'Clandestine Buddhism' in Soviet Kalmykia (1958 to 1988) and Its Role in the Post-Soviet Buddhist Revival


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


the Mongolia & Inner Asia Studies Unit, University of Cambridge


The project investigates the underground Buddhist activity in Kalmykia between the late 1950s and late 1980s, the period when Buddhism was strictly forbidden there by the Soviet state. Through a study of archival materials, newspapers and periodicals, and interviews, the research involves documenting the lives and religious activities of Kalmyk Buddhist monks who survived the repression and around whom unofficial centres of Buddhist practice were formed during this period, while also exploring their continued role in the post-Soviet restoration of Kalmyk Buddhist institutes and revival of Kalmyk ethnic and religious identity. This study expands our knowledge about lineages of Kalmyk Buddhists and consequently about the present situation of Buddhism in Kalmykia.