Years af­ter Bud­dhism in Mon­go­lia was quashed by the Sovi­ets, the re­li­gion has re­turned to promi­nence with over half of the pop­u­la­tion now iden­ti­fy­ing as Bud­dhist, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures

The New Indian Express - - EDITORIAL -

Sa­cred vodka

Bud­dhist tra­di­tions in Mon­go­lia pre­date the rule of Genghis Khan, who es­tab­lished close ties with a Ti­betan Bud­dhist school, ac­cord­ing to AFP. Even un­der Ti­betan Bud­dhism’s heavy in­flu­ence, how­ever, Mon­go­lians gave the re­li­gion their own cul­tural touch: In­spired by shaman­is­tic in­vo­ca­tions us­ing vodka, Mon­go­lian Bud­dhists con­sider the Rus­sian liquor sa­cred just as wine is to Chris­tians

Com­mu­nists de­mol­ish monas­ter­ies

Dur­ing the coun­try’s years as a Soviet satel­lite state, from 1924 to the early 1990s, the Arts Coun­cil of Mon­go­lia es­ti­mates more than 1,250 monas­ter­ies and tem­ples were de­mol­ished by the com­mu­nists

Only one monastery, Ulan Ba­tor’s Gan­dan monastery, was per­mit­ted to stay open dur­ing that pe­riod to sup­port the Sovi­ets’ claims of re­li­gious tol­er­ance. Now 800 monks be­long to the monastery, the coun­try’s largest. Af­ter the 1990 rev­o­lu­tion that over­threw the com­mu­nists, a Bud­dhist leader from Ladakh was ap­pointed the Am­bas­sador to Mon­go­lia

In­dia’s spir­i­tual mas­ter­stroke

When PM Naren­dra Modi vis­ited the coun­try in 2015, he said, “It (Bud­dhism and spir­i­tu­al­ity) lives through the work of Kushok Bakula Rin­poche, In­dia’s am­bas­sador here from 1990 to 2000. The Pethub Monastery that he es­tab­lished here will be an en­dur­ing sym­bol of our links”

Touchy China a road­block

The re­vival of Bud­dhism has be­come tougher af­ter Mon­go­lia pledged not to ex­tend any more in­vi­ta­tions to the Dalai Lama af­ter his visit last Novem­ber an­gered China, its neigh­bour and big­gest trade part­ner

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