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ARC Home > Projects > Asia projects :
Mongolia: Buddhists | Mongolia | Sacred Environmental Texts | Restoring Geser Sum | Mongolia report 2004 | A Brief History of Buddhism in Mongolia | Environmental protection | Key Meetings | Women in Buddhism | Key Mongolian Buddhist Figures | The Lord of Nature | Buddhists and Development | Traditional Mongolian Environmental Laws | Sacred Sites list | Places, creatures and ovoos | How to work with the Sangha | The lost sutras | A new thangka protecting nature

Women in Buddhism

The following information has been extracted from the Mongolian Buddhists Protecting Nature Handbook which can be downloaded in English and in Mongolian.

Before 1990 women were rarely ordained in Mongolia; today’s nuns are therefore the first generation of ordained female Buddhist practitioners. There are two types of Buddhist vows available for women in Mongolia.

1. The full Getsulma vow of ordination, involving 36 monastic promises.

2. The Genenma lay vows, promising not to kill, steal, lie, not to commit any sexual misconduct and not to take intoxicants. These vows are taken by many Buddhists, both male and female in Mongolia.

Women who have taken the Genenma vows visit the nunnery in the daytime but return to their homes at night. They are allowed to marry and when they have children they leave the nunnery for one year to look after the child. They generally wear red or occasionally yellow deels (the traditional dress of Mongolia) rather than the Buddhist robes. They do not shave their heads.

In Ulaanbaatar there are two nunneries run by Mongolians, and one run by Tibetans. The first, Tugs Bayasgalant, meaning Heaven of Joy, was established in 1990 by the current head, N. Gantumur, who became a lay Buddhist nun that year. By 2008 there were 21 nuns, half of whom had recently attended a degree course at Zanabazar Buddhist University, marking the first time that women have ever been granted Bachelors degrees in Buddhist studies at this University.

As with many of the monasteries, this nunnery is open only in the daytime - nuns return home at night. Dolma Ling Nunnery, under the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) is the first residential nunnery in Mongolia. It was opened in 2001 on the grounds of the former Dara Ekh Monastery and is now home to 14 ordained Mongolian nuns. The nuns receive training in Tibetan and Buddhist scripture, and also engage in some environmental outreach activities. The other active Mongolian-run nunnery in Ulaanbaatar is Nar Khajid.


Pages about Mongolian Environmental Wisdom, taken from the Handbook.

The Mongolian Lord of Nature.

Sacred texts, places and ovoos.

Sacred sites in Mongolia.

Traditional Environmental Law in Mongolia.

The work that the monks, in conjunction with ARC and the World Bank and others, are carrying out to rediscover the sutras about sacred land in Mongolia.

Do you want to support this?

For full contact and address details of Mongolian Buddhist Monasteries, please see page 57 of the Handbook. And for details of local Development, Environmental and Educational NGOs, please visit pages 58-59 of the Handbook.

Other links to Mongolian Buddhism and the Environment

Link here to access the news story about the launch of the Mongolian Buddhist Handbook.

Link here to download the Mongolian Buddhist Handbook in English. (Please note this file is 1.15MB)

Link here to download the Mongolian version of the Handbook.(A 2MB file.)

Link here to download the guide to the Mongolian Buddhists’ Eight Year Plan (this file is 4.13MB).

Link to Mongolian Case Studies.

And here on how to make contact with the Sangha.

To download the A3 poster of a new thangka about Buddhists protecting Nature, link here (5.61MB).

Brief History of Mongolian Buddhism.

Buddhism and the Environment.

Women in Buddhism in Mongolia.

Key Figures in Mongolian Buddhism.

Key Meetings in Mongolia.

Mongolian Buddhists and Development.

Mongolian Buddhists and Ecology.

Mongolian Buddhist Hunting Ban.

The Lost Sutras.


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Related information

Buddhist hunting ban
The reintroduction in Mongolia of a centuries-old ban on hunting the endangered snow leopard and the saiga antelope
Mongolia report 2004
Work supported by ARC in Mongolia in 2004
Last updated: September 24, 2009 :
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