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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

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.

On 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.

Sacred sites 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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