Projects overview
Americas projects
Asia projects
Asian Buddhist Network
Southeast Asia
East Timor
Indonesia: Christian
Mongolia: Buddhists
CASE STUDIES from Mongolia
Papua New Guinea
Indonesia: Muslim
China projects
Education and water
Faith in food
Faiths for Green Africa
Green pilgrimage network
Living churchyards
Long-term plans
Major ARC events
Religious forests
Sacred gifts
Sacred land
Other projects
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

Mongolia report 2004

World Environment Day, 5 June 2003: installation of a stele at Bogd Uul mountain, overlooking the city of Ulaanbaatar. The ceremony was conducted by Khamba Lama Choijamts and attended by the Minister of the Environment Mr. Barsbold and students of School Number 28.

Lost Sutras Publication

The ‘Lost Sutras’ Publication Project continues with a new book of sacred texts to be published in late 2004. This is the third in the series, following on from Sacred Sites of Mongolia and Mongolian Legends of the Land. The scholars of the Zanabazar Buddhist University, backed by Gandan Tegchilen Monastery, are currently concluding their work on it. At the request of the monastery this new book is designed for lay people and monks alike, and will contain all the general sutras and prayers needed for the worship of sacred sites, and a practical guide to worship and care for sacred sites. It will include comments by the most prominent Buddhist teachers of Mongolia. The books are published jointly by Gandan monastery, WWF Mongolia, the World Bank and ARC.

Celebrating springs as sacred

ARC has partnered WWF Mongolia in a national Buddhist education awareness programme. One of this year’s main programmes was held at Amarbayasgalant Monastery in Selenge province and Gandan Darjaalin monastery in Uvs province. This included practical training to maintain springs as vital water sources for monks and herders, as well as conducting ritual ceremonies that symbolically protect the springs and thereby raise their significance amongst the local community. This has linked into the Mongolian National Year of Water government campaign.


ARC has built a relationship with the community at Khamariin Khiid in the Gobi, a monastery established by the famous religious and political leader and renowned artist Danzan Ravjaa. The local community and Gobi based NGO, Tavan Dohoi, have been very active in several environmental projects. ARC currently assists them in a project of reforestation for an area that was deforested in the 1960s by a Russian military base camp.

Educational Training

ARC has liaised with The Wildlife Conservation Society’s University Conservation Club at the Biology Faculty of the National University Mongolia to set up an environmental programme at the Zanabazar Buddhist University of Gandan Tegchilen Monastery where students of the two universities will exchange their ideas and practices related to the environment. The aim is to broaden their shared outlook on contemporary environmental challenges.

Children's Green Day

ARC participated in the Children’s Green Day, a joint event of several organisations including Save the Children and Ulaanbaatar schools. Through ARC’s involvement, monk students of the Zanabazar Buddhist University participated by performing a ritual to stress the importance of acting in a respectful and responsible way in relation to the natural environment.


In collaboration with Oxford and Harvard Universities, a paleobotanical survey of three sacred sites took place to determine the ecological history of sacred sites in Mongolia. The three sites chosen for the study are all ones at which project-supported stelae have just been erected. A field team have taken soil samples and we are awaiting their results.

Stelae erection programme

The programme of stelae erection has developed with a second stelae being erected on Bogd Uul mountain on the north side of the Bogd Khan mountain range, overlooking the capital city Ulaanbaatar. The dedication ceremony was attended by the Minister for the Environment as well as senior WWF and ARC representatives and was undertaken by the Kampo Lama of Gandan monastery. This was in response to growing concern about encroachment on the mountain facing Ulaanbaatar. As part of ARC’s response to these concerns, a proposal to allocate endangered areas of the mountain to each of the Buddhist countries attending the Asian Buddhist Network meeting next July has been mooted and accepted. It is hoped that such international coverage and attention will ensure a closer scrutiny of developments on the mountain.

Monastery training

The training programme consists of an initial programme on climate change that will be followed next year by a programme focusing on the contents of the third publication – the expanded ‘Sacred Sites of Mongolia’. The programme is taking place at three monasteries, Gandan Tegchemlin in Ulaanbaatar; Amarbayasgalant in Selenge Aimag (province); Gandan Darjaalin in Uvs Aimag (province). This is a joint programme with WWF Mongolia and a handbook resulting from this work in now planned.

Altai-Sayan eco-region

ARC is working with WWF in the remote Khan Khokhii region in Uvs aimag to preserve the forests as part of the Altai Sayan eco-region. The project is working to prevent logging, create alternative energy resources and give ecological training to the local community. ARC has joined with WWF Mongolia and the Gandan Darjaalin monastery to undertake an exploration phase of this project linked to the ARC project with the monastery on protecting sacred sites following the erection of the stele last year.

Geser Sum

ARC is association with the Getty Foundation and supported by the World Bank have launched the Geser Sum ecology project. Based on the 19th century temple of Geser Sum and the associated sacred landscape surrounding it, the project has been able to secure this final piece of open piece of urban sacred landscape as a national monument. The building itself offers a model of traditional Buddhist ecologically sustainable building which through ARC’s UNEP/GEF funded project on climate change will also be fitted with solar panels and a fuel efficient stove. The site will be developed as a major living example of Buddhism and ecology in practice combined with a microcosm of the shamanic Buddhist sacred landscape traditions of Mongolia. Part of the programme already undertaken has been a 10-day training programme in the restoration of structural sacred sites undertaken by a Chinese and an American specialist in collaboration with Gandan Monastery.

>Restoring Geser Sum monastery

Links to the Mongolian Buddhist Handbook

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).

And link here for details of ancient Buddhist wisdom on taking care of nature.

Link here for details on 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).

< to previous page to top of page to next page >
ARC site map

Related information

The lost sutras of Mongolia
Mongolian Buddhist tradition marked out sacred landscapes, where animals and vegetation were protected
2004 Conference on Buddhism and the Environment
The World Bank sponsors an extraordinary meeting of Buddhist monks in Phnom Penh
15 July 2003:
Mongolian Prime Minister first International President of ARC
Nambaryn Enkhbayar, prime minister of Mongolia is ARC's first International President. Enkhbayar is a Buddhist who grew up as a communist – and he has drawn upon his faith to rebuild his country.