Uighurs were the first nomads to give up the shamanistic worship of Heaven and convert to Islam, perceived as the religious of the civilized world. From the time of the Huns up to the end of the Mongol era, central Asia was one of the vital political centers of the world, and so for two millennia, different religions have tried to penetrate the area.
Throughout history, nomads have been distinguished for their tolerance of all religions. But none of them prior to the Uighurs had ever abandoned the worship of the Blue Sky. It was in the heart of Central Asia among these people that Manichaeism, a religion denounced as heresy by both Islam and Christianity, found it’s followers.
Another important religion that reached the Central Asian nomads after Manichaeism, was the Christian sect of Nestorianism. During the 7 th century, Buddhism developed amongst the nomads. Nomads and the Kara Khitans especially played a major role in the spreading of Buddhism in central Asia.
The Hinayana, one of the two major branches of Buddhism, spread through Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia while the Mahayana brought Tibetan Buddhism to Tibet, Mongolia, and Bhutan and was practiced by the Tuvan, Kalmyk and Buriad people.