Buddhism in the State of Xianbei

State of Xianbei

Buddhism in Mongolia (2-4 Centuries AD)

From: Buddhism in Mongolia (Historical Survey), Ulaanbaatar 1981
By: Section of Studies of Gandantegchenlin Monastery

The Hun state was succeeded by the state of Xianbei (Hsien-pi) of Mongol origin. Mujung (282-333 AD), the head of the Hsien-pi state, issued an edict saying, “we shall pile up good luck and accumulate goodness by meritorious deeds”.

In the 3-4 Centuries Buddhism also spread to some extent in the state of Tughuhun which was formed in the area of Khukhe Nur. Tughuhun was the son of Mujung. In 514, a five-story stupa was erected in the Tughuhun area. Some of the kings of Tughuhun were given Buddhist names. For instance, name of King Fofu (530-534) seems to be the translation of a religious name meaning “supporter of the Buddha”. The Tughuhuns maintained broad economic relations with the Turkestan countries and Lou-Lan existed on the territory of Mongolia.

One of the centres of Buddhism was the Toba’s Wei Dynasty (386-535) of Hsien-pi origin which existed in the Southern part of Inner Mongolia. Tao-Wu-ti or Tobaku (386-409), the first emperor of the Wei Dynasty, by his decree of 398-399 supported the dissemination of the Buddhist religion and he himself read books on the Buddhist teaching and sutras. During that period, a five-story stupa was built. At the time of the Wei Dynasty 12 shramas (monks) translated 83 Buddhist books and sutras and some foreign monks also translated books and sent them to the Turkestan countries, Indian monks visited rulers of the Toba Dynasty and translated religious books. Many relics of the Toba Buddhist religion and art objects have been preserved in the Tunhuang cave.