amazon review: Lama of the Gobi: How Mongolia’s Mystic Monk Spread Tibetan Buddhism in the World’s Harshest Desert by Michael Kohn


Lama of the Gobi:

How Mongolia’s Mystic Monk Spread Tibetan Buddhism in the World’s Harshest Desert

by Michael Kohn review:


Mongolia’s Devine Madman

A very good attempt to write a colorful book by someone with the very best motivation.
Danzan Ravjaa was something of a bigger then life figure, a Mongolian Gendun Chophel “divine madman” and highly revered Tulku. Book is very small and an easy read.
Found it it by sitting down on a floor of B&N and landing right in front of it, very happy.

Buddhism in Mongolia

During Kalachakra ceremonies in Palyul Upstate Retreat Center I had good fortune of meeting up with now famous monk from Jetsunma’s – center, Venerable Konchok Norbu – he is in and out of Mongolia, writing about it, taking pictures and fundraising for various difficult revival projects. As i was always interested in situations similar to the situation of Mongolian Buddhists, when you are far away, when you are surrounded by many hostile forces, brought to the brink of destruction for your believes and still you go on inspiring faith in people as far away as America. This is quite impressive.

Picture above is from this page:
it is published with this caption: “Some of the rebuilt temples and monuments of Khamariin Khiid at what used to be a thriving oasis. The Soviet Army cut down all the trees to build an army base in the 50’s and the ground water dried up. There is still underground water, however, and an active reforestation project. Photo by Konchog Norbu.”

A little bit about 150th anniversary of Gobi Noyon Khutugtu Duldiut Danzanravjaa from:

150th anniversary of Danzanravjaa Wednesday, 25 January 2006 Ulaanbaatar, /MONTSAME/. The UNESCO Mongolian National Commission, the Noyon Khutugtu Fund and the Uv Erdene Fund have made a decision to celebrate worldwide the 150th anniversary of the death of Gobi Noyon Khutugtu Duldiut Danzanravjaa this year. The above measure is among 63 special occasions scheduled by the UNESCO to be organized this year. According to the report by L.Odonchimed, a member of the Parliament and Head of the Noyon Khutugtu Fund, the UNESCO will grant 20 thousand USD for the jubilee celebration. This aid will be spent on the translation of the masterpieces of D.Danzanravjaa from Tibetan into Mongolian and into English. The translated works will be sent to the world famous libraries. Moreover, the US Embassy to Mongolia will render 20 thousand USD in aid for the reconstruction of the Museum for Noyon Khutugtu Danzanravjaa. The Demchig Temple, created by D.Danzanravjaa, will also be reconstructed with 20 thousand USD financial aid to be given by the Canadian Ivanhoe Mines company. A total of 15 measures have been planned to be carried for and during the anniversary celebration.”

From the Biography of the Khutuktu posted on:
“in the words of renowned Mongolian scholar Ts.Damdinsuren: “Khamar Monastery was a perfectly harmonious location, having a river whith many fine trees along its south part and rocky mountains with dozens of caves along its north; and the place was filled with the noise of hundreds of people playing the famous Saran Khokhoo drama…”

And from:
“In his lifetime he was considered a living god and at his death a martyr. Today Mongolians are just discovering his full dimensions. After his death in 1856 Danzanravjaa’s legend and surviving works went underground for 135 years. The story reemerged in 1991 in Sainshand, the dusty and remote capital of Dornogov aimag. An overnight train ride from Ulaanbaatar on the Trans Siberian Railway to Beijing, Sainshand gets virtually no visitors as there is little business activity and it lacks a travel infrastructure suitable for foreigners. Thus few Mongolians outside the Gobi, and fewer foreigners, have experienced Danzanravjaa’s Khamaryn Monastery site or seen his extraordinary surviving works in Sainshand’s Danzanravjaa Museum. It is a miracle that he is known to us at all. One family has preserved his legacy in secret for eight generations in a tradition called Takhilch that continues today and is as bizarre and interesting as Danzanravjaa himself. Danzanravjaa: monk, artist, songwriter and poet Danzanravjaa was born in 1803 deep in the East Gobi and soon was recognized as a prodigy, writing and performing his own music at age four. In 1808 local Red Hat (Nyingma) Buddhists proclaimed the five-year-old the reincarnated “Fifth Ferocious Saint Lord of Gobi,” their spiritual leader.”

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