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Pi Shashin (Mongolian: Пи Шашин) is an ethnic religion primarily practised in the Töv Province of central Mongolia, with adherents estimated at between five hundred and a thousand individuals. The faith is believed to have roots in Tengriism and shamanism, with later influences from Tibetan Buddhism. The earliest references to Pi Shashin as a separate faith have been traced back to the late thirteenth century but most of what is known about the religion was recorded in the early twentieth century by Danish anthropologist and explorer Henning Haslund-Christensen. The sect was largely driven underground during Socialist rule over Mongolia during the 20th century but since democratisation in the 1990s has experienced a resurgence. 

History

Pi Shashin traditionally claims Genghis Khan as its founder, although there is little historical evidence to support this. The earliest attested records of its existence are in the mid-fourteenth century, reaching a peak by the early fifteenth century. After this though it appears the religion went into a decline, with sparse mentions throughout the next few centuries. Despite this and suppression during the twentieth century, a small number of Pi Shashin followers can be found in Mongolia today.


Beliefs

The followers of Pi Shashin believe in one supreme god, analogous to Tengri, who is usually referred as 'Pi'. Pi is variously depicted as an orb, or a sun-like figure, and can also manifest as eight different minor deities. Pi is believed to have created the Earth some time in the distant past, along with another plane of existence described as the 'red world' where spirits dwell. Beliefs on the afterlife are vague but it is implied that most humans after death will be reincarnated, with an exceptional few instead reincarnated on a higher plane with the deities. As it is believed that risen spirits can return to Earth at will and intercede with mortal affairs, Pi Shashin puts a high amount of emphasis on ancestor worship.

Sources

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