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Buddhadharma : Summer 2019
116 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY or sojourns in what is now the city of Bei jing. The famous lama Phagspa was both an imperial tutor and an important advi sor; largely in his honor, the Yuan made Tibetan Buddhism the state religion, privi leging the Sakya sect. During the Ming (1368–1644), Tibetan Buddhist clerics remained in Beijing and continued to serve reduced populations of Mongol and Chinese adherents. The Ming government, believing that Bud dhism would make the Mongols trac table, printed Buddhists materials and distributed them throughout Mongolia, though factional struggles related to the emergence of Gelukpa blunted the force of Tibetan Buddhist teaching there. The Northern Yuan state retained an imperial tutor from the Sakya school, and a century later, rival Mongol political leaders had all adopted the practice of keeping Tibetan Buddhist teachers and advisors in promi nent positions. But the great event was the 1587 triumph of Gelukpa when the east ern Mongol ruler, Altan Khaghan of the Tumets, recognized the spiritual lineage of the Dalai Lamas and invited the third (but first known) Dalai Lama to be his more orless permanent guest at what is now Huhhot, Inner Mongolia. This marked the end of the first phase of a long process by which Buddhism—and Tibetan Buddhism in particular—diminished the influence of shamanism among Mongol commoners, slowly coming to coexist with it in the court and lineage rituals of the rulers. After institutionalization of the Dalai Lama, the consolidation of Tibetan Bud dhism with the elite culture of Mongolia was firm. The last great imperial Mon gol ruler, Ligdan (1604–1634), relied upon Gelukpa hierarchs not only as per sonal teachers and advisors but also as bureaucrats and historians. It was probably at Ligdan’s court that a specific form of tan tric practice related to Mahakala allowed transmission to living rulers of the con sciousness of past cakravartin—the king moving time forward, and humans toward enlightenment, often through conquest. The Qing empire emerged from a politi cal environment in Manchuria in which, thanks to the influence of the Mongols, Tibetan Buddhism was likely the court religion of all aspiring rulers. A monk representing Tibetan Buddhism seems to have been present at the investiture of the Qing founder at his new capital in 1621. After a war against Ligdan that ended the Mongol regime, the Qing ruler Hung Taiji transported to his capital in Manchuria the implements and liturgical materials of his Mahakala cult. Tibetan Buddhism became particularly important to the Qianlong emperor (1736–1795), who liked to repre sent himself as the object of the Mahakala and Manjushri cults. This trend was related to, but also dis tinct from, the governing of Tibet and its relationship to the governing of China. Mongol aristocrats had established a partnership with the Sakya sect before the conquest of China was complete, and after establishment of the Yuan empire, Kublai Khan had permitted Phagspa to act as virtual governor of Tibet. The Yuan empire gave Tibet a unique designation as a “reporting” province, a reference to the special chain of officials and interpret ers who managed questions such as trib ute and official travel of Sakya leaders to China. Ming leadership had essentially continued this practice, doing what they could to spread Buddhism throughout Mongolia while permitting Tibetan monks to reside in Beijing.