Gaden Relief Projects

Helping Tibetans preserve their unique culture.


Mongolia Report
October 24, 2003

By Zasep Tulku Rinpoche

Dear friends,

Matthew [Richards] and I had wonderful visit in Mongolia. We had good time. It was too short but I would like to go to Mongolia again in the near future for sure. I am thinking of doing pilgrimage to different monasteries in Mongolia and we could ride horse and camels in the Gobi. I like Mongolian people, their cultural and the land of millions of horses and yurts in the steppe. I would say if you want go to another country very much like Tibet that is Mongolia. Tibetan Buddhism and culture is very much alive in Mongolia. Mongolians very proud of their past and present and they are hopeful, and most Mongolians love Tibetan Buddhism.

We enjoyed meeting with my old friend Jetsun Pakshe Losang Tenzin Rinpoche who is 96, still strong and rebuilding Gelug nunnery and monasteries. We traveled to Amarbayasgalant (Amar-bayas-galant) monastery, 120 km south of Russian Siberian border.

There are 60 young monks and a beautiful young reincarnated Rinpoche named Tsawa Tamden Rinpoche who speaks fluent Tibetan and English. This Rinpoche is the first Hutuktuk (Tulku) formally recognized in Mongolia since Russian communist banned this tradition in 1939. Most of the young monks at Amarbayasgalant are teenage boys and they are studying Dharma very hard. Great Geshe Thupten who lives in Switzerland travels to Mongolia every summer to teach these boys for three months. Geshela did 12 years' retreat above Dharamasala under the direction of Geshe Rabten. My friend, Jetsun Rinpoche, has done lots of restoration for these monasteries and is helping poor and homeless Mongols. I am not sure how long Jetsun Rinpoche will be on this earth; he is 96 and he told me, “See you in Tsongkhapa’s pure land,” when we left Ulaan Bataar.

Historically and traditionally this monastery is very important for the Mongolia. Amarbayasgalant was built in 1736 by the Manchurian Khan and Emperor and was offered to First Kalkha Jetsun Dampa, the great one Zanabazar (Jahana Vajra in Sanskrit). I feel this monastery is very important one for the future of Buddha, Dharma, Sangha and root and foundation of pure Je Tsongkhapa’s tradition in Mongolia. One of the beauties of this monastery: it is specially located, very remote, far away from towns and cities and distractions of modern civilization, an ideal location for monastery. Amarbayasgalant is like Tashi Lhapug monastery in Tibet; far away from everyone except big mountains and nature. Tibetans believe that good monks are produced from the monastery that is located in a remote place far away from worldly temptations.

This monastery needs a water line or good wheel and pump system and other things, like donations for vitamins, medicine and clothings for the boys. Mongolians suffer summer heat from the Gobi desert, winter cold wind from Siberia. I would imagine the boys must be very cold and hungry in the winter; they sleep in the yurts, not much comfort. They eat noodles, mutton and drink horse milk.

I would like to ask Gaden Relief Projects to help Amarbayasgalant monastery. There is no problem sending money and goods to Mongolia. This monastery has city centre in Ulaan Bataar and I have its email address, phone number and bank account number. Mongols are very organized, moving fast forward. Amarbayasgalant city centre is raising money to buy yurts for single mothers and homeless people. They organize free English class and free Dharma class in English and Tibetan for young Mongols. They need Dharma books in English. I think we could get used books and vitamins to send to the centre in Ulaan Bataar.

I had good visit in Australia but it was sad. As you know Gerard Allan is dying. Gerard is real Bodhisattva. He cares for everyone; he always thinks about others. He has done so much for the Dharma and helped so many people ever since I met him 28 years ago. Gerard and Maxine started Sera Jhe health care Centre at Sera monastery 20 years ago. Gerard is peaceful, so much love, and forgiving and understanding, no fear, no confusion and no blames, accepting and letting go everything and his faith to Dharma is so strong, and he is good example for everyone. Gerard is great Dharma practitioner; he is going into clear light and bliss soon. I am very proud of Gerard and his wife Maxine and their two daughters, Sujhata and Jhana.

That is all for now

Zasep Rinpoche