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Mongolian Buddhism

The text itself is in Tibetan, which was the liturgical language of Mongolian Buddhism. Similar to Tibetan traditional books, this manuscript consists of unbound, oblong leaves of paper written on both sides. Also following tradition, the book is wrapped in a silk cloth with strings tying it up into a tight bundle. The hand-made paper was likely imported, the inks and dyes used for the manuscript were most likely hand-made locally, and it was probably copied by a professional monk-scribe. While it was copied sometime in the 1800s, the information in the text is likely to be many centuries old. Most Mongolians are followers of Buddhism, a religion which originated inIndia and came to Central Asia via the Silk Road in the 3rd century CE and from Tibet and China during the era of the Mongolian Emperor of the Yuan dynasty, Kublai Khan in the 13th century. Because of this, Mongolian astronomy and divination were heavily influenced by Indian, Tibetan, and Chinese traditions. The many colorful charts in this manuscript were based on astrological texts imported to Mongolia from Tibet in the late 1700s. Much of this philosophy was laid down and taught in Tibet and Mongolia by Sumpa Khenpo Yeshe Peljor (1703–1788), a Mongol Buddhist monk and master of
both astrology and medicine from Amdo, one of the traditional regions of Northern Tibet near modern-day Mongolia. In 1789 a school for the study and practice of astrology based on his teachings was established in Urga, modern-day Ulan Bator, which is today the capital of Mongolia.

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