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CASE STUDIES from Mongolia | Case Study 1: Gandan Tegchenling Monastery | Case Study 2: The Erdene Zuu Endeavor | Case Study 3: Onstar Isei Lin Monastery | Case Study 4: Dashchoilin Monastery | Case Study 5: Amarbayasgalants Monastery | Case Study 6: Khamar Khiid | Case Study 7: Luvsandanzanjantsan Studies Centre | Case Study 8: Gandandarjaaling Monastery

Case Study 6: Khamar Khiid

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

Khamar Khiid, in the eastern Gobi province of Dornogov, has been a pioneer in a number of environmental initiatives - in particular a reforestation project in the Gobi in partnership with the NGO Tavan Dohio. The first aim of the reforestation project is to restore a grove of 100 elms cut down by Russian soldiers.

Since 2003, hundreds of seedlings have been planted at the monastery, many with the involvement of local schoolchildren. A number of problems have limited the survival rate of these trees: irrigation issues, livestock, inadequate storm protection and possibly improper species selection and planting techniques. Nevertheless Mr. Altangerel, environmental project leader and the director of Khamar Khiid’s museum, is convinced that with the proper planning that comes from experience, such plantations will flourish and help fight desertification by retaining large volumes of water within their root systems.

Future plans for the surrounding area include installing protective fencing and walkways to prevent soil erosion and traffic damage. Mr. Altangerel also advocates the use of Buddhist rituals as a context for conservation activities, arguing for the adoption of a tradition of planting trees for the deceased. In addition, a 25,000 euro project run with international NGO Miseor, is building a kindergarten at Khamar Khiid, an information centre for the rural population as well as a non-formal education centre for illiterate adults and children who have dropped out from school.

Background of the Khiid

Khamar Khiid was established in the 1820s by the Mongolian educator and writer Danzanravjaa, who devoted great efforts to the cause of public education, which he promoted through the establishment of a school, theatre, museum and library at Khamar Khiid. At its peak, the monastery consisted of four colleges, a children’s school (training children as artists, sculptors, singers and dancers as well as giving basic and vocational training), more than eighty temples, and a resident population of over 500 lamas. Under Danzanravjaa’s influence women were especially encouraged to participate. To the north of the monastery were a series of caves where monks would practice yogic exercises and meditate in isolation for 108 days at a time. Khamar Khiid was an important centre of the Red Hat sect, and was the seat of the Gobiin Dogshin Noyon Khutagt (“Wrathful Noble Saint of the Gobi”).

After being completely destroyed in 1938, Khamar Khiid was re-built in the 1990s. At the rear of the new monastery is a well that is believed to have sacred healing qualities. Danzanravjaa claimed in his “Adistet Yosnii Sudar” (Blessed water sutra) that this water was helpful in curing aliments to the stomach, intestines, bile and liver - and he provided special instructions for its drinking and use.

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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