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Book Review: Reflections of a Mongolian Shaman, by Byampadorj Dondog Shaman

Posted by Ray McLennan on 28 Sep 2017, 13:00:00

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ISBN: 9789937623292 | £16.50 | Paperback | Vajra Books

The day-to-day experience of a traditional Mongolian shaman is about as far removed from your average Western nine-to-fiver as it is possible to imagine. This is just one of the things that makes Reflections of a Mongolian Shaman a singularly fascinating read, both for the student of shamanistic religion and the general reader.

 

 


Title - Reflections of a Mongolian Shaman

Author - Byampadorj Dondog Shaman

ISBN - 9789937623292

Price - £16.50

 

 

 

 

The ‘Dalai Lama’ of Mongolia

Byampadorj Dondog is arguably the most important and internationally recognised face of traditional Mongolian Shamanism today, an ancient religious system facing the dual problems of growing secularism and proselytism from Buddhist preachers from China and Tibet. As an ambassador for traditional Mongolian culture, Dondog has been compared favourably to the work of the Dalai Lama in promoting Tibetan Buddhism. Mongolian Shamanism is, of course, a distinct religion to Buddhism, although the two faiths have become closely interlinked in Mongolia. Shamanism is the religion of the ancient horse nomads of Eastern Asia and the Gobi desert, a spirituality of ancestors, colourful deities and living beings of wood and stone.

Persecution & Revival

During the communist years the Mongolian state was officially and aggressively atheist. Shamans were persecuted, exiled or bullied into silence, and their religion almost died out. Since the early 1990s, when a democratic, liberal state was established in Mongolia, shamanic practitioners have been free to revive their religion.

The author has played a prominent role in this revival, and this book is his story. Tracing a personal biography from his birth in 1947 at the height of the Stalinist regime, the book takes the reader through a profound spiritual awakening in young adulthood, and a gradual rediscovery of a powerful ancestral tradition. Mongolian Shamanism is a unique religious tradition, rooted strongly in the wild open landscapes and nomadic culture of Mongolia. It is wild and free, stressing the interconnectivity of human beings, horses and the landscape itself in a precious symbiotic relationship. It emphasises family ties, personal respect, honour and individual freedom.

An Ancient Religion With A Modern Conscience

Having been influenced by Buddhist thought over many centuries, Mongolian shamanism is a thoughtful and metaphysical religion, but also one grounded in the day-to-day reality of life on the Asian steppes. Byampadorj Dondog’s plea for environmental sustainability, introspection and a mindful existence in nature will resonate strongly with many spiritual seekers in the West, as well as people of Mongolian heritage looking to find out more about their history and culture.

Reflections of a Mongolian Shaman is a good introduction to Mongolian religion, targeted at general readers without assuming previous knowledge. It is a good launching off point to further studies of the religion, and can even be used as prior reading for travellers thinking of visiting Mongolia. Written with humility, clarity and humour, Reflections brings the world of the Mongolian Shaman to life in a way that few other English-language books could hope to do.

Thousands Of Quality Indian & Asian Books At Your Fingertips

Reflections of a Mongolian Shaman is just one of thousands of English language publications published by Indian, Nepalese and other Asian publishers each year. Available in quality binding and written in meticulous English, Asian publishers feature authors who would never otherwise find a voice in the West, including authoritative figures in traditional religious systems across East Asia. Through Motilal books your bookstore can access a huge variety of topics covering the full range of mind body & spirit, comparative religion and East Asian social studies genres.

For more information about our stock, please download our current catalogue. You can also find out more about the benefits of stocking Indian books in our Independent Booksellers Guide to Books From India, which can be downloaded for free by clicking here.

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