Cut off and let go: how the Buryats found a way to live in harmony with themselves

Don't get attached to material things, don't cling to your loved ones, drive evil thoughts, don't ignore your needs, but take only what you need. This is how people live in Buryatia for many centuries


The people who formed in the region of Lake Baikal. Ethnographers believe that the Buryats have Mongolian, Turkic, Tungus and Samoyedic roots. The self-name of the people is Buryaad, the origin of the ethnonym is not fully understood. The national language is Buryat. They practice Buddhism and Shamanism. Currently, they live in Russia (mainly in the Republic of Buryatia, the Trans-Baikal Territory and the Irkutsk Region), Mongolia and China (in the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia). The total number is 550-690 thousand people.

Cut and let go: how the Buryats found a way to live in harmony with yourself

Tatyana Maladayeva

Cut and let go: how the Buryats found a way to live in harmony with herself

She was born in 1972 in the village of Kurumkan in the family of employees of the local sanitary and epidemiological station. She graduated from the Buryat State Pedagogical Institute (now the university) named after. Dorji Banzarova. Studied Tibetan at Sara College of Advanced Tibetan Sciences in India. She studied Buddhist philosophy with the head of the Buddhists of Mongolia, lama Bogdo-gegen IX. Lives in Ulan-Ude, practices Tibetan medicine. Tatyana Maladayeva told the correspondent of “Around the World” about how her ideas about the world have developed.

“Feeding the birds is a blessing, because they are our guardian angels”

One of the most vivid memories of my childhood—how my grandfather fed the birds in the yard. Crows, magpies, pigeons, sparrows, titmouses, even woodpeckers and kites flocked to the house. Grandfather said that feeding the birds is a blessing, because they are our guardian angels. Grandfather was a white old man, in Buryat we call such people sagaan ubegen.

Shamans and darkhans were in my family from my father's side. Darkhan is a blacksmith, in Buryatia there has always been a cult of a blacksmith, it was believed that he forges fate. And my mother's ancestors were llamas, also blacksmiths, but jewelry, worked with precious metals.

There were four children in our family: me, two older sisters and a younger brother. Parents worked all day, and we were taken to grandparents. Grandfather performed healing ceremonies. Fellow villagers came to him with various questions, problems, and he helped to solve them.

The gift of helping people was revealed to him after the war. At the front, a sniper shot him in the back, the wound was very serious. But my grandfather survived and made a full recovery. They said then that it was not otherwise than his angels protected him. Returning after the war to his native Kurumkan, he began to work as a tractor driver and heal people with prayers. It used to happen that a sick person would come to him, his grandfather would listen to him, pray, blow – and the next day the person would return healthy, thanking him. Grandfather never took money for treatment, did not attach any importance to the material.

Fellow villagers often asked grandfather to pray for good weather. Especially in autumn, before hay is harvested: so that it does not get wet, so that the harvest can be harvested in time. He prays, talks to nature, builds a fire, puts some oil into it, and the rain stops. In Soviet times, shamanism was not approved, but no one touched my grandfather. Although my mother's grandfather was shot in 1937 for being a lama. Later rehabilitated.

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“A person who strengthens the spirit from childhood, then no difficulties are terrible”

Cut off and let go: how the Buryats found a way to live in harmony with themselves

Grandfather and grandmother made offerings to the fire. It is believed that fire burns all bad things, removes obstacles. Therefore, we Buryats appease the fire: pour melted butter on it, throw candy or cookies, sprinkle milk. Our dad was a stove-maker: every second stove in Kurumkan was made by his hands.

Grandfather taught us to be strong, tempered. I myself walked barefoot in the snow in 40-degree frost! I was already forced to wash the floors at the age of four. We often got up at five in the morning and went to the Barguzinka river to meet the dawn, make a wish at the springs, which were considered sacred. Since then, I always get up early. Grandfather said that you have to work hard in life.

In Buryatia, a man is traditionally considered the head of the family, but my father died early, and all household difficulties fell on us children. We ourselves chopped wood, mowed hay, took care of sheep, cows, pigs, chickens. Later, during my studies, I constantly had to earn extra money. It was very difficult, but I knew that a person who strengthens the spirit from childhood, from youth, then no difficulties are terrible.

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“Family, for Buryats is sacred”

Cut off and let go: how the Buryats found a way to live in harmony with themselves

Every weekend we gathered with the whole family, dad lit the stove, mom baked bread and buns. And the night before, she put meat in a cast-iron in the oven, and in the morning it was soft, like stew. Family, hearth for the Buryats is sacred.

In honor of the birth of a child, the Buryats erected memorial pillars serge. The tradition dates back to the times of nomadism, when dwellings were temporary. Coming to the pillars of our ancestors, we pray to the spirits – the owners of the area, make wishes. You need to remember who you are, where you are from, who your ancestors are. From them knowledge and wisdom are transferred. And ignorance in Buddhist philosophy is considered one of the three poisons, along with anger and passion.

One flash of anger can cross out all the good things you do in life. In order not to be angry, we apply special Buddhist practices. The highest goal & nbsp; is to achieve the state of the Buddha, complete harmony with oneself and the world.

It is important to distinguish between passion and love. You can and should love your neighbor, your work, your hobbies. But you can not become attached to anything or anyone, want to possess someone or something. For example, we all love Baikal, for us its water is sacred. We call such water arshan. Each Buryat at least once a year must take a bath in Baikal in order to gain strength and energy. But nothing can be taken from the lake with you. Even stones: after all, this is a home for some living creatures. It is important that all living beings feel good.

Cut and let go: how the Buryats found a way to live in harmony with yourself

Arshan is not only Baikal. Not far from my native village, for example, are the Kuchiger thermal springs, their water and mud cure many ailments, especially bone and muscle. Those who are healed often leave their crutches at the springs. It would seem: come, get treated as much as you want! But people began to take away water and dirt with them – in canisters. And the source began to grow shallow. Nature always avenges greed.

Once an interesting incident happened to me: a bird cherry blossomed near our house, and I wanted to pick a branch. Suddenly, as if I hear some kind of inner voice: “Do not tear.” But I didn't listen. I came home – the hand with which I broke the branch turned red and swollen all over. The next day I returned to the tree, asked his forgiveness – everything was gone.

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“Greedy people are reborn into hungry spirits after death”

Excesses are the source of diseases, the main obstacle to achieving harmony and happiness. Greedy people after death are reborn as hungry ghosts. There is such a Buddhist practice – chod. Translated from Tibetan, “chod” means cutting off the ego. A person has many needs, and they should not be ignored. But from the outside world, you need to take only what is really necessary.

It is difficult to live without meat in our harsh climate. Before eating meat, we utter special mantras to purify it so that the slaughtered animal finds a good rebirth – into a larger animal or into a person. For this food to serve our vitality, further development.

Cut off and let go: how the Buryats found a way to live in harmony with themselves

To achieve peace, we practice a special rite – maani khural. This is solitude, leaving the outside world for three days. During such retreats, which are often practiced in datsans, we do not eat anything, sit in a meditation posture and read a mantra that bestows compassion on all living beings. This is a very useful ritual for cleansing the mind and body, increasing awareness. Indeed, in Buddhism, the most important thing & nbsp; is to be compassionate, to bring good.

To do this, a person must be aware of his every step: why he takes it, what consequences it will bring. All your thoughts, words, deeds need to be aware. Drive away bad thoughts, because they attract obstacles and diseases.

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“It is important to know how to help people”

From my school days I was interested in what happens to a person, with his consciousness after death. Buddhism provides the answer to this question. When the first dugan (a small datsan) was opened in our Kurumkan, I went there as an assistant to the lama and worked there for a year. She cleaned lamps, lit incense, met visitors, told them how to behave in the dugan, what mantras to read. I liked that people came out of us with reassurance.

After dugan, I entered the institute, and when I graduated from it, I left to study Buddhist philosophy in India, lived in the residence of Bogdo-gegen IX. Retreats, physical labor, daily yoga classes, hiking in the mountains did their job: I began to realize my destiny.

Cut off and let go: how the Buryats found a way to live in harmony with themselves

It is important to know how to help people. Find the right, wise decisions. Thoughts, words, actions. After all, the body, speech and mind are interconnected. One word can hurt a person, kill. And you can heal.

People who experience various kinds of difficulties often turn to me. Not so long ago, a girl came to practice chod, whose husband died in a car accident. She sobbed for three years, was strongly attached to him. This is passion. I said that if she truly loved him, she should let him go. Because of attachments, we cling to people who have left us. And you just need to wish them happiness with all my heart.

Buryatia, Russia

Population of Ulan-Ude ~ 435,000 people
Area of ​​Buryatia 351,334 km² (15th place in Russia)
Population~ 975,000 people (53rd place)
Population density 2.8 people/km²

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