Astrology, Liturgy and Practice

Due to its geographical isolation and remoteness from other Buddhist centres such as Tibet and Mongolia, Buddhism in Kalmykia has developed rituals that are either less prominent or unknown among other Mongolian groups. The cult of Tsagan Aav (White Old Man) is one of them. Elevated to the status of a national god, Tsagan Aav in Kalmykia is a powerful deity that both protects Kalmyk clans and individuals. Not only can his image be seen on domestic altars next to the Buddha Shakyamuni, but his name is mentioned in almost all prayers that Kalmyks recite during clan rituals and national celebrations such as Zul, Tsagan Sar and Ur(s) Sar. Among sacred days of each month, when people observe fasting (matsg), the day of honoring Tsagan Aav holds a special place. Apart from rituals, Kalmyks have also developed a unique astrological system of calculating Buddhist celebrations and astrological signs called meng which are based on Tibetan Buddhist astrology.

On this page, you can see videos about astrology, predictions, liturgy, prayers, sacred texts, rituals, and daily practices carried out by clergy and the laity alike.

Alexandr Nasakaev, About Religion

Alexandr says that in Kalmykia people practise both Buddhism and pre-Buddhist beliefs, including a belief in the eternal sky (tengrianstvo) and shamanism. People should accept religion consciously through their life experiences and analytical thinking rather than being guided by emotions alone. He himself received a Buddhist blessing from two lamas, Palden Sherab Rinpoche and Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche, and became a Buddhist. This does not stop him, however, from going to traditional healers who practise non-Buddhist beliefs.

Alexandr emphasises the importance of observing basic moral principles such as not stealing, not cheating, respecting one’s parents, etc. for these principles bring peace and harmony to one’s family and soul. He also talks about the role of women in the family, including the upbringing of children.


Badma Ochirova, About a Man Who Could Control the Weather


Bosya Ochirova, Omens and Astrology


Lidzhi Amikov, About Karma


Maria Lidzhigoryaeva, Religion: Practitioners, Rituals and Beliefs


Purvya Volod'kina, Aldkhl Zyarlg


Sanal Lidzhiev, About the Two Statues of My Clan


Sanan Matvenov, About Matsg Odr and Mantras