Modern Buryat Buddhist Pilgrims to Tibet

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The Buryats are one of the three ethnic groups in Russia who profess Tibetan Buddhism. Tibet has been perceived as the center of Buddhism for the Buryats since the seventeenth century and consequently served as a place of intense pilgrimage. In this article, we characterize the modern Buryat pilgrimage to Tibet and outline its peculiarities. We show that the pilgrimage of the Buryats to the sacred places of Tibet is an interesting path that carries different contexts. The revived Buryat pilgrimage to Tibet in the post–Soviet era has qualitatively new characteristics. A complex fusion of ideas about Tibet based on its rich history, the cultural and religious environment, academic and religious literature, and Hollywood films impacts the travels of modern Buryat pilgrims. In general terms, it is possible to claim that the enthusiasm and goals with which the Buryat pilgrims come to Tibet are either partially or completely satisfied and, in some cases, exceed the initial expectations. At the same time, its location within the Chinese environment plays a special role in the perception of Tibet. Thus, the Buryat pilgrimage to Tibet goes beyond the personal spiritual path and is a journey that affects many contexts that are reflected, strengthened, or destroyed in the process of a journey.