added 4 research items
Buddhism in Russia and the Soviet Union
The chapter focuses on the history of Tibetan medicine in the Soviet Union and its changing religious and academic aspects. Following the rapid development of Tibetan medicine in the Russian Empire, especially among the Buryats, Soviet scholars engaged in studying it in the 1920s and 1930s. The openness of the early Soviet state to indigenous knowledge reflected its claim to post-Western Enlightenment but also corresponded to the increasing interest of Soviet Buddhists in modernisation. After the brief period of toleration, by the early 1940s, the Soviet government repressed Tibetan medicine together with other practices related to Buddhism. Despite the reestablishment of institutionalised Buddhism in 1945, Tibetan medicine was not officially legalised until 1990, but dissident lamas continued healing both in labour camps and at large.
The article explored the official Soviet attempts to utilize Buddhism in domestic and foreign policy aiming at diversity management at home and promotion of socialist ideology in postcolonial Asia in the context of the Cold War. Soviet Buddhist leaders, who traveled abroad and received foreign delegations in the USSR, took advantage of the official agenda and reclaimed texts, religious objects, and sites. The visits of prominent monks, including Dalai Lama and Bakula Rinpoche, gave Soviet Buddhists hope for religious revival. Instead of facilitating diversity management and showcasing democracy, the institutionalization of Buddhism ensured its survival and fostered its spread across the Soviet Union. The article argued that transboundary interactions empowered Soviet Buddhist leaders, promoted Buddhism within the Soviet Union after the fierce antireligious campaign, and laid the foundation for new transnational networks that helped religious groups avoid state domination in the USSR and beyond. Within the context of the Cold War, Buddhism became one of the numerous transcultural—that is, border crossing and entangling—phenomena that traversed and subverted borders of four different types. These four different types of borders are: (1) borders between different states; (2) borders between the capitalist “First World” and the socialist “Second World”; (3) borders between the modernized global North and the global South of the “Third World”; and (4) borders between the internal “Third World” of ethnic minorities within the USSR and its modernized European core.