Buddhism in Mongolia

Buddhism in Mongolia began with the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) emperors conversion to Tibetan Buddhism. The Mongols returned to their old shamanist ways after the collapse of their empire and it wasn't until the 16th and 17th centuries that Buddhism reemerged.

Lama (Tibetan: བླ་མ་, Wylie: bla-ma; "chief" or "high priest") is a title for a teacher of the Dharma in Tibetan Buddhism. The name is similar to the Sanskrit term guru. Historically, the term was used for venerated spiritual masters or heads of monasteries.

Lama' costume:

  • Lamas wear Mongolian boots or summer shoes. Their hat is called a ‘shashir’.
  • Lamas who have renounced their vows yellow deels. /The yellow color represents the sun and is intended to gather energy/ A lama’s deel has a stitched black collar and monks wear a special shirt beneath it.
  • Some lama’s also wear red deels whilst their pupils and older lama wear dark brown deels.
  • The lama’s belt is called a gerag, which in Tibetan, means “wrapped around the waist”; it is made of plated silk thread.
  • Lamas can also wear a scarf over their deel; this scarf is 1.5-2 meters long and 1 meter wide. /The red colour of the scarf represents fire and is intended to diminish negative energy/ Lamas usually wear this during religious services.