Guest Post: Documenting Buddhist Past

There has been a very worthwhile project aiming to document Mongolia’s Buddhist history going on for some years. This is an effort led by scholars, but with a very impressive cultural footprint and organized under the auspices of the competent and active Mongolia Arts Council. See also the Facebook Page for this project. The project is now looking for support to publish their findings.

Help bring Mongolia’s Buddhist past to life online

By Konchog Norbu

Published on Buddhadharma August 10th 2013

At the height of Mongolia’s Buddhist culture, there were well over a thousand monasteries and temples spread across its deserts, steppelands, and forested mountains. After the ruthlessly efficient Stalinist religious purges of the late 1930s, however, there were exactly three left standing. Now enjoying religious freedom under a democratic system, the Mongolian people, in partnership with international friends, are determined to preserve the memory of their spiritual heritage before it’s too late — and you can help.

Since 2008, Mongolia’s Buddhist Monasteries Project has already sent teams to visit more than 1,300 sites of old and revived temples (mapping them using GPS coordinates), and to collect images, religious artifacts, and the priceless memories and stories of elders, many of whom were young monks before the purge. Now the project aims to organize and publish this vast data trove on an interactive website so that Mongolians — and people worldwide — can delve into the details of Mongolia’s rich Buddhist past.

The Arts Council of Mongolia has created an Indiegogo page to raise the $8,000 needed to complete the task of bringing Mongolia’s Buddhist history to life online. If you’d care for more information, or would like to make a contribution,

For video and photographs see

About Julian Dierkes

Julian Dierkes is a sociologist by training (PhD Princeton Univ) and a Mongolist by choice and passion since around 2005. He teaches in the Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He toots
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