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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

Restoring Geser Sum monastery

Inside the compound of the Geser monastery

The Geser Sum monastery is one of the few religious buildings to have survived the Stalinist purges in Mongolia. Ironically it survived because it was being used as a factory and so was considered an industrial site. Built in the late 18th century, it is one of the oldest buildings in what until living memory was a city of tents: Mongolia's capital, Ulaanbaatar.

Geser, to whom the temple is dedicated, is the deity of war and literature. It is appropriate that the temple should therefore be used as a centre of teaching, and to defend the environment, on which the country’s future depends.

the monastery‘s murals and decorations are being restored
Preserving nature and the arts

ARC is working with a Mongolian charity, set up solely for the preservation of Geser Sum. Wall-paintings at the monastery will be preserved with seed funding provided by the Getty Foundation. These include a series of murals showing the story of Monkey, a mischievous hero figure said to be protected by Avalokitesvara, the patron deity of Mongolia.

Energy conservation in Mongolian monasteries

Working with monasteries across Mongolia, ARC and the United Nations Environment Programme are developing energy savings programmes based on Buddhist notions of right use of natural resources.

The project is helping monasteries where possible to be more efficient in their energy use, by using sustainable fuels for heating and power, such as biomass, solar and fuel-efficient stoves.

The goal is for monasteries to act as information centres for lay people, by developing literature and models of energy efficiency, as part of Mongolia’s commitment to the Kyoto protocol. The hope is that ordinary people will see how the monasteries are saving energy and keeping warm - and they will use the same principles in their own homes. A handbook will be published in 2004.

Link to article on preserving Mongolian Buddhist history in the English-language Mongol Messenger

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)

And to download the Mongolian version, please link here.(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).

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Related information

February 11, 2004:
Looking for Mongolia's lost temples
In a dramatic sign of the recovery of religious identity in Mongolia, a team is seeking to identify the remains of temples that were lost under communist rule.
May 5 2004:
Pagodas become eco-campaigners
Monks in Cambodia and neighbouring countries are taking a leading role in protecting the natural environment: and they are combining forces to do so.
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.