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Between Statutes and Dharma: The Regulation and the Punishment of Mongolian Monks in the Early Qing Period

Special Issue
Ling-Wei KUNG (Columbia University)
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Support for the Gelug School was a key element of Qing cultural policy in Mongolia. Some Buddhist monasteries took advantage of the patron-priest relationship to legitimize their subordination of dependent populations, acquisition of livestock and the expansion of their social and economic influence. Even as it patronized specific religious leaders, the Qing dynasty developed methods to regulate Mongolian monks in order to limit monastic aggrandizement. The indigenous traditions of Mongolian Buddhism actively competed with the court-supported Gelug School. The recently- published Manchu and Mongolian Routine Memorials of Lifanyuan include legal cases involving Mongolian monks that reflect this tension between Mongolian Buddhism and Qing authority. These cases thus illustrate the interaction between imperial metropole and periphery. This paper uses these cases to discuss the interaction between Qing imperial discourse and Mongolian religious traditions from the perspective of legal pluralism and legal practice.

Journal of History and Anthropology