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99. Buddhism

For the moment we need not discuss shamanism among all ethnical groups where it has been discovered. We shall therefore confine ourselves to the groups herein discussed. In connection with this one more fact is needed; namely, whether at the moment of the first records of saman in Manchuria Buddhism was known to the local populations or not?

In spite of a quite artificial denial of Buddhism in the Far East among the Tungus and the Manchus, for the first time advanced by W. Schott, the latter was categorically supported by B. Laufer» who pretended that no missionaries had ever penetrated into the regions inhabited by the Tungus, which, by the way, was not at all necessary for the spreading of Buddhism, and which, moreover, was historically not true. Since this question has spell importance for a correct solution of the problem of shamanism, I shall now give a short review of the diffusion of Buddhism in the Far East, a topic that may be better treated together with that on the penetration of alien elements into the Tungus complex in general, which will be discussed in one of the further chapters.

We need not point out that Buddhism made its first appearance in China [526] nearly a millennium before the time to which the beginning of shamanism is referred by the Manchus. In Korea, Buddhism appeared in the fourth century A. D.,[527] and it was introduced by missionaries who, as it may be supposed, had generally a rather strong influence on the Koreans. The Buddhistic missions, which visited very remote regions, were quite familiar with Central Asiatic groups and converted the greater part of Asia to Buddhism or at least had a great influence during the first millennium [528]. The Uigurs, who could be supposed to have been neighbours of some Northern Tungus groups, were already strongly affected by Buddhism in the second half of the same millennium. In fact, the Uigur Khagan, who in 762 A. D. attacked China, stated in this proclamation: «Cette religion (Manicheism) est subtile et merveilleuse; il est difficile de la recevoir et de l'observer. Par deux et par trois fois, avec sincerite (je l'ai etudiee). Autrefois j'etais ignorant etj'appelais 'Buddha' des demons, etc.»[529] In this translation 'des demons' are given in the plural, which is not clear from the text (ibid, footnote 2). The tranlators introduced the plural, because they presumed that the,Uigurs were not Buddhists before they became manicheists; so they say: «par 'Buddha', il doit done s'agir ici de divinites chamaniques '......' Schlegel egalement s'etait refuse a admettre qu'il s'agit ici du buddhisme».

I dare say that speaking of «divinites chamaniques» is not a sign of being familiar with shamanism. One can only wonder why E. Chavannes and P. Pelliot did not wish to accept the clear statement of Khagan and introduced their own interpretation. As for Schlegel, he may have had particular reasons to reject Buddhism. At this time hypotheses were more appreciated than facts. I have pointed out this case to show, by the way, how a theoretical presumption in a delicate ethnographic problem affect even translators work. With the publication of new facts concerning an early spreading of Buddhism in Central Asia, in a close neighbourhood of the Uigurs, and in the Far East, with which the Uigurs were familiar, it becomes improbable that the Uigurs could avoid their acquaintance with Buddhism. An abundance of new Uigur texts [530], true, of a later period, confirms this supposition. Moreover, the Uigurs were in regular relations with the Chinese who by that time were familiar with Buddhism. Another question is how far the complex (Buddhism) was assimilated and modified in the process of its adaptation. The Kidans, who were the political heirs of the Uigurs, were versed in the Buddhistic practises, which may be seen from brief indications of a Chinese witness who remained seven years among the Kidans and and in the tenth century returned to China. He gives a summary description of the Kidan capital, Si-leou located in the basin of Sira Muren (now Chagan Subur-yan) in which he found a great number of Chinese professionals: «on y trouve des artisans pour les manufactures de tissus de soie, des fonctionnaires, des lettres des docteurs en sciences occultes, des religieux et de religieuses bouddhistes, des taoistes; ce sont tous des gens du Royaume du Milieu.» [531] This is not surprising, for their kinsmen, prior to that time, were not only in contact with the old Buddhists of Central Asia, but were, at least for some time, the political masters, when Western Leao was established. Perhaps it is not incidental that in the language of the modern Dahurs we find both samag (Poppe), samdn (Ivan.) and burxan, since the Dahur tradition connects the Dahurs with the Kidans as offsprings of the same ancestors [532].

The political heirs of the Kidans, the Nuichens, who are diffect ancestors of the Manchus, were from the beginning of their political career familiar with Buddhism. In the history of Kin Dynasty we have several explanatory passages by Ch. de Harlez [533]. The founders of the Kin Dynsaty, who lived in Korea, were not unacquainted with Buddhism. One of them, Agunai, was an adept of Buddha. This fact ought to be referred back to the fifth generation from 1070 A.D, i.e. hardly less than one century and a half earlier, or, roughly speaking, to the beginning of the tenth century. With the establishment of the dynasty Buddhism spread so far that the Emperor Si-Tsong had to moderate the enthusiasm, e.g. in 1174 he spoke of the uselessness of erecting too many Buddhist temples for getting wealthy, and in 1179 A.D. he spoke of the delusion of people who sought the assistance of monks. In fact, the monasteries became so numerous that the government had to impose on them some restrictions. In spite of several attempts to approach the emperors, made by the Buddhistic professionals, the government was not inclined to bestow its favours upon them. The emperor Si-Tsong opposed the old Nuichen complex to that of Buddhism, and the former showed nothing which would permit us to infer an existence of shamanism. However, a Chinese traveller in the Nuichen country in 1125 A.D. observed a certain spreading of an alien complex. I shall give here some quotations from an account left by Hsin K'ang-tsong who visited the Nuichen in 1125 [534].

He mentioned HaiYun, a temple with monks, near the sea, outside of the Great wall (ibid. p. 407). The music was the same as that of the Chinese (ibid, p 413) [535] and «le royaume du Milieu a impose les rites et les regies de ses anciens rois et.. les barbares eux-memes se servent de la langue chinoise pour faire foi» (ibid, p 431). In the reception hall of the Kin emperor (probably, Tai-Tsong), who was one of the predeeessors of Si-Tsong — an antagonist of Buddhistic influence — there were images of Buddhas (ibid, p. 431). The emperor's head-dress was like that of the Buddhist monks [536]. Thus the Nuicben seem to have received their Buddhistic elements from various sources, namely, as indicated, from the Koreans and from the Chinese, directly and through the intermediary of the Kidans. The cultural influence of the Kidans was very great, which is evident from various facts that point to the source of the cultural elements and of course from the fact that the Kidans were still earlier in contact with Buddhists — the Chinese and Central Asiatic groups.

From these facts it is evident that some elements of Buddhism, as an ethnographical complex, might have been assimilated by the populations of Manchuria not only through the process of the diffusion of elements, but even by a direct imitation of the complex represented by the professionals. Since the government did not favour them, but the complex had already made its appearance among the population, is it not natural to suppose that this population itself began to practice the tricks of the bonzes which proved to be successful? The same phenomenon may now be observed in the establishment of the new complex of mafarism, called into existence owing to the persecution of shamanism, a reaction against it, and an imitation of the Chinese, «s'enshan» — half bonzes, half-doctors, half-literati, and especially half-impostors, and professionals. Yet, such phenomena of imitation and re-adaptation are of frequent occurrence among all people of the Earth [537].

Among the Mongol who were neighbours of the Nuichen, a similar process was going on. In the thirteenth century there was a competition between the shamans, Lamas and Christians. In this matter Chengiz Khan occupied a neutral position and adopted a policy of laissez-faire which soon resulted in the firm establishment of Lamaism. Shamanism could be preserved only among the Buriats and perhaps the Dahurs who practiced it in the seventeenth century [537]. An overwhelming spreading of Lamaism in Mongolia took place only after the political collapse of the Mongols, especially under the Manchus, who politically did not see anything harmful to themselves in the absorption of the Mongol energy by religious matters.

During the Ming Dynasty in China Manchuria was under the cultural influence of the Mongols who were already Lamaists. The Chinese also continued their cultural pressure. Buddhism penetrated into the remotest regions such as, for example, that of the mouth of the Amur River, where in the fifteenth century a Buddhistic temple was erected [538]. Buddhism in Manchuria spread further under the Manchus. In the territory occupied by the Manchus we meet everywhere with Buddhistic temples, shrines and single evidences of Buddhism [539]. Under the Manchu rule the cult of Buddha with pusa (Bodhisattva), generalized by the Manchu as fuch'k'i, and Buddhism as a complex, were assimilated by the Manchus to such a degree that some of Buddhistic elements cannot be recognized at once. The Manchu emperors composed, or perhaps only recorded and enriched practices borrowed from Buddhism, and increased them with the Manchu original elements, making of the acquired Buddhistic elements an important instrument for their own use. A great number of Buddhistic books were translated into Manchu, and Emperor Kang-Hsi was the author of an original work on this subject [540]. As to practices, the Manchus at the time of Hyacinth [541] used used to have for funerals all three kinds of monks, as it was with some Chinese funerals [542]. Among the Manchu of remote region, such as, for instance, Aigun, there appeared fuch'k'i mafa and fuch'k'i mama, i.e. specialists in dealing with Buddhistic spirits, or perhaps even monks of local origin. However, during my stay among the Manchus (1915-1917) I met not a single fuch'k'i mama nor fuch'k'i mafa. According to the Manchus, this practice disappeared some time before my visit. It may be supposed that to the Manchus, who needed a great number of people for official functions, it was practically impossible to sacrifice a part of their population to the monasteries. For this reason, there were more fuch'k'i mama, than fuch'k'i mafa, and none of them were widows. Together with a loss of former prosperity — which happened during the Boxer movement and owing to its consequences — the last fuch'k'i mama disappeared. We have seen that mafarism appeared as a substitute for special, in their secondary nature, functions of the Buddhistic monks and clergy among the shamanistic populations of Manchuria. Thus Buddhistic monastic movement made only a short appearance, without producing on the Manchu any important effect [543]. An essential difference between the hostile attitude of the Manchu Dynasty and the favourable attitude of the Manchu Dynasty towards Buddhism may be noted. Moreover, as has been shown, the Manchu emperors assimilated Buddhism and formed a new complex in which Buddhism received a place of special honour. This fact is indicative of a great change in the complex of the Manchu populations who by that time adopted Buddhism, assimilated it and incorporated it into their own complex. It lost thus its dangerous character as an alien cultural complex as it had been under the Kin emperors who with good reason objected to its penetration among their subjects, since it was acting as a factor destroying imperial power.

Naturally this special, even privileged position of Buddhistic elements in the Manchu complex has greatly simplified the process of penetration of Buddhism amongst the non-Manchu groups of the Far East. In fact, temples of syncretic character were erected even beyond the area occupied by the Manchu, especially occupied by the Mongol and Buriat groups, e.g. in Hulun-Buir and Transbaikalia, also in the Dahur territories in Manchuria. However, it must be pointed out that Mongol Lamaism is perhaps of a different origin, namely, directly from the West.

The question is now how far and how deep this complex penetrated the non-Manchu population? The testimony of travellers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is not very rich, nor always reliable. In J. B. du Halde's Description (VoL IV, p. 12) we find a mention of the Yu-pi ta-tse of the Ussuri River (evidently the Goldi) who, according to the French Jesuits, had no «idols»: «les idoles meme de la Chine n'ont point encore pe«neke jusque chez eux. Apparement: les bonzes ne s'accomodent pas d'un pays si pauvre, et si incommode…» etc. However, it does not mean that the ideas did not penetrate there. It is not surprising that in 1869 Th. Busse, who was very familiar with the local groups, wrote [544] that Buddhism had very deeply penetrated into the same groups. A decade earlier M. Ven'ukov [545] visited them and saw several small shrines and images of Chinese origin. It may thus be inferred that Buddhism made its appearance among this Goldi group not later than in the first half of the last century. The Orochi of the Ussuri River went still further, for there was found a shaman who had his shrine, which is quite unusual for the shamanism, with pictures painted a la chinois [546]. The southern group of the Orochi of the Maritime prov., who are called Udehe, also Tazy, are «Buddhists» [547], while their neighbours investigated by S. Brailovskil were only influenced by Buddhism. It should be noted that the southern group adopted «Buddhism» under the influence of the Chinese who had long ago penetrated into this region and who were «Buddhists». A part of the Goldi of the Maritime prov. in 1916 were also Buddhists [548].

In Manchuria the Birarchen used from time to time to meet lamas and visited Buddhist temples in the regions occupied by the Manchus and Chinese. However, among these groups no formal adhesion to Buddhism was observed. The Khingan Tungus were required to attend at least once a year a religious Buddhistic ceremony near Hailar (in Hulun-Buir). The Mergen Tungus had occasions to meet lamas, and visited temples in Mergen. Their near neighbours, the Solons, have adopted the Dahur complex which includes Buddhistic elements. The nomad Tungus of Transbaikalia, in Mankova and Urulga, use both shamanism and Lamaism which in their complex form together a solid symbiosis. No competition between the two could be observed. The Barguzin Nomad Tungus are in a similar position. The Buriats are responsible for the penetration of Buddhism, which was especially easy with the Tungus groups, such as the Nomad Tungus of Urulga, who gave up their own language and now speak a Buriat dialect. Finally, the groups of Reindeer Tungus of Transbaikalia were in contact with the Buriat Lamaists and were ordinary patients of lamas, particularly in the regions of the Tungus area. These occasions are used for lamaistic propaganda. However, at least apparently in some instances, the lamas may be responsible for a direct encouragement of shamanism. This has been recently observed in Mongolia. The most interesting facts are communicated by G. D. Sanzeev who visited, in 1927, a Mongol group, the Darxats, who live in the northern confines of Mongolia near the Lake Baikal. He reports [549] that the lamas sometimes advise people affected by certain psychomental conditions to become shamans and that the lamas are in contact with these spirits. Further, even a lama may become a shaman, as in the case reported on p. 56. From these instances it follows that Lamaism, as it is now practiced in Mongolia, may stimulate and maintain shamanism, as a complex. However, these cases may be rejected under the pretext that shamanism is not «pure» among the Darxats; but still these facts are interesting for they point to such a possibility at present, and we must admit that in former days it may have been even greater than now.

We can now conclude this section by formulating that Buddhism began its penetration among the populations of the regions herein treated during the first millennium A.D. Ethnical groups were influenced by it in different degrees, the first place in this respect being occupied by the Koreans, the second by the Mongols (the Buriats being excluded), the third by the Manchus and Dahurs, the fourth by the Buriats, the fifth, by the Goldi and Orochi and some Nomad Tungus (including the Solons); the remainder of the Tungus groups, such as the Olca, Birarchen, Kumarchen, Mergen, Khingan, Barguzin and Nerchinsk and the former Semagir of the Lake Baikal (now extinct) were either incidentally visited by Buddhists, or would come themselves into contact with them. I have no direct information regarding the Angara Tungus and the Kalar group, also the Tungus of the Amur prov. except that these groups are in contact with the above indicated Tungus groups and that formerly the Dahurs, and perhaps the Manchus, used to go as far as the northern slopes of the Yablonov mountain range for their regular trade in the confines of the Yakut area, while, as far as I know, the Buriats penetrated into the region of the upper Angara Tungus. Such relations between these groups were maintained since their settlement in the regions of their present habitation, i.e. for some groups for centuries. It is not surprising that the Tungus complexes are saturated with elements borrowed from Buddhism and Lamaism which are revealed in the analysis of spirits and other elements of shamanism.

526. Sir Charles Eliot (Hinduism and Buddhism. A Historical sketch, in three volumes, 1921, London) points out that in 65 A. D. one of the princes (of Chu) was Buddhist and that there were sramanas and upasokas, but Buddhism had actually penetrated still earlier (op. cit. Vol. 3, p. 245).

527. Buddhism was formally introduced in 373 A. D. It should be noted that it was greatly altered as compared with the original form, the moral teaching did not play so great a part as in other ethnical complexes; some new elements were introduced into the architecture; seven stars were joined to the complex (it should be noted that the same seven' stars figure in the Manchu compound complex of Imperial rituals); the practise of Buddhism mostly reflected political events, e. g. alteration of Chinese, Mongol and Japanese influences and the internal strifes were very often connected with subsequent changes in «religious fashions» (cf. Sir Charles Eliot, op. cit. Vol. 3, 336 et seq.).

528. Apparently Buddhism made ist first appearance in Mongolia still earlier. Sir Charles Eliot says (op. cit. Vol. 3, p. 245) «In 121 B. C. the annales relate that a «golden man» was captured from the Hsiung-nu». The «golden man», according to this author, might have been Buddha's image.

529. E. Chavannes et P. Pelliot Un traite manicheen retrouve en Chine, J. As., 1913,Jan.-Feb. P. 193.

530. Cf. e.g. W. Bang's series of Tiirkische Turfantexte, in Sitzungs-berichte der Pressischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1929-1930, Berlin.

531. Cf. Ed. Chavannes Voyages chinois etc., in J. A., 1897, Mai-juin, pp. 377-442 (p. 399).

532. Cf. SONT, p. 84 et seq. It should be noted that the Great Leao state was a composite one, consisting of the direct ancestors of the Dahurs, Kidans, Hi, and a northern Tungus group. Later on some other groups were also incorporated. At the time of the Chinese witness, the Kidans were not yet completely unified with their western neighbous Leao, although they resembled it (cf. Ed. Chavannes, op. cit. p. 405) — «plus a l'est est le Royaume de Leao», and Ed. Chavannes remarks: «I1 est assez singulier de voir mentionne ici un royaume de Leao distinct de l'empire Khitan» (ibid, footnote). Thus, the Kidans conquered their neighbours — the Hi, and the Dahurs conquered the small Northern Tungus state, after which they joined to form the Great Leao, associated by some writers with the name of Kidans. We may say that incidentally it might be associated with the Hi and the Dahurs as well. 533. Cf. op. cit. Histoire de Kin, also La religion.

534. Cf. E. Chavannes, Voyageurs chinois.... etc., in J. As., 1898 maijuin, pp. 361-439.

535. The music was recieved through the intermediary of the Kidans, four orchestras of whom were used at that time at the Imperial Court.

536. »(Le souverain) avait la tete enveloppee d'un bonnet de couleur noire, dont les attaches pendaient par deriere, comme sont aujour'hui les bonnets des religieux bouddhistes» (ibid. p. 432). 537. I.I. Gapanovich, who spent a long time among the Russian and native populations of Kamchatka and the Oxotsk region, told me a very interesting fact of the same kind. The local people in a small settlement had for a long time no chance to bear a holy service in the local church because of the lack of a priest (orthodox). A travelling merchant, who happend to pass there, was asked to perform the holy service and he did it, although it was against the precepts of the Church, and it may be supposed, he was not in agreement with the established practises of the Church, in so far as the service is concerned. One fact more: a political exile on the Saxalin island, a Jew by religion and conviction, was asked to do the same, on the day of the Orthodox Easter, but instead of that he read some passages from the New Testament and by a choice of passages and the expressiveness of his reading he produced a mass emotion manifested in a general weeping (cf. V. Bogoras-Tan, in Etnografia, pp. 270, Year 2, Vol. IV, 1927, Moscow). The above given instances show how a function, usually performed by the minsters of a special religious body may betaken up by laymen. The formation of new sects is very often due to the same conditions. In fact, the Mormonism in America, the Christian Science and other similar movements are of the same order — re-adaptation of a complex in the absence of competent specialists. The adaptation of the theory of evolution by the non-biologists to cultural phenomena is in many respects a process similar to those of the above given instances.

537. Cf. E. Ysebrants Ides, op. cit., where in Manchuria Dahur lamaists near the present city of Cicikar (Tsitsihar) are mentioned.

538. Cf. P. V. Vasiliev, Zapsika o Nadp'is'ax, in Isv. Imp. Ak. N., Vol. IV, No 1, St. Petersburg, 1892. The excavations carried out in different places in Manchuria reveal a great number of elements which may be connected with Buddhism. But as we have no diffect statements of contemporary travellers, and historic records, we need not rummage in archaeological evidences.

539. E. Maack gives a description of temples on the banks of the Amur River. It should be noted that this traveller also observed a Confucian temple near Aigun.

540. It was entitled endurige tachix'an be nejteme badarambuxa bitze, a well known work. Cf. P. G. Mollendorf Essay on Manchu Literature, and other publications on Manchu literature.

541. Cf. his China in her civil and moral conditions Vol. IV, p. 27 (Second edition, 1912. Peking). Hyacinth made the same error as L. Langles and Ch. de Harlez when he identified shamanism with the rituals of the Manchu Imperial family. Yet, he supposed that this complex, when brought to the «nomad Sibirian shaman», had been distorted because of the «ignorance of shamans».

542. The Chinese syncretism was known for a long time, but it was usually interpreted as a kind of aberration of people who were not versed in the true religious systems. B. M. Alexeiev (cf. Notes from the domain of Chinese temple syncretism (in Russian) in Oriental Memoirs (Vostochnye Zapiski) (publ. by the Inst. of Liv. Oriental Languages), Vol. I, 1927, p.283-296, Leningrad) had published a well documented paper on this subject. He has shown that practically all three systems, i.e. Confucianism,Taoism and Buddhism have concurred to satisfy the practical needs of the population. But a great number of local deities were also included in these complexes, slightly differing in the regions of China. These are real ethnographical living complexes, while the philosophers remain confined to their study and nobody considers them. Yet, this is not characteristic of the Chinese alone. The fate of Buddhism in Mongolia, where lamaism incorporated local spirits (cf. A Grunwedel, op. cit.) and adopted them in the complex of the Mongols, differs from that of China only in respect to the number of incorporated elements. The condition may be observed in Christian practices among different ethnical groups of Europe, many of which have incorporated into their complexes the local saints and even sometimes pagan spirits.

543. The Manchu government did not favour such a movement among the Manchu, but it did so in Mongolia, where a great number of people were thereby excluded from marriage and reproduction, i.e. an effect was produced which corresponded to the sim of the Manchus, who strove to reduce the possible danger from a numerous and semi-independent population. Sir Charles Eliot also notes: «still on the whole, Manchu dynasty showed less favour to Buddhism than any which preceeded it» (i.e. the Mings and Yuans) (op. cit. Vol. 3, p. 280).

544. Cf. Sketch of the land tenure in the Amur, in: Bibliote'ka dlja ctenija, 1869, Aug.-Dec. (in Russian).

545. Cf. Travels along the frontiers of Russian Asia (in Russian), St. Petersburg, 1863, pp. 89-90.

546. V. Gluzdovskij Catalogue du musee de la Societe pour l'etude de la Region d I'Amour (in Russian), Vladivostok (Zapiski, Vol. XI, 1907, p. 97).

547. Ibid. p. 96.

548. Cf. V. V. Solarskij, Present legal, etc. p. 149.

549. Cf. G. D. Sanzeev, The Daraxats. Ethnographical Report of a Visit in Mongolia in 1927, Leningrad, 1920.

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