Presenting the art and culture of Mongolia and the greater Himalayan region:
Cultural Studies

Lecture Series "Orna" Uranchimeg Tsultem
Orna, a native of Mongolia and a Ph.D. candidate at the UC Berkeley Department of Art History, has gained a new understanding of Mongolian spiritual life. She is also an accomplished art historian, who is presently writing a dissertation on Zanabazar...[more]

TMMS Lecture Series — Glenn H. Mullin
Glenn lived in the Indian Himalayas between 1972 and 1984, where he studied philosophy, literature, meditation, yoga, and the enlightenment culture under thirty-five of the great living masters from the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He is presently based in Mongolia, but offers a regular U.S. lecture tour, during the winter months. Last year, his visit to the DC area was met with great enthusiasm and we are delighted to extend again, this wonderful opportunity. Those who wish to participate may do so for one event, or for all three offering a week beginning with good spirits and new mindfulness...[more]

The Dalai Lama's Speech — The Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony
It is a great honor for me to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. This recognition will bring tremendous joy and encouragement to the Tibetan people, for whom I have a special responsibility. Their welfare is my constant motivation and I always consider myself as their free spokesperson. I believe that this award also sends a powerful message to those many individuals who are dedicated to promoting peace, understanding and harmony...[more]

An Interview with Natsag "GanNa" Gankhuyag, Artist
GanNa's list of accomplishments include his tenure with the groups "Tumen Erkh" and "Temuzhin Monkh," as well as with the National Folk, Song and Dance Ensemble of Mongolia, but he is best known for his creation of the "five meter high" Buddha statue in the temple "Gunzeshoinei" in St Petersburg, shown to the right, and his 10 year effort to return to the world "Khuree Tsam-108" collection of 108 traditional Mongolian masks and costumes...[more]

Mongolian Tsam (One, Two, Three)
Tsam is one of the Buddhist rituals and its origination and development are inevitably connected with Buddhist devotees and nations. A research recorded that there was a performance of Jakhar tsam in 775, which aimed at subduing local nagas and lords of the land while Guru Rinpoche, a founder of Samya monastery of Tibet and great Niyngma tantric master was visiting India. Some research paper mention that the first tsam was performed in Tibet in 811 which leads to a conclusion that there is a need to further this fact...[more]

Destination, Shambhala: The Making of Paradise — DocuVideo
It's about a nine to ten hour train ride from the capital city to the Sainshand train station. While the distance is 285 miles, timing is more a factor of speed than expanse. The Russian made, 1940's vintage locomotive, lumbers comfortably at the not so blazing average speed of 30 miles per hour. But, no one working for the railroad will offer an apology, rather they may tell you that in the past 10 years, there has been only one accident of record, and safety after all, is their greatest concern...[more]

Lama of the Gobi: The Life and Times of Danzan Rabjaa, Mongolia's Greatest Mystical Poet
Danzan Rabjaa (1803-1856), officially known as the Fifth Noyon Incarnate Lama of the Gobi, is perhaps Mongolia's most beloved saint. The Fourth has made so many scandals, including the murder of a member of the Chinese royal family, that the Manchu Emperor banned his reincarnation. Consequently when young Rabjaa was enthroned as the Fifth, he was officially given an alternate title to hide his true identity. Previous to his identification and Buddhist education, the boy Rabjaa had been the child of a wandering minstrel and it was from his father that Rabjaa learned the gift of song and poetry. As he grew up his talent for verse was evident and by his early 20s he was creating epic poems and short stories. He would eventually pen over 300 poems, including the well-known "Shame-Shame," a critical attack on the immorality he witnessed in his society...[more]

History in the Making
In every culture and every tradition man uses architecture to make statements about what is important to them. In the West our landscape is dominated by symbols of power and competition. We are impacted with the importance of commerce in the form of towering skyscrapers and vast shopping malls. The glory of our secular religion, sport, is trumpeted by our massive sports stadiums. And the individualism of our lifestyles is demonstrated by the suburban sprawl. In a very real sense our view of reality is formed by what we see around us. This is why Buddhist teachers tell us the West needs more holy objects...[more]

The World Wide Wallpaper (WWW) Project — In Appreciation of Buddhist Art & Culture
A place where people can freely share their images of the Buddhist culture around the world. Images can be downloaded as wallpapers for your dekstop...[more]

Shambhala Rising
Around 1000 years ago, an extraordinary spiritual composition called the Kalachakra Tantra appeared in northern India. Its mysterious origin, profound practice system and dire prophecies would deeply impact the Buddhist world across Central Asia up to and including an obscure, sandswept corner of Mongolia's eastern Gobi desert. There in 1853, at his seat in Khamar Monastery, a tremendously charismatic lama named Danzan Ravjaa, the 5th Wrathful Dharma Lord of the Gobi, called his disciples together. Sharing with them his meditative insight and disturbing visions of the future, including the premonition of his impending early death, he declared the necessity for swift construction of a temple and stupa complex symbolic of the mystical land where the Kalachakra had once been secretly preserved: Shambhala...[more]

The Lion Throne
Lama Purevbat has been making the utmost efforts for the revival of cultural identity and self-affirmation of Mongolians, which they lost during the last seven decades of communist rule. He established the Mongolian Institute of Buddhist Art in 1993 and later, the Mongolian Traditional Are and Cultural Centre in order to educate young Mongolians, and to foster the traditional artistic culture...[more]

The Mahakala Tantra — The Main Guardian of the Karma Kagyu Tradition
The research comprised now of more than 55 texts of the Kagyu and Nyingma schools (mainly Tibetan and some English secondary literature); a huge mass of texts from the bstan 'gyur thus probably of Indian origin (this including two Sanskrit texts, one with 11 manuscript versions in Newari script and one smaller similar one) and more than 250 photographs, yet remarkably the iconography is still incomplete...[more]

An interview with Glenn H. Mullin, Tibetologist
Glenn lived in the Indian Himalayas between 1972 and 1984, where he studied philosophy, literature, meditation, yoga, and the enlightenment culture under thirty-five of the greatest living masters of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. His two principal tantric gurus were the late great masters Kyabje Ling Dorjechang and Kyabje Trijang Dorjechang, who were best known as Yongdzin Che Chung, the two main gurus of the present Dalai Lama. The list of Glenn’s other teachers and initiation masters includes the Dalai Lama, Sakya Trizin Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche, Ngakpa Yeshe Dorje Rinpoche, Tai Situ Rinpoche, Khenchen Konchok Gyaltsen, Geshe Ngawang Dargyey, Geshey Rabten, and Gongsar Tulku...[more]

Mujaan (The Craftsman) is a vivid window to a way of life in Mongolia, featuring the traditional construction of a ger and includes insights into Mongolian life, culture, music and food...[more]

"Treasures in the Sand" © — The Legacy of Danzan Ravjaa
While all of us affect our worlds to one degree or another, in any given generation rise figures who ultimately tower above the rest, and whose force of charisma and visionary activity inalterably shift the entire flow of their culture. Their legacy permeates the imaginations of their people long after they have physically passed from this world, to the point where their memory shades into myth. Though little known in the West, in early 19th c. Mongolia one light blazed brightest of all – Danzan Ravjaa. Poet, dramatist, painter, songsmith, healer, museum curator, educator, architect, scholar, raconteur and Tantric Buddhist master, this renaissance lama continues to inspire Mongols everywhere, but especially the people of the Gobi Desert...[more]

Buddha's Painter [Buddhas Maler] — The Renaissance of Mongolian Art
Presented at Globians Film Festival 2005: After seventy years of darkness, the phoenix of Mongolian Buddhist art is again striking its wings in the form of Master Artist Purevbat and his disciples...[more]

Buddhism in Mongolia After 1990
When communist rule in Mongolia broke down, the country looked back at the ultimately fruitless attempt to erase all religion from the Mongolian landscape, the indigenous religion as well as Buddhism. During the 1930s nearly all the monasteries and temples were destroyed or secularized; the monks were either killed or forced to marry. Laymen and monks succeeded in hiding some of the religious books and cult objects from the government and its catchpole, but most of the Buddhist literature and religious objects were destroyed during the years of the communist purges ...[more]

The Life of Zanabazar -- Chapter 1: Altan Khan and the Dalai Lama
The great empire founded by Chingis Khan was basically a family enterprise, and like many family enterprises it did not survive the third generation. After Chingis's death in 1227 the empire remained united under Ögedai, Chingis's second son and successor, who ruled from 1228 to 1241, then under his son Güyük (r.1246-48), and finally under Möngke, son of Ögedai's youngest brother Tolui. Upon Möngke's death in 1259 a war of succession broke out in Mongolia between Möngke's two younger brothers-Chingis's grandsons-Khubilai and Ariq Böke...[more]

The Life of Zanabazar -- Chapter 2: Avtai Khan Introduces Buddhism into Mongolia
At some point in the late 1570s word filtered back to Mongolia that Altan Khan had met with Sonam Gyatso near Khökh Nuur and that the Tümed Mongols had converted to Buddhism...[more]

The Life of Zanabazar -- Chapter 3: The Early Life of Zanabazar
The little boy was given the name Zanabazar, a combination of the word zana, which is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning "knowledge" or "wisdom", and the word bazar, meaning "thunderbolt". Thus in English his name might be rendered "thunderbolt of wisdom"...[more]

The Life of Zanabazar -- Chapter 4: Zanabazar's First Trip to Tibet
Zanabazar left Mongolia late in 1649, the exact day and month unknown. Nor do we know the exact route he took. There were several caravan tracks to Tibet, but if he took the traditional Shar Zam (Yellow Road) to Tibet he would have veered slightly west from Shankh through what is now Bayankhongor Aimag...[more]

The Life of Zanabazar -- Chapter 5: Zanabazar Founds Gelugpa Monasteries in Mongolia
Zanabazar returned to Mongolia as a newly converted member of Gelugpa sect and armed with a brief to convert his fellow Mongolian to the same Yellow Hat beliefs. He forthwith announced that he would now longer live in any monastery connected with the Sakya sect which had hitherto been dominant in Mongolia. Thus his first course of action was to establish a new Gelugpa monastery near the confluence of the Tuul and Selbi rivers, in the large basin surrounded by the four mountains now called Chingeltei Uul, Bayanzurkh Uul, Songino Uul , and Bogd Khan Uul...[more]

The Life of Zanabazar -- Chapter 6: Zanabazar's Second Trip to Tibet
Most traditional accounts do not mention Zanabazar’s trip to Inner Mongolia to met the Dalai Lama in early 1655. Skipping over this episode, they relate instead that in the summer of 1655 Zanabazar decided to make another trip to Tibet: “. . . I should like to accomplish my pious desire of again making obeisance to the Dalai Lama,” Zanabazar announced. “and especially to the Holy Panchen Vajradhara Lama [Panchen Lama] and hear the initiations and empowerments and so on which I meditated on before.” In preparation for the journey he decided to go into meditation for several months at his newly established retreat of Tövkhon at Shibeetu Uul. In the autumn of 1655 he left for Tibet...[more]

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