Rebuilding Buddhism in Mongolia - the threat from Christian evangelism.
Buddhism was all but obliterated in Mongolia for sixty years, the worst persecutions being carried out during the late 1930's by the Stalinist dictator Khorloin Choibalsan, when tens of thousands of lamas, monks, and ordinary believers were executed or worked to death by forced labour. The vast majority of Mongolia's monasteries and temples were destroyed.
When communism collapsed in the early 1990's, freedom of belief was again allowed. However Buddhism had been seriously weakened and the spiritual vacuum was rapidly filled by various foreign interests, most notably US fundamentalist Bible-thumpers. These pushy evagelists deployed, and still continue to deploy, lavish funding together with high powered salesmanship to propagate their memes.
The missionaries are, for the most part, blatant cultural imperialists and typically use deception and subterfuge to undermine traditional Mongolian culture. They accuse Buddhism of being responsible for backwardness, and attribute the West's technological and scientific pre-eminence to its Christian traditions. (whereas anyone familiar with European history will be aware that it was only when the Church lost its iron grip on freedom of expression that scientific progress became possible - see obscurantism). Although Christian evangelists are willing to jump on board the western scientific bandwagon when preaching in Buddhist countries, they soon reveal their antiscientific mindset when back on their Bible-belt home ground - see evolution.
Many meme-pedlars also set themselves up as teachers of English, and use their propagandist tracts as educational materials.
The situation has recently become more hopeful with the election of Nambariin Enkhbayar as Prime Minister in July 2000. According the the Buddhist magazine Tricycle (Winter 2000 edition, page 17) Mr Enkhbayar is a devout Buddhist. While pledging to continue to uphold religious tolerance and democracy, he is also very keen to support and strengthen his country's traditional cultures.
Mr Enkhbayar is a former Marxist, who first became interested in Buddhism when subjected to anti-Buddhist indoctrination by his Soviet Communist 'educators'. He converted to Buddhism and created a cross-party Buddhist forum within the Mongolian parliament. He has also represented the Buddhist faith at the World Faiths and Development Dialogues in London.
- Sean Robsville
See also Marxism
Introduction to Buddhism
Arguments against Buddhism - the best way to understand the strengths of a philosophy is to attempt to refute it!
on the mind, personal relationships, meditation and the spiritual path.
Persecutions and torture continue in inner Mongolia
Mongolian Buddhism is now under a new threat!
If we regard Buddhism as a combination of a philosophy, psychology and religion, then how much mileage can we get from the first two aspects before we have to start invoking religious faith?
Christian versus Buddhist worldviews