Reviving Buddhism in Mongolia
During the 1930s, under Soviet Communist rule, the Buddhist culture of Mongolia came under full attack, and tens of thousands of monks and nuns were murdered, deported to concentration camps in the Soviet Union, or driven into exile.
All but a half dozen of Mongolia’s 1000 temples were destroyed, and the few that were not destroyed were converted into military or storage facilities for the Communist army. Libraries were burned, artworks melted down for metal content or cut into blocks for building material, and buildings put to the torch. The cultural purges of the 1930s saw complete destruction of all pre-communist culture, and Buddhism was at the top of the list of targets.
The fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 brought dramatic changes to the Mongol regions inside and outside of Russia. Mongolia managed to free themselves from Communist control in 1990, and since then the country entered a rebuilding phase. In 1990 there was only one monastery in the country, Ganden Tegchenling.
There are now well over a hundred monasteries, although only a few monks and even less teachers are residing in them.
At the suggestion of HH the Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche 1999 accepted an invitation to visit Mongolia. The purpose of the visit was to determine the best way to help the Mongolian people to rekindle their Buddhist heritage.