Born in the body of beasts. Animals and the social order in didactic Buddhist literature of Buryat-Mongols (XIX- beg. XX century)

Keywords: animals, social order, environment, Buryat-Mongols, Buddhism

Abstract

This paper engages with current discussions concerning the ways in which human cultures construct the sphere labelled as “social” against that of the broadly defined environment. I contribute to these discussions with an analysis of the didactic Buddhist literature of Buryat-Mongols (19th–beg. 20th century), focusing on the image of non-human animals and their position in the social/universal order. With the emergence of environmentalist trends in the humanities, pre-modern/“non-Western” inter-species relationships have often served as counter-alternatives to the problematic “Western” nature-culture dichotomy. While expecting to see the human being described as a part of “nature” in the analyzed texts, I found a different picture: the anthropocentric social sphere is clearly distinguished from animals, and in some fragments, the idioms used with regard to animals are reminiscent of European evolutionist discourse. Through an exhaustive analysis of Buryat attitudes towards animals is beyond the scope of this study, this literature gives insight into a particular cultural discourse as represented in reputed sources of the period. 

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Badmaev, Andrey. 2008. “Bear cult relics of the Buriatian culture.” Bulletin of the Hokkaido University Museum 4.

Bartsow, Geoffrey. 2019. “On the moral standing of animals in Tibetan Buddhism.” Études mongoles et sibériennes, centrasiatiques et tibétaines 50. http://journals.openedition.org/emscat/3865 (accessed 29.03.2020).

Belyaeva-Sachuk, Veronika. 2020. “Zhivotnye v traditsionnoi kul’ture okinskikh buryat i soyotov. Istochnik pishchi, rabotnik, drug ili sakral’noe sushchestvo?” Kunstkamera 1 (7). http://journal.kunstkamera.ru/archive/2020_01/belyaevasachuk_v_a_zhivotnye_v_tradicionnoj_kulture_okinskih_buryat_i_sojotov_istochnik_piwi_rabotnik_drug_ili_sakralnoe_suwestv (accessed 30.03.2020).

Chimitdorzhiev, Shirab, and Taras Mikhailov eds. 1994.Vydaiushchiesia buryatskie deiateli. Ulan-Ude: Belig.

Dashiev, Dandar. 1997. Buryatskaia didakticheskaia literatura: problem zhanrovogo sostava, PhD diss., Ulan Ude. http://cheloveknauka.com/buryatskaya-didakticheskaya-literatura-problemy-zhanrovogo-sostava#ixzz66C7plqLA (accessed 10.03.2020).

Descola, Philippe. 2013. Beyond Nature and Culture. University of Chicago Press.

Dondokova, Natalia. 2008. Zoosemicheskie frazeologizmy buriatskogo iazyka: struktura, semantika, funktsii, PhD diss., Ulan-Ude.

Dorzhigushaeva, Oyuna. 2002. Ekologicheskaia etika buddizma, Saint-Petersburg: Karma Yeshe Paldron.

Hobbes, Thomas. 1994. Leviathan. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company.

Humphrey, Caroline. 2016. “Placing self amid others: a Mongolian technique of comparison.” L’Homme. Revue française d’anthropologie 218, 151–181.

Humphrey, Caroline, and Ujeed, Hürelbaatar. 2013. A Monastery in Time: The Making of Mongolian Buddhism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Kara, Györgi. 1972. Knigi mongol’skikh kochevnikov. Moscow: Nauka.

Khurelbaatar. 1987. “Sviazi indijskoi, tibetskoi i mongolskoi didakticheskoi poezii.” In Aktualnye problemy sovremiennogo mongolovedenia, edited by S. Luvsanvandan, 287–292, Ulaanbaatar: Gosizdat.

Kollmar-Paulenz, Karénina. 2001. Erdeni tunumal neretü sudur. Die Biographie des Altan qaγan der Tümed-Mongolen. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der religionspolitischen Beziehungen zwischen der Mongolei und Tibet im ausgehenden 16. Jahrhundert. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.

Kollmar-Paulenz, Karénina. 2010. “Teaching the Dharma in pictures: illustrated Mongolian books of the Ernst Collection in Switzerland”. In The Arts of Tibetan Painting Recent Research on Manuscripts, Murals and Thangkas of Tibet, the Himalayas and Mongolia (11th–19th century). edited by Amy Heller https://www.asianart.com/articles/paulenz/index.html (accessed 05.03.2020).

Kollmar-Paulenz, Karénina. 2014. “Systematically ordering the world: the encounter of Buriyad-Mongolian, Tibetan and Russian knowledge cultures in the 19th century.” Etudes de lettres 2–3, 123–146.

Kollmar-Paulenz, Karénina. 2017. “The Fear of being reborn in the hells: death and the afterlife in early twentieth-century Mongolia.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 167 (1), 167–191.

Latour, Bruno. 1993. We Have Never Been Modern. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf.

Latour, Bruno. 2005. Reassembling the Social: an Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Luhmann, Niklas. 1981. “Wie ist soziale Ordnung möglich?.” In Gesellschaftsstruktur und Semantik. Studien zur Wissenssoziologie der modernen Gesellschaft, vol. 2. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 195–285.

Molly H. Mullin. 1999. “Mirrors and windows: sociocultural studies of human-animal relationships.” Annual Review of Anthropology 28, 201–224.

Morokhoeva, Zoya. 1994. Lichnost’ v kulturakh Vostoka i Zapada.Novosibirsk: Nauka.

Muzraeva, Delyash. 2013. Tibeto-Mongolskaia povestvovatel’naia literatura XVII–XVIII vv. (Perevodnye pis’miennye pamyatniki na mongol’skom i oiratskom iazykakh). Elista: Dzhangar.

Pedersen, A. Morten. 2001. “Totemism, animism and North Asian indigenous ontologies.” The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 7(3), 411–427.

Sazykin, Aleksei. 2004. Videniia Buddiiskogo Ada. Predislovie, perevod, transliteratsyia, primechaniia i glossarii. Saint-Petersburg: Nartang.

Tangad, Oyungerel. 2013. Scheda po Czyngis Chanie: demokracja po mongolsku. Warsaw: Trio.

Tangad, Oyungerel. 2016a. “Kategorie tradycyjnej moralności w życiu społecznym współczesnych Mongołów.” Zeszyty Etnologii Wrocławskiej 2(25), 111–127.

Tangad, Oyungerel. 2016b. “Nieuchwytna, relatywna wszechobecność – o kategoriach moralności w kulturze mongolskiej.” Etnografia Polska LX, 129–147.

Tsydenzhapov, Shirab-Nimbu. 1990. Frazeologizmy staropis’mennogo mongol’skogo iazyka. Ulan-Ude: Buriatskoe knizhnoe izdatel’stvo.

Tsyrempilov, Nikolai. 2013. Buddizm i imperiia.Ulan-Ude: Buryaad-Mongol nom.

Waldau, Paul. 2002. The Specter of Speciesism: Buddhist and Christian Views of Animals. New York: Oxford University Press.

White, Thomas, and Candea, Matei. 2018. “Animals.” In The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Anthropology, edited by F. Stein, S. Lazar, M. Candea, H. Diemberger, J. Robbins, A. Sanchez and R. Stasch https://www.anthroencyclopedia.com/entry/animals (accessed 09.03.2020).

Wilson, Jeff. 2010. Samsāra and Rebirth, in Buddhism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Yakhontova, Natalia. 2019. “Tibetsko-mongol’skaia rukopis’ tematicheskogo slovaria iz sobraniia IVR RAN.” In Kul’turnoe nasledie mongolov: kollekcii rukopisei i arkhivnykh dokumentov. Sbornik dokladov III mezhdunarodnoi nauchnoi konferencii. 20‒22 aprelia 2017 g., edited by S. Chuluun, 230–245, Saint-Petersburg – Ulaanbaatar 230–245. http://www.orientalstudies.ru/rus/images/pdf/add1/b_chuluun_ed_2019_23_yakhontova.pdf (accessed 09.03.2020).

Yermakova, Tatiana, and Yelena Ostrovskaya. 2004. Klassicheskii Buddizm. Saint-Petersburg: Azbuka klassika, Peterburgskoe Vostokoviedienie.

Yumsunov, Vandan. 1935. “Qori-jin arban nigen ečige-jin ǯon-u uɣ iǯaɣur-un tuɣuǯi.” In Letopisi khorinskikh buryat, edited by N. Poppe, 53–172, Leningrad: Izdatel’stvo akademii nauk SSSR.

Published
2020-12-18
How to Cite
Zhanaev, A. (2020). Born in the body of beasts. Animals and the social order in didactic Buddhist literature of Buryat-Mongols (XIX- beg. XX century) . Ethnologia Polona, 41. https://doi.org/10.23858/ethp.2020.41.2012