environment; the spread of Buddhism here took place exclusively "from above". Broad segments of the population continued to adhere to popular beliefs, primarily shamanism.

The institute of shamanism was a fairly coherent system, thanks to which shamanism is distinguished into an independent form of religion. Its essence is not in the object to which ritual actions are directed, as it happens in tribal cults (sky, earth, fire, landscape deity, etc.), but in a special, specific way of communication between priests (shamans) and the "subtle world", i.e. the world of spirits, by immersing in a state of shamanic ecstasy. Shamans become by the principle of passing on a hereditary shamanic gift or a special divine election. The English traveler D. Carruthers, who visited Tuva at the beginning of the 20th century, noted that the Tuvans are more afraid of their shamans than they love them, since they keep the people in their power; only shamans have the ability to maintain good relations with evil spirits and only they are familiar with the art of establishing a connection between the living and the dead [Carruthers, 1914, p. 266].

Scientists often disagree about which religious system - shamanism or Buddhism - prevailed in the life of Tuvan society. Some believe that the Tuvans experienced a stage when the foundations of one worldview were shaken, while the principles of the other were not yet mastered; others saw them as a complete mixture of the " yellow "(Buddhist) and "black" (shamanic) faith; still others argued that the adoption of Buddhism did not prevent the Tuvans from also remaining diligent shamanists [Kon, 1903, p. 6; Ostrovskikh, 1927(2), p. 86; Rodevich, 1910, p. 15; Mongush, 2001, p. 85].

However, Buddhism here had to endure a difficult struggle with shamanism, which continued to persist among the Tuvans "in a brighter and more complete form than among other peoples of the Sayan-Altai Highlands" (Grumm-Grzhimailo, 1926, pp. 135-136). As V. P. Vasiliev correctly noted, "the replacement of one religion by another never occurs easily anywhere; priests of the old faith never agree to voluntarily switch to another religion or cede their interests to it" (Vasiliev, 1891, pp. 57-58).

The story of the acute and prolonged struggle of representatives of the Buddhist Sangha against the shamanic priesthood is reflected in folk folklore. F. Kohn cites the legend of the struggle of the preacher of Buddhist teachings, Mongolian Lama Sharetta, against the shaman Tungustey, in which the lama won, by the force of his prayers, brought down the rocks of the Khayyrakan cliff on the shaman. Tungustei's mother took revenge on the cliff by calling a terrible thunderstorm on it, and when the storm subsided, part of the cliff turned white forever [Kon, 1936, p. 37]. V. P. Dyakonova, quoting the story of the confrontation between the shaman Sonam Tsarin and Lama 2, which also ended in the latter's victory, notes an essential feature of these legends: "Most often, the victory of one of the shamans is the victory of one cult minister over another reflected a greater commitment of witnesses or narrators to Buddhism than to shamanism " (Dyakonova 1979, p. 176).

According to some researchers, the conflict between Buddhism and shamanism existed only at the beginning, but then it softened, and peaceful contacts were established between them [Kon, 1936, p.36; Safyanov 1905, p. 9]. This happened thanks to the centuries from-

2 Sonam the King often quarreled with the lama, and their quarrels sometimes ended in a fight. The lama and the shaman, each in his own way, tried to win. It just so happens that Sonam died earlier. The lama sent the shaman's soul to the seventh heaven by reciting a mantra, but it was impossible to live without it, based on the prevailing ideas, and soon Sonam died.

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the system of adaptation, transformation, and assimilation of the sacred traditions that have developed in society, which govern the daily life of the people, developed by Buddhism.

Followers and adherents of Buddhism synthesized all the cults that existed in shamanic and pre-Shamanic practice, supplementing them with Buddhist ideas about rebirth, karma, nirvana, enlightenment, thereby creating the appearance of moral improvement of people under the influence of a new religion. First of all, Buddhism assimilated the most socially significant cults: heaven, earth, fire, spirits of the area, commercial (cattle-breeding and hunting) and a number of others. Most of them date back to the ancient Turkic period (VI-VIII centuries), as evidenced by written sources: "The Turks above all honor fire, honor air and water, sing hymns to the earth, and worship only the one who created heaven and earth, and call him god. Horses, oxen, and small cattle are sacrificed to him" (Kyzlasov, 1969, p. 49). So Buddhism gradually adapted to the needs of Tuvans, thanks to which it smoothly passed into the status of a folk religion.

In everyday life, the "fusion of shamanism and Buddhism" was traced in marriages between lamas and shamanesses, which was quite common not only among Tuvans, but also among Mongols and Buryats.

N. Leonov cites a specific fact: at the mouth of the Tapsa River, he met a lama whose wife was a well-known shaman in the area [Leonov, 1927, p. 32]. The same phenomenon is confirmed by V. P. Dyakonova: "... a well-known shaman Matpa Ondar, who lived in Dzun-Khemchik district, was married to a lama. After her death, she was buried according to the ritual characteristic of shamans, but at the same time there were also religious Lamaist items at the place of her burial" [Dyakonova, 1975, p. 64].

Sometimes the shaman was invited to a Buddhist temple to perform sacrifices to spirits and tengriyas according to his own rite. It happened that the lama turned to the shaman with a request to expel evil spirits from his yurt [Safyanov, 1905, p. 9; Kon, 1936, p. 38]. Moreover, "... lamas consider it natural to turn to shamans in case of illness or any misfortune, moreover, in the absence of a shaman, even some of the shamanic processes are performed by lamas " [Yakovlev 1900, p. 120]. P. E. Ostrovskikh witnessed a case when a lama, having dislocated his arm, was treated with various Tibetan medicines, he turned to lamas-healers, and finally came to a shaman for help. He also notes the opposite fact, when the shaman went to the lama to be treated with Tibetan medicines [Ostrovskikh, 1927(1), p. 86; 1927(2), p.7].

This Buddhist-shamanic symbiosis was also reflected in the interior decoration of the dwelling, where objects of Buddhist worship - icons and figurines of Lamaist deities-were combined with shamanic guardians, amulets (eerens), which together formed a kind of home pantheon [Ostrovskikh 1927 (1), p. 87; Adrianov, 1917, p. 17]. Carruthers noted that the shamanic hunting eeren, which represented a tightly stuffed rabbit skin, was often located next to the image of the Buddha, which, in his opinion, testified to "a striking confusion in religious ideas" (Carruthers, 1914, p.270).

The spread and establishment of Buddhism was promoted not only by its high adaptive abilities, but also by the political and socio-economic conditions that developed in Tuva during the Qing period. First, the Qing authorities were guided by the principle of " governing neighboring peoples according to their customs." While implementing it, they, on the one hand, made contacts with representatives of all branches of Tibetan Buddhism, on the other hand, they clearly preferred the Gelugpa tradition. Secondly, the introduction of Buddhism coincided with the formation of Tuvan statehood, which gave the process of its spread a more dynamic character. For the emerging ruling class, he proved to be just the force that promoted the "centralization of power", the unification of the country by defeating tribal fragmentation. Third, Buddhism did not contradict the interests of the main social strata of Tuva. For the Arats and especially for the poorest population, it was

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It was attractive because it provided an opportunity to join literacy, get an education in a monastery school, which opened up brighter prospects.

As for the status of Buddhism in Tuva - was it a state religion or was it a state ideology? - we can say the following. In Tibet, Buddhism not only played the role of an official religion and official ideology, but also gave rise to a theocratic form of government. In Tuva, however, he did not ideologically subdue the institution of power, but only managed to adapt to the existing political system and become its essential part, if not the main one.

Under the Qing, Buddhism was able to secure official recognition and patronage of the ruling classes. The site of construction of the first Buddhist temples (Tuv. khure) was the territory of Oyunnarsky kozhuun (modern Erzinsky and Tes-Khem kozhuun), adjacent to Northwestern Mongolia. The first monastery, the Erzin Monastery, was built in 1772, and the second, the largest in Kozhuun, the Samagal - Thai monastery, was built in 1773. These monasteries were the first centers of Buddhist expansion, and the Tuvan tribal groups living in Oyunnarsky kozhuun were the first to convert to Buddhism. Gradually, they appeared in all kozhuuns of Tuva (Mongush, 2001, p. 56).


A characteristic feature of the TNR period was secularization, which was expressed in the mass destruction of monastic complexes and the persecution of representatives of the Sangha, in the liberation of various public institutions and legal relations from the control of religious organizations, which was reflected in the legislative acts of the TNR, in the change of the traditional worldview of the masses to a Marxist-Leninist one. It was an abrupt and rather dramatic process.

In October 1930, the Seventh Great Khural of the TNR was opened in Kyzyl, where a new, fourth Constitution of the republic was adopted, reflecting the country's entry into the socialist path of development. According to it, lamas, shamans and other religious servants, for whom this occupation was a profession, were deprived of their voting rights. At the same time, shamans were not considered as the worst enemies of the Arat masses, since they mostly came from the people and did not represent a serious political opposition to the people's revolutionary government. Therefore, the fight against them was most often limited to the confiscation of shamanic attributes and the prohibition to conduct shamanic rituals. There are also no cases of shamans joining the ranks of the Tuvan People's Revolutionary Party (TNRP), as was observed among former representatives of the feudal-theocratic stratum [RF TIGI, d.1122, l. 30].

The lamas were treated somewhat differently. The party considered the fight against the Sangha to be one of its main tasks. Buddhist monasteries were seen as platforms from which lamas could proclaim their reactionary ideas [TSADPOO, f. 1, op. 1, d. 290, l. 116; d. 784, l. 5]. In many party documents of that time there were installations of the following character:"...if the lamas are overzealous, regardless of the spirit of the new age, then they should be held accountable." Lamas were forbidden to wear monastic clothing, hold religious events without special written permission from local authorities, have novice students from among minors, etc. [CSA RT, f. 144, op. 2, d. 138, l. 19]. Lamas who did not agree with the decision of the authorities were exiled to other kozhuuns. Finally, a ban was imposed on traditional rites associated with the nature cult, which were usually attended by lamas and shamans. It was also forbidden to celebrate the traditional Lunar New Year - Shagaa. Instead of the old holidays, they began to introduce new ones with a different ideological coloring.

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Under pressure from above, many monasteries began to close, and lamas left for their villages.

Thus, in Dzun-Khemchik (formerly Daa) kozhuun, there were two large and perhaps the most influential khure at that time - Nizhnechadansky (founded in 1878) and Verkhnechadansky (founded in 1907). If in 1929 350 lamas lived in both monasteries and were engaged in religious and ceremonial practice, then in 1930, i.e. a year after the adoption of the special decree, only 36 remained, in 1931 - 3, and in 1932 there was no longer a single lama [TSADPOO, f. 1, op. 1, d. 1397, l. 22-25]. The number of lamas in other monasteries also began to decline sharply. In Erzin and Tes-Khem kozhuuns, which traditionally had the largest sangha, in 1934 there were only 129 lamas; in 1936 their number decreased to 77. If at the turn of 1929-1930 there were 2,200 lamas in Tuva, by 1936 there were only 594 left [TSADPOO, f. 1, op. 1, d. 784, l. 5; d. 1362, l. 3].


Shortly before the annexation of Tuva to the USSR (in 1944), there were 37 Buddhist monasteries on its territory and more than 4 thousand people. lam. At the same time, Tuvans continued to be active adherents of the shamanic tradition in everyday life. Both lamas and shamans took part in the family rituals (birth, naming, wedding, funeral, wake) and calendar rituals (changing seasons, causing rain in times of drought, propitiating spirits in order to increase fertility and livestock, etc.) to the same extent.

However, the persecution of religion, which was widely practiced in Soviet times, led to the fact that the Buddhist culture in Tuva in the form in which it was still in the first half of the XX century, completely ceased to exist. Shamanism was also included in the list of harmful remnants of the feudal past that needed to be eradicated. He was a little more fortunate, as the shamanic places of worship were located far from the field of view of the official authorities - on high mountain passes, in sacred ancestral places, near water sources, in the taiga, which allowed them to avoid complete physical destruction.

By the early 1940s, there was practically no Buddhist monastery left in Tuva. The exception was Verkhne-and Nizhnechadansky, which, despite the fact that their buildings were completely destroyed, continued to function thanks to a small group of remaining lamas. Eyewitnesses say that several lamas tried to save khure by moving it to another place. In the area of Teveh-Haya, which is not far from the Chadan Valley, they set up six yurts for housing and built two prayer houses, where they began to receive people, perform services and religious rites [Mongush 2001, p.121]. The initiator of this project was Lama Mongush Chimba. At the time of the establishment of the houses of worship (1946), there were only six lamas; by 1947, the number had increased to nine.

In 1960, the believers of Dzun-Khemchik Kozhuun raised funds for the construction of the temple. But since khure was not officially registered as an independent religious organization, permission from higher authorities for its construction was not obtained, despite the growing popularity of the cult practice held there and the repeated request of the lamas themselves to register khure. Meanwhile, the activities of local lamas gradually extended beyond the borders of Tuva, and they established friendly contacts with the Buryat Sangha. As a sign of support, the Central Spiritual Administration of Buddhists of Russia (TSDUB), located in Ulan-Ude, donated collections of religious objects, Buddhist treatises and other paraphernalia to the Chadan Khure free of charge. The Tuvan side sent its lama Khomushka Kenden to the Ivolginsky datsan of Buryatia, who was enlisted in its staff. Later, Khomushku Kenden constantly came on a business trip to Tuva, supervising the work of local lamas.

The increasing activity of the Tuvan lamas, which by this time had reached 20 people, caused serious concern among the official authorities responsible for the development of the region.

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for the atheistic education of the masses. After accusing the lamas of failing to comply with the legal ban on conducting religious rites, the party and Soviet bodies held a series of propaganda events "to expose the activities of lamas."

In Dzun-Khemchik Kozhuun, "64 meetings were held, with 9,600 people present," and 320 people denounced the lamas ' activities. As a result of this policy, the number of people seeking help from the lamas of Chadan houses of worship has decreased. If before 1959 the number of visitors to these homes averaged 60-100 people per month, then after 1959-only 25-30 people [Khomushku, 1998, p. 99-100].

Due to the fact that the number of believers has significantly decreased, in the beginning of 1960 lamas of houses of worship were refused registration of their khure and offered to leave for permanent residence in other kozhuuns of the republic. In June of the same year, a meeting of lamas was held, at which it was announced that the further activities of prayer houses would cease, which automatically led to the loss of the Buddhist tradition. Institutional practices began to be replaced by non-institutional ones, and cult members went underground. According to information reports, the most active illegal lamas and shamans were in Dzun-Khemchik, Barun-Khemchik, Bai-Taiga, Ovyur and Todzhinsky kozhuuns.

The policy of state bodies was quite strict in relation to religious organizations, although there were no specific directives regarding the ban on their registration, infringement of the rights of believers. Moreover, it was allowed to create organizations of any confessional orientation, but in practice it was almost impossible to do this. The party authorities exercised tacit control over members of religious communities, which, in fact, deprived them of the freedom to choose their spiritual path.

Under these circumstances, many lamas and shamans were forced to engage in private religious practice illegally; their activities were closely monitored by State security agencies. Lama Damba Salchak (born in 1900) lived in the sumon of Kyzyl-Dag of the Bai-Taiga Kozhuun. He was engaged in herbal medicine, performing simple rituals of a family and household nature, and also annually took part in the ritual of consecrating the taiga (taiga dagylgazy), which, despite the fact that it was officially banned back in the times of the TNR, semi-legally conducted on the initiative of local residents.

A very famous lama was Alexander Ochurzhap (born in 1908), who lived in the Kara-Tal sumon of Ulugh-Khem Kozhuun. As an eight-year-old boy, he was sent by his parents to Huuraki as a novice. After studying for seven years at the Ak-Tal (Tyulyush) Khure monastery school, he completed his studies at the Verkhnechadan Monastery for three more years. He was initiated as a kechila (getsul). After the prohibition of religious worship, Ochurzhap completed a paramedic course, but still continued to engage in private religious practice. Part of the funds that came to him in the form of voluntary donations, he took to the Ivolginsky datsan in Buryatia [RF TIGI, d. 1122, l. 22-23; d. 881, l. 10].

According to 1981 data, 12 lamas and 24 shamans were engaged in religious practice in Tuva; in 1984 - 11 lamas and 38 shamans. Party reports indicated that lamas were becoming fewer and fewer every year due to natural decline, but that they were being replaced by impostor shamans.

Despite all the measures taken in the early 1980s to strengthen the atheistic education of the masses, in 1987, according to the information report on the activities of religious organizations, there were about 30 shamans on the territory of Tuva; in 1989, their number increased to 43, 8 of them were women. According to O. M. Khomushku, the degree of influence of shamanism during this period increased, in particular, due to the need to fill a spiritual niche that remained unclaimed due to a decrease in the number of priests of the Buddhist direction. At the same time, she notes that the link between

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The association of Tuva Buddhists with the Ivolga datsan, where believers sometimes went on pilgrimage and from where representatives of the Buryat Buddhist Sangha came to visit them, remained quite strong throughout the Soviet period [Khomushku, 1998, pp. 103-106].


Perestroika in the sphere of ideology, especially in such a sensitive area as traditional religious beliefs, as well as new religious movements, began in 1988, when Russia celebrated the 1000th anniversary of the baptism of Rus and a dialogue between the church and secular authorities of the country on the topic "the place of religion in history and culture"unfolded. For the first time in the entire history of the USSR, there was a phenomenon when religious and national movements were closely interrelated [Zhukovskaya, 1994, p. 7]. In the regions of compact residence of Buddhists in Russia - Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva - an impetus was given to the revival of traditional national culture, and, of course, religion as an integral part of it.

In January 1990, based on the decision of the Council for Religious Affairs under the Council of Ministers of the Tuvan ASSR, the active Buddhist society "Aldyn Bogda"was officially registered. At the time of registration, there were 25 people in its ranks. Soon, on his initiative, a special account was opened in the Tuva department of Zhilsotsbank to collect voluntary donations for the construction of a Buddhist temple in the capital of the republic. In the summer of 1990, some religious rites that had previously been banned were officially held. In June of the same year, the consecration of the Kyzyl Taiga took place in the Sut-Khol kozhuun. The "taiga of dagylgazy" ceremony was performed by 95-year-old Lama Siwen Dorju. Later, the rite of consecration of ovaa (ovaa dagylgazy) in Mongun-Taiga kozhuun was performed by Lama K. Sandak.

Gradually, rites related to the veneration and consecration of natural objects began to be held in all kozhuuns of the republic. Along with this, the traditional New Year - Shagaa and Naadym - the summer holiday of pastoralists-were again included in the holiday calendar of Tuvans.

The first temple, which marked the revival of Buddhism in Tuva, appeared in late 1990 in the sumon Kyzyl-Dag of the Bai-Taiga kozhuun. The initiators of its construction were local stone-cutting artists Saaya Kogel and Sergey Kochaa. The Ministry of Education of the Tuvan ASSR allocated funds for the construction of school workshops in Kyzyl-Dag, but the local authorities, taking into account the aspirations of their fellow villagers, disposed of them in their own way. The construction of the facility was carried out in the shortest possible time: they started in June 1990, and finished in December of the same year. When the work was fully completed, the entire first floor was given to stone carvers and their students, and a small prayer hall was located on the second floor. The building is designed in the architectural style of a Buddhist temple. Its prayer hall is decorated with the products of local craftsmen-carpenters, artisans and artists. The grand opening of the temple took place on December 27, 1990, and the rite of consecration was performed by a former lama, 94-year-old Ku-ular Shymbai-ool, who once studied at the Verkhnechadan Khure. In the summer of 1991, the temple held a festival dedicated to the Maitreya Buddha cycle. Former lamas Sotpa Kuzhuget from Kara-Khol and Kuular Orus from Bayan-Tal were invited to perform the rites [Mongush, 2001, p. 127].

In May 1991, the first issue of the newspaper "Erege" - the printed organ of the Buddhist society "Aldyn Bogda" with a total circulation of 4 thousand copies-was published. At the invitation of the same society, the Mongolian lamas Dazhravzhaa Ravzhaa and Dash Tsultem visited Tuva. At the same time, several yurt chapels were erected in Kyzyl on the right bank of the Yenisei River, where lamas were invited from different kozhuuns of Tuva to perform simple rituals and small pujas.3 These yurts-chapels operated only in the warm season due to difficulties with their heating and maintenance in winter. Later, the first small Tuvdan Choyhorling temple in Kyzyl was built on this site.

Puja is a traditional religious service.

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In the summer of 1991, Buryatia hosted jubilee celebrations on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the official recognition of Buddhism in Russia, to which the spiritual leader of Tibet, Dalai Lama XIV Tenzin Gyatso, was invited as an honorary guest. About 100 people from Tuva took part in these events. This was the first time that Tuvans had direct contact with a Tibetan leader.4

The collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the same year only accelerated the revival of Buddhism in Tuva. With the rapidly deteriorating socio-economic situation of both urban and rural populations, and the declining standard of living of the majority of Tuvans, the historical memory of the people turned to traditional culture, in particular to that part of it that was associated with Buddhism. The need to revive it in new historical conditions was in this case something like a saving straw. So the idea, having taken hold of the masses, gradually began to be implemented.

In September 1992, the first ever official visit of the Tibetan government delegation headed by the Dalai Lama XIV to Tuva took place. During the intergovernmental negotiations, a bilateral agreement on cooperation in the field of religion was signed, according to which the Tibetan Government, at the request of the Tuvan side, undertook to send several highly educated spiritual mentors to Tuva to spread the Buddha's teachings among the Tuvan population. The Government of Tuva, for its part, was to send a group of Tuvan Huurak youths to study in Tibetan monasteries in India. This first visit, although short-lived, served as a powerful impetus for the revival of Buddhism in Tuva.

In early 1993, the Center for Tibetan Culture and Information was established in Moscow under the patronage of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. One of the main goals of its activity was to help revive the spiritual culture of the peoples of Russia - Kalmyks, Buryats, Tuvans - who had been practicing the Tibetan form of Buddhism for centuries. To achieve this goal, the Center organized in the summer of 1993 the first trip of the Dalai Lama's official representative in Russia, Geshe Jump Tinley, to Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva. The purpose of his visit was to convey the teachings of the Buddha to the inhabitants of these republics. After the first visit of Geshe Jump Tinley, there was a noticeable revival in the spiritual life of Tuvan society. Thus, shortly after his departure, a religious Buddhist organization, the Dalai Lama Dharma Center, was officially established in Kyzyl. Initially, it was this center that organized the Tibetan teacher's visits to Tuva, which since then have been held regularly, at least 2-3 times a year.

Geshe Jampa Tinley's lectures on Buddhist philosophy are more successful than any other event in the republic. It is possible, of course, that the main interest of the majority is connected with the ritual side of Buddhism, rather than with the very essence of this teaching [Anaiban 1999, p.242-243]. However, people are also attracted by the fact that the mentor's lectures present the essence of Buddhist teaching and practice in an accessible and adequate form [Zhukovskaya, 2000, p.215, 218].

The revival and development of Buddhism in Tuva was actively promoted by the republican society "Friends of Tibet", established in August 1994. At first, this public organization consisted of no more than 30 members, mostly representatives of the scientific intelligentsia. Currently, it consists of more than 500 people, including residents not only of the capital, but also of rural areas.

In the early years, the society mainly dealt with issues of bilateral Tuvan-Tibetan cultural cooperation in the field of Buddhism. Gradually, though,

4 It should be noted that for the first time the Dalai Lama visited Russia in 1979, it was an unofficial visit, so it did not receive widespread media coverage. Then there were two more semi-secret visits, which also went unnoticed [Zhukovskaya 2000, p. 214]. It was only in 1991 that the Russian media started talking about the Dalai Lama's visit.

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His activities began to focus on organizing political events, mainly aimed at drawing public attention to the current situation of Tibet and the Tibetan people in China.

Within the framework of the bilateral Tuvan-Tibetan agreement on mutual cooperation in the field of religion, two Tibetan teachers, Geshe Lopsan Thubten and gelong Takpa Gyatso, arrived in Tuva in August 1995; gelong Pende Gyaltsen arrived in February 1996, and another Tibetan monk, Sopa, who had previously lived and worked in Buryatia, arrived in early 1999. Currently, all of them have received Russian citizenship and live in Kyzyl. Only Geshe Lopsan Thubten is engaged in mentoring activities, the rest of them have taken off their monastic orders, started families and went into business (they opened a Tibetan restaurant in Kyzyl), which not only upset some orthodox Buddhists, but also shook the authority of Tibetan teachers, who differed from local lamas in their education and ability to correctly conduct rites and rituals.

In February 1997, the first group of Tuvan Huuraks, consisting of five people, left for India to study; upon arrival, they were accepted into the Draipung Goman Datsan monastic community (in the south of India, in the state of Karnataka), which is the most suitable place for Tuvan, Kalmyk, Buryat and Mongolian youths to receive education, since it adheres to the following principles: the traditional Gelugpa school for these peoples. According to 2004 data, fifteen young men from Tuva are already studying at this datsan.

In September 1997, the All-Tuvan Founding Congress of Buddhists of the Republic of Tuva was held in Kyzyl, where the Kambi Lama, the supreme head of a centralized Buddhist organization, and two of his deputies were elected, who later formed the Kambi Lama's Office of the Republic of Tuva (UCLRT). This event marked the beginning of the formation of the institutional sphere of Buddhist communities in the republic.

A small sociological survey conducted among the participants of the congress showed the following: 60% of respondents supported the revival and development of the historically formed Tuvan version of Buddhism: 25% preferred the classical Tibetan version; 15% considered it possible to develop Tuvan Buddhism using the Tibetan version. When asked how they would react to female monasticism if it appeared in Tuva, 75% of respondents gave a positive answer [Khomushku, 2000, p. 9].

During the period from 1995 to 2004, relations with Tibetans significantly intensified. So, in April 1996, at the invitation of local Buddhists, geshe-lharamba (Tuv. gaaramba) Chamyan Kenze, who permanently lives and works in St. Petersburg, came. He gave his students instructions on Lam-rim , the main guide for lay Buddhists. In August 1997, a Tibetan government delegation consisting of Prime Minister Galsan Yeshi, Minister of Culture Kirti Rimpoche, and Secretary of the Center for Tibetan Culture and Information in Moscow Tashi Delek visited Tuva. The purpose of their visit was to discuss issues related to further cooperation between the two peoples. In August 1998, Yeshi-Lodoi Rimpoche, who lives and works in Buryatia, visited the republic. He gave instructions to the people on Guru Yoga. In October 1999, at the invitation of the President of Tuva, Bogdo-gegen Dzhebtsun Damba Khutukhta IX came on an official visit, who also taught the people and consecrated several new Buddhist temples, including two in the capital. In September 2003 he repeated his visit to Tuva, this time on behalf of the Dalai Lama XIV, gave the people an Initiation into Kalachakra Tantra, which is considered one of the most closed, complex, but at the same time the most profound teachings that allow them to penetrate the greatest mystery of the world - the mystery of the mystical life of the Cosmos, the secret of the beating of human life itself in the bowels The universe. This significant event was attended not only by residents from Kozhuun, but also by pilgrims from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Mongolia and Buryatia. In total, more than 50 thousand people took part in the Dedication.

In August 2000, the abbot of Dreipung Goman Datsan geshe-lharamba Tsultim Puntsok paid a visit, with whom the Kamba Lama's Office signed an agreement on training a new group of Tuvan Huuraks, as the lack of qualified personnel significantly hinders the revival of Buddhism in Tuva. The paradox is that the construction of new Buddhist temples in the republic is carried out much faster than the training of relevant personnel who should work in these temples and serve the parishioners. In the ap-

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In 2004, a group of Draipung Goman Datsan lamas, led by Shivalha Rimpoche, visited the republic, erected the Chenresi Mandala (Avalokiteshvara) and the Medicine Buddha Mandala (Manla) in cities and town centers, and gave Initiation to Yamantaka Tantra. All lectures and Dedications are translated from Tibetan into Russian, which makes them accessible to Russian-speaking residents of the republic.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign Ministry, concerned about the growing popularity of the Dalai Lama and the growing interest of Russians in Tibetan Buddhism, has increasingly issued a note about the undesirable visits of the spiritual leader of Tibet to Russia. It is for this reason that the planned visits of the Dalai Lama XIV to Buryatia, Kalmykia and Tuva in 1998, 2000, and 2003 were disrupted, no matter how much the residents of the republics and their leaders wanted it.

Since the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to Tuva, significant changes have taken place in the spiritual life of Tuvan society. During this time, in Dzun-Khemchik, Barun-Khemchik, Bai-Taiga, Tes-Khem, Ulug-Khem, Chedi-Khol kozhuuns of the republic, small Buddhist temples were built at the expense of voluntary donations from the population, popularly called dugans; in the rest, temporary prayer houses were opened (Tuv. morgul bazhynnary), which were later opened by the local authorities. they will be converted into churches. There are four Buddhist temples in Kyzyl: Tuvdan Choyhorling, Gandanpuntsogling, Tashipandeling and Tsechenling. The latter became the official residence of the Kamba Lama. It is noteworthy that its construction was carried out with the financial support of the Tuvan government, which contradicts the current Constitutions of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tuva, according to which the church is separated from the state.

The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Tuva has positively resolved the issue of restoring the Verkhnechadansky Khure on its former site, where only ruins of its previous structure remain. Funds have been allocated from the federal budget for the implementation of this project. In the future, the restored church will be taken under UNESCO protection as a monument of special historical and cultural value. In the past, it was the only temple in Tuva built according to the canons of Tibetan architecture (the rest were built in the style of Chinese pagodas).

Despite certain developments in the field of the revival of Buddhism, it is impossible not to note the serious problems that both representatives of the Sangha and ordinary lay people have to face in the same way. In particular, there are quite strong tensions and disagreements among the members of the Kamba Lama's Office, which prevent the formation of common programs for the development of Buddhism in the republic. They do not have a single point of view regarding the observance of monastic vows prescribed by the Vinaya. Some of the Tuvan monks, especially the youngest ones, are unmarried, while the abbots of Tuvdan Choyhorling and Tashipandeling temples in Kyzyl, as well as some Kozhuun temples, are married and have children. To this must be added the behavior of Tibetan lamas who have broken their vow of celibacy. Therefore, the question of whether Tuvan lamas should be married or celibate, as required by the Charter of Monastic Ethics, remains open. The question of what is more important - strict observance of monastic ethics or knowledge of Buddhist teachings-is also not resolved. The future of Tuvan Buddhism remains unclear-whether it will be a new version or the old Gelugpa tradition will be revived. There are also people with criminal records among the lamas, which causes natural indignation on the part of ordinary people, but which is calmly treated in the Kamba Lama's Office. Similar problems also exist in Buryatia [Zhukovskaya, 1997, p. 10].

There are also some problems in the relations between Tuvan and Tibetan lamas, who have accumulated quite a lot of complaints about each other over the years of joint cooperation. The main reason for conflicts between them is their mutual influence.

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unwillingness to make compromise decisions on controversial issues that often arose in the process of working together. In such cases, the last word, as a rule, went to the Tuvan lamas, who, taking advantage of the quantitative advantage, carried out their own, not always strategically and tactically correctly built line. Currently, this problem has disappeared - Tibetans have married and retired from the affairs of the sangha. However, the probability that they will return to them again, even if they are married, is still quite high. There is also a possibility that new Tibetan lamas will arrive in Tuva, who will have to enter into a dialogue with local spiritual cadres.

Not everything is perfect in relations between lay people and representatives of the Sangha. Recently, members of the Mandzushri Buddhist Center, which unites lay Buddhists who are engaged in cultural and educational activities, have been seriously criticizing the work of the Kamba Lama's Office. As O. M. Khomushku rightly points out, each center or community wants to "pull the blanket" to its side, because only they consider themselves "true Buddhists" [Khomushku, 2000, p.9].

The relationship between Buddhists and followers of shamanism is ambiguous. Over the past ten years, many shamanic places of worship have been revived in Tuva, where believers used to visit secretly during socialism, but now they go openly.

There is no open rivalry between lamas and shamans, but there is a desire to get closer (as has happened in the past). they also don't show up. Meanwhile, experts studying the current confessional situation in Tuva believe that shamanism currently cannot compete with either Buddhism or other faiths due to the functional specifics of the shaman, as well as due to the lack of institutional registration of shamanism. It is also noted that shamanism has always occupied and will continue to occupy its niche in the general system of spiritual culture of Tuvans, preserving its audience and followers [Khomushku, 2000, p. 9].

Sociological studies of the state of religiosity of the population conducted in January 1999 showed that in the republic as a whole, about half of believers consider themselves Buddhists and only 17% - shamanists [Khomushku, 2000, p.9]. For ordinary lay people, the question of who to turn to for help in case of need is not worth it, they are completely free in their choice, so they turn to lamas and shamans with equal success. Those and others, each in their own way, conduct rites of commemoration on the 7th and 49th days, arrange medical events, fortune-telling, send rites of a family and household nature. It is not uncommon for a lama and a shaman to be invited to the same event in turn. This is especially common during the Shagaa festival, when people " ... have time to visit bonfires with shamans, and in a Buddhist temple. In the morning hours, it is impossible to squeeze either to the place where shamans kamlayut, meeting the dawn, or to the Buddhist temple where lamas say prayers. There is pandemonium here and there" [Mongush, 2001, p. 145].


According to the law "On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations", adopted in 1997, shamanism, Buddhism and Orthodoxy are recognized as traditional beliefs in Tuva. But along with them, non-traditional confessions are also actively and successfully operating, the number of which has increased significantly over the past decade. As of April 2004, according to the Ministry of Justice, 44 religious organizations officially operate on the territory of Tuva, including 5 shamanic, 18 Buddhist, 3 Orthodox, 1 Old Believer community, and 18 Protestant. In percentage terms, they are distributed-

page 27

They are divided as follows: Buddhists - 53%, shamanists - 29%, Protestants-16%, Orthodox - 2.2%, Old Believers - 0.8% [see: Tuvinskaya Pravda, 6.04.04, N 51, p. 3].

Despite the quantitative advantage of traditional religious organizations, the influence of non-traditional confessions on the Tuvan environment is quite large. Among them, the most widespread activities are carried out by Protestant religious organizations that have their branches not only in large cities, but also in remote Kozhuuns of the republic, where only Tuvans mostly live. Consequently, the contingent of believers here is replenished not so much at the expense of the Russian-speaking population, but at the expense of indigenous residents. Among them, the following associations are the most influential in terms of their prevalence.

Sun-Bok-Eum, a South Korean evangelical Christian church founded in May 1995 and led by Lee Chul-sun, a pastor from South Korea. Several hundred people attend regularly held services, 99% of them are Tuvans, and about 70% are young and middle-aged people. In 1997, there was a split in the church, as a result of which a new religious community "Shynche oruk" ("Path to Truth") was created. Its leader was a Tuvan pastor Albert Shin, formerly a translator of Lee Chul Sung. The overwhelming majority of the parishioners of the first and second churches are Tuvans; both of these organizations adhere to the Pentecostal trend [Khomushku, 1998, p. 113].

The religious community of Jehovah's Witnesses, officially registered in 1993, is a fairly large association, which is also headed by a Tuvinian-Vyacheslav Chanzan-ool. An important point for followers of Jehovah's Witnesses is baptism, which is performed not immediately, but after some time has elapsed, when the new follower will establish himself as an active servant. There are 83 baptized Jehovah's Witnesses in Tuva, more than half of them are Tuvans.

The Christian Missionary Society (registered in 1993), which belongs to the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians, is also a fairly extensive and influential religious organization. It is run by Andrey Mironenko, a graduate of the Lesosibirsk Bible Institute. This direction has a whole network of "affiliated" associations in almost all kozhuuns of the republic, even in such places as Tes-Khem and Erzya, where the position of Buddhism is traditionally very strong. This society has a well-established system of informing its followers (conferences, schools and other forms of education are regularly held), as well as generous funding, thanks to which it rents premises, provides material assistance to its members, provides them with the necessary literature, and pays for translation of publications into the Tuvan language (the Bible has already been translated). [Khomushku, 1998, pp. 113-116].

In the spring of 1997, this society organized a presentation of the film "Jesus Christ" in the Tuvan language in Kyzyl. The event was attended by a delegation of Christian missionaries from the United States, who specially came to Tuva for this occasion. She brought with her videotapes of the film, which were distributed free of charge to everyone present at the end of the presentation. They also received literature and humanitarian aid.

The reason that many Tuvans join non-traditional confessions, in our opinion, is not only and not so much that they are attracted by generous gifts (although in the context of the general economic downturn, this looks very attractive), but rather the low educational level of Tuvan lamas, who, unlike the same foreign missionaries, do not know how to do this. deliver meaningful lectures on the basics of Buddhist teaching to the public, thereby promoting the traditional worldview of their people. (In Tuva, this mission, as already mentioned, is performed by Geshe Jampa Tinley.)

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However, the list of denominations operating in Tuva is not limited to the above-mentioned areas, as there are still a number of unregistered religious organizations, among which, for example, the Muslim community stands out, which mainly unites representatives of the Tatar diaspora. There is also a small group of Hare Krishnas. Both operate with varying degrees of activity.

According to Z. V. Anaiban, with whom we can probably agree, none of the confessional trends represented in the republic, unlike other regions of Russia, has a political bias [Anaiban, 1999, pp. 240-242]. The experience of holding elections at the Russian and republican levels really showed that the religious factor was not used by local politicians in Tuva. Religious conflicts are also not registered in the republic. The materials of sociological studies confirm this: after the ethnic clashes that took place in Tuva in the early 1990s, it was the religious factor, among others, that played a stabilizing role here. The growth of religious consciousness observed among the titular nationalities of the Russian Federation is primarily associated with the processes of national and cultural revival, which, in turn, serves as an indicator of ethnic cohesion. The current increase in interest in traditional confessions in Tuva is just a manifestation of these trends in society and public consciousness.


After the collapse of the USSR, major changes took place in the spiritual life of Tuvans: previously closed archival documents related to the period of repression and persecution of representatives of the Sangha (1921-1944) were declassified, there was a tendency for science and religion to converge, the general confessional situation in the republic changed, and a transformation in public consciousness took place, which led to an increase in the role of religion in areas of people's life - culture, politics, and even the economy. All this together allowed us to assess the place and significance of Buddhism in the history and culture of the Tuvan people in a completely different way.

Along with Buddhism, shamanism has become no less popular. However, the attitude to it as an ethnic identifier is very ambiguous. If earlier shamanism was not considered as a factor contributing to the spiritual revival of the people, now it has begun to act as such both independently and in conjunction with Buddhism under the general designation "traditional beliefs". Researchers often emphasize the positive aspects of shamanism: "Nature itself in the course of history "gave rise" to a shamanic worldview and culture: a certain style in art (sculpture, ornamentation, music), a rich mythology and the greatest ethnic traditions. All this is the basis of the cultural heritage of an ethnic group, the source of cultural creativity of new generations "[Mikhailov, 1998, p. 114].

Part of the Tuvan intelligentsia considers shamanism as an inherent worldview of Tuvans, which helps them live and survive in extreme conditions. In this capacity, shamanism acts as a kind of way of life support for an ethnic group. However, the other part is extremely negative about its role as an ethnointegrator and a mechanism that promotes revival and progress. Claims to shamanism, as a rule, are as follows: it does not have a clear organizational structure; it is revived and exists spontaneously and haphazardly within the framework of one kind or another, which significantly narrows its functions; it often comes into conflict with the interests and norms of other faiths, in particular Buddhism; there are no truly strong shamans - they are the main ones. places are occupied by charlatans, etc.

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The arguments of both supporters and opponents of shamanism, of course, contain a rational grain, but this does not affect the private practice of Tuvan shamans. And it is by no means limited to Tuva.

In Switzerland, a Tuvan shaman of the "Dungur" ("Tambourine")society treated patients with musculoskeletal disorders in a private clinic in Basel Lazo Mongush. He took 12-14 patients daily. After its sessions, patients felt better, their lost functions were restored [see: Trud, 5.05.04, N 81-82, p. 1]. Several times Tuvan shamans in the West arranged "rain calling". Mongush Kenin-Lopsan, Doctor of Historical Sciences and a practicing shaman in one person, who was awarded the title "Living Treasure of Shamanism"by the American Foundation for Shamanic Research in 1995, often gives lectures on Tuvan shamanism at foreign universities. The shaman Oleg Toyduk, who unfortunately passed away early, was widely known. Once he was invited to Moscow by a high-ranking official to treat a patient after a car accident. The patient suffered from severe headaches. Three sessions of the shaman were enough to improve the patient's well-being. Along the way, Toyduk was asked to look at a baby with a birth craniocerebral injury. What modern European medicine could not do, the Tuvan shaman was able to do [Mart-ool, 2002, p.34].

Nowadays, worshippers have become indispensable participants in all official state events, they are often invited to consecrate a significant event, such as the opening of a new church, hospital, educational institution, etc.

Despite the increased authority of traditional beliefs, there are also cases of Tuvans converting to a different faith, which leads to a change of confessional identity. For example, followers of the Sun-Bok-eum church in South Korea believe that Buddhism has brought nothing but poverty to Tuvans, as well as Koreans, because it requires its followers to contemplate passively and give up material goods. Christianity seems to them a more attractive religion, capable of leading the people to universal prosperity. In the late 1990s, the parishioners of this church committed an act of vandalism in Ulugh-Khem Kozhuun because of their hostility to Buddhism. They publicly burned portraits of the Dalai Lama, called on the people to abandon Buddhism and shamanism, which allegedly have no future in Tuva, and voluntarily accept Christianity.

Members of the Christian missionary society also changed their confessional identity. According to its head, Alexander Mironenko, the adoption of Christianity by Tuvans contributed to the fact that this religion in Tuva ceased to be the prerogative of only Russians. To support this trend in the future, many ethnic features have been introduced into the life of society: parishioners are allowed to wear national clothes, services are conducted in the Tuvan language, traditional tea parties are held, etc. [Walters, 2001, p. 36].

Modern Tuvans identify themselves as half-Buddhists, half-shamanists. Sometimes, at the individual level, there are cases of voluntary abandonment of one of the religious traditions.

The story of Belek-kys Salchak (born 1955, a native of Kyzyl) clearly illustrates this. In the early 1990s, she opened a small private liquor store in Kyzyl. Things went well for her, the goods were sold out quickly, and the family was financially well off. But once a woman got into an accident, after which she could not recover for a long time. She turned to the shaman, who said that the cause of her troubles is a neighbor who allegedly has a "bad eye" and a "black tongue", and promised to eliminate the negative influence. However, the health of Belek-kys did not return, and relations with her neighbor finally broke down. Then she turned to the Tibetan lamas for help. Those who listened to her story and arranged fortune-telling from special books advised the woman to give up bad karma, i.e. stop selling alcoholic beverages to the population, and instead do something more useful. Belek-kys after-

page 30

she followed the advice and opened a small diner, which began to bring her a good income. My health gradually stabilized as well. According to the woman, this incident finally introduced her to the bosom of Buddhism. Since then, she has not turned to shamans and does not advise her relatives to do this.

Another story was told to us by Valentina Balchiy-ool (born in 1934, a native of Barun-Khemchik kozhuun), an educational teacher. The woman from the apartment lost a large amount of money that she saved up to buy a car for her son. The shaman she turned to for help said that the money was stolen from her by a fellow villager who had recently visited her. The events that the shaman described actually took place, everything came together literally to the smallest detail. Having identified the culprit, the shaman advised Valentina to "eliminate him naturally" and suggested a "scenario" of an accident, to which no investigation could "dig in". The woman categorically refused to do this, which she later never regretted. "If with the help of shamans people will "exterminate" each other, then what will it lead to?"the woman wondered.

Due to the fact that the methods and methods of providing assistance to lamas and shamans are significantly different, sometimes there are tensions, disagreements and rivalries between them. Tibetan lamas, when they first arrived and started working in Tuva, were quite surprised that "people from the white house", i.e. from the government, came to them and asked them to "eliminate" their political rivals. Tibetans had to long and persistently explain to their parishioners the Buddhist law of karma, according to which any unseemly act committed even at the level of thought or desire will have negative consequences. Shamans in such cases do not bother to moralize, they offer their own means of help. Therefore, whether to turn to a shaman or a lama in a difficult moment is a purely personal matter for everyone.

Meanwhile, there is no reason to say that there is no inter-confessional harmony in Tuva; it definitely exists and looks very natural [Walters, 2001, p. 23-36]. It is based on several ethno-confessional groups, whose interests by and large do not infringe on each other. Christian society is represented mainly by the Russian ethnic monolith, but the Russian Orthodox Church is not exclusively dominant here: among Christians, a large percentage are Old Believers, Evangelical Christians-Baptists, new Protestants.

Shamanic-Buddhist society is also monolithic in ethnic terms, it is represented mainly by Tuvans and a small part of the Buryat population. Although there are no ethnocultural differences between shamanists and Buddhists, certain contradictions still exist. However, this does not disturb the stable balance in the sphere of confessional relations.


If only 10-15 years ago the overwhelming majority of modern republican politicians were atheists, now the picture is quite different. Today, instead of the May Day and October holidays that were once introduced from outside and introduced into the local environment, the Tuvan population joins Shagaa-the traditional New Year, Naadym - the summer holiday of cattle breeders (timed to coincide with the Republic Day) and forgotten holidays of the Buddhist calendar; and the Russian population - Christmas, Maslenitsa, Easter, etc. Republican leaders of all levels began to take pride of place in Buddhist and Orthodox churches instead of government tribunes. Perhaps the official authorities intuitively feel the need for a new national idea for Tuva to replace the communist one. And so far, they have found nothing better than the idea of spiritual rebirth by appealing to the traditional values of spiritual culture. That is why, when asked about the spread of new religions in Tuva, a significant part of the respondents categorically stated that "only traditional religions should exist" - 42.38%; 14.23% believe that "there can be no new religions in Tuva."-

page 31

any religion can be spread", and 17.23% said that "any religion with the priority of traditional religions can be spread". At the same time, concerns about the preservation of traditional culture still allow the majority of respondents to maintain a fairly tolerant position in relation to other faiths. Thus, more than half (54.71%) of the respondents stated that "it does not matter what religion a person belongs to, as long as he observes the moral precepts" [Khomushku, 2000, p.4].

Summing up, we can say that the modern religious and confessional structure in the Republic of Tuva is the result of a historically long and complex process. Its complexity is determined by the multi-confessional nature, which is characterized by two trends: the revival and development of traditional religious beliefs and the growing influence of new, mainly Protestant, religious trends that previously did not have distribution in the republic.

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M. V. MONGUSH, TRADITIONAL AND NON-TRADITIONAL CONFESSIONS IN TUVA: HISTORY AND MODERNITY // Astana: Digital Library of Kazakhstan (BIBLIO.KZ). Updated: 03.07.2024. URL: (date of access: 25.07.2024).

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