Buddhism in the Life of Ulaanbaatar: Nucleus, Trace and Bustling Urbanite

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This article explores the interactions between Buddhist institutions and the changing physicality of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city, over the last one hundred years. Whilst Buddhism was key to the foundation of the city, in the present day period it has become increasingly obscured by the instantiations of capitalism in what has become a busy and congested city. Once central metonymically and physically, Buddhist temples are now crowded in the urban sphere, creating logistical difficulties for the for training and retaining of Buddhist religious specialists. Due to the physical constraints within the city, Buddhist lamas are generally unable to live on temple grounds. They, like other urbanites, live as other people do, paying for their own food, accommodation and other daily needs. This paper pays attention to how urban developments within the city have contributed to the continued blurring of boundaries between religious specialists and the laity, examining how the challenges for contemporary Buddhist institutions reflect, and are reflected, in the changing capital.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReligion and Urbanity Online
Publication statusPublished - 2022

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - Mongolian Buddhism, socialism, capitalism, urban space, fiscal imperatives, Ulaanbaatar

ID: 285378095