Traditional Mongolian Environmental Laws
||Regulations dating fom 1240 safeguard animals and other forms of wildlife.
The following information has been extracted from the
Mongolian Buddhists Protecting Nature Handbook which can be downloaded in English and in Mongolian.
Regulations dating back as far as Chinggis Khaan's “Secret
History of the Mongols” from 1240 safeguard animals and other forms of wildlife. By
the 18th century, official protection was extended to sacred mountains and bodies
of water. Laws forbade the pollution of land and rivers, and protected animals from
hunting during mating seasons. It is uncertain as to what extent these protective laws
evolved from Buddhist legends and sutras or to what extent they preceded them and
were then adapted.
Both processes are plausible given the Mongols' traditionally strong respect for the
laws of both the state and the faith.
Several ancient and recent laws closely echo the rules set down in Buddhism
and ancient legends.
There have been recent efforts to formalise the protection of natural sacred sites in Mongolia. In 1996, the Mongolian Ministry of Culture proposed three of the country's
16 major and many other minor sacred mountains for inclusion in UNESCO's World
Heritage list. They include the Bogd Khaan Mountain near Ulaanbaatar - the world's
oldest official protected area, protected since 1778 when the Manchu Emperor of
China passed a resolution to provide for official protection of the site, which also
includes archaeological sites and cave paintings from some 3000 years ago. Link
here for an updated list of sacred sites in Mongolia.
the south side of the protected area, monks have begun the process of rebuilding
the Manzushiri monastery, which dates from 1750. The other two mountains are
the Burkhan Khaldun (designated as sacred by Chinggis Khaan) which is located
within the 1.2 million hectare Khan Khentii Strict Protected Area in the Khentii Aimag
bordering Russia, and the 95,500 hectare Otgon Tenger mountain area in the centre
of the country, which was included in the laws of “Khalkh Juram” as a protected
mountain, where logging and hunting were prohibited.
Pages about Mongolian Environmental Wisdom, taken from the Handbook.
The Mongolian Lord of Nature.
Sacred texts, places and ovoos.
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
Other links to Mongolian Buddhism and the Environment
Link here to access the news story about the launch of the Mongolian Buddhist Handbook.
here to download the Mongolian Buddhist Handbook in English. (Please note this file is 1.15MB)
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.
here on how to make contact with the Sangha.
To download the A3 poster of a new thangka about Buddhists protecting Nature, link
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.