RELIGION

SHAMANISM 

One of the features of Shamanism that differentiates a Shaman from a lama or a nun, is that Shamans do not have the same definite concepts of good and evil. The broadest Shaman concept is the view that everything consists within a state of two contradictions. The first belongs to their own tribe or clan. The other to those who live outside. This view is to defend the survival of the tribe or clan and protect their natural surroundings. The question if Shamanism is a religion or not has been a point of contention among Shaman researchers the world over. Shamanism doesn't match the conventional description of a religion in the same way as Buddhism, Christianity or Islam etc. It is instead a religious phenomena. Shamanism doesn't fulfil some of the criteria that are seen as essential for an established religious doctrine. Any established religion has its founder, from whom its teaching originate, such as Buddha, Jesus Christ or Allah. But there is no such figure from whom Shamanist doctrine manifested. When Shamanism was originally studied researchers believed it was a global phenomena. But as these studies gradually become more elaborate, academics realized it was actually quite different from other seemingly similar religious phenomena: African sorcery, European witchcraft and native American Indian spiritual practices. The main distinguishing feature of Shamanism is that individual Shamans embark on spiritual journeys outside of their own bodies. In other words, a Shaman is able to communicate with both animate and inanimate bodies , via his or her spirit. People who live in areas where Shamans live and Shamanism is being practiced are heavily influenced by the phenomena. I can give you a direct example. A young family of Tsaatans named Baldish who lived near the Huvsgul lake in a village called Hankhhad never been Shaman pracititioners. The daughter of the family developed a bad year infection. The family visited many doctors who were unable to treat her ailment. Eventually the family saw an old female Shaman in their neighborhood. The Shaman spoke with the family and presented the girl with a two year old reindeer which had been consecrated to Shaman deities and had sacred strips of cloth bound to its antlers. Within days the daughter's disease was completely cured. The Shaman promised to visit the family again. She made an appointment with the parents, who presumed she would be visiting her in person. But on the day of appointment a small , yellow bird sat on the roof of their canvas sheltered sang. An old man who was familiar with the phenomena explained to the family that this was the Shaman, she was displaying her presence to the spirit. The Tsaatan believe this illustrates the part human and part spirit nature of a Shaman.

BUDDHISM
Mongolian Buddhism is often described as a part of Tibetan Buddhism, which is in many ways. However, there are enough distinct features to refer to the practice as Mongolian Buddhism. Mongolians have been Buddhists since the 16th century, when the Mongolian king, Altan Khan, was converted by Tibetan lamas. Mongolians follow Tibetan Buddhist teachings, (also called Lamaism), the body of religious Buddhist doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet and the Himalayan region. It is a school within Tantric Buddhism (also called Vajrayana Buddhism), which in turn is part of the great Mahayana school. In the pre-revolutionary period, Mongolia was ruled by a series of Living Buddhas, or Jebtzun Damba. The eighth, and last, Jebtzun Damba was removed after the communist takeover. Traditionally, monasteries were centers both of learning and of power. It's estimated Mongolia had 100,000 monks, or lamas, in 1921 -- one third of the male population. In the 1930s, this power became the focus of a ruthless series of purges that reached a climax in 1937. Most of the country's monasteries were destroyed, and as many as 17,000 monks were killed. 
Today, Mongolia is once again embracing its Buddhist heritage. Monasteries are being restored, and are once again crowded with worshippers. The Dalai Lama is an enormously popular figure and has visited the country several times. For many Mongolians, the practice of Buddhism is flavored with traces of Shamanism, an even more ancient spirituality. 


OTHER RELIGIONS
Mongolia also has a small Muslim community -- about 6 per cent of the population. These are mostly ethnic Kazakhs living in the far west of the country. The opening-up of the country has led to an influx of Christian missionaries, and this remains a source of some tension and debate among Mongolians.