An Appeal From Khenpo Choijamts, Abbot of Gandan Monastery, Ulaan Baatar Mongolia

The following article is from the Spring, 1993 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

This is an appeal to all friends of the Buddha Dharma to help the monasteries of Mongolia in their reconstruction and to preserve and promote the teachings of Buddhism in our ancient land.

Historically, Buddhism spread into Central Asia over the past 2000 years and Mongolia became one of the biggest centers of Buddhism in the entire region from the 16th Century to the 1930's. At one time there were more than 700 temples, shrines and monasteries with more than 100,000 monks. Under the communist regime, and especially during the period of repression in the 1930s, virtually all of the religious institutions were destroyed and the monks and scholars were forced away or killed. The one remaining religious center, Gandan Monastery in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, was preserved as a museum. Since the early 1980s Gandan was also allowed to function as a monastery and 150 mostly aged monks were allowed to perform services.

Because of the process of democratization begun at the end of 1989, religious and spiritual practice has also experienced a revival. There are currendy 136 temples and monasteries throughout Mongolia that are being reconstructed and dozens more being considered. We are experiencing a resuigence in enrollment of monks, who now number about 2000.

Despite these positive developments concerning the rebirth of Buddhism in Mongolia we are lacing tremendous difficulties in insuring continued progress. This is due basically to the dire economic situation that Mongolia is currently experiencing which is particularly acute in the religious community that has virtually no way to earn hard currency. This lack of funds jeopardizes the reconstruction projects underway, threatens the well-being of monks in the remote areas, hinders our ability to bring learned Buddhist monk/scholars for teachings and initiations and prevents us from sending students to India to receive training in Dharma, medicine and astrology.

Because of the overwhelming obstacles in the path of Buddhist revival in Mongolia we have no alternative but to humbly appeal to all friends of the Dharma to contribute to our efforts in whatever way they can. Your generous assitance will be put to the best use possible.

With my deepest appreciation and gratitude,

Khenpo Choijamts

Donations can be sent in care of: DAVID URUBSHUROW, Attorney Trust Account, 1725 K Street NW, Suite 1114, Washington DC 20006. Please indicate Gandan Monastery Fund on all contributions.

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