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October 14, 2005

Comments

I can empathize. It often seems like the missionaries are conducting warfare in their zeal to win the numbers over. In a country where hospitality to strangers is such a strong custom it may be like inviting the predators in. I have begun having viscerally hostile reactions to these attacks, as I perceive them. Surely that's not what their God would want.
Patience, it seems is not a virtue we possess much here in the West.
Yikes, I hope that winter coming on can help keep the Avian flu from spreading. Or will close confines make it worse?

There is a lot to digest and respond to about the religious side to this, and much commonality to be found. However, for public health reasons, I'm going to put on my Doctor hat and just say a few flu words: There has BEEN NO HUMAN TO HUMAN transmission of the avian flu. There is bird to bird (common) and bird to human (rare) transmission, but nothing else... yet. The public health folks say the mutation to make humans pass it on to their own is probable, some say inevitable, but slow. So, for now, close quarters, quarantine etc., make no sense, nor does stocking up on Tamiflu. However, protecting oneself agains the existing virulent influenza viruses by handwashing, protecting the weakest and flu shots whenever possible makes good common public health sense.

You make an interesting point. You claim to be be turned off by the Christian doctrine that teaches the way to God can only be reached through our Savior, Jesus Christ. And this, you say, demonstrates arrogance on the part of Christians. I'm not familiar with Buddhist doctrine, but I'm fairly sure it prescribes a specific method of reaching enlightenment. Where is the distinction between these two claims? Why is one claim arrogant and the other worthy for revival in Mongolia? You have an a very unaccepting view of Christianity and you wear it on your sleve. Such beliefs are not so evident in your honorable Dalai Lama. Sure, I myself am biased as I was a Mormon missionary in Mongolia several years ago. I think of all of the beneficial activities my church does there and I am baffled when I hear of the negative reactions within the foreigners in Mongolia concerning our efforts. Religious and economic freedom were the best things that could have happened to Mongolia, and I pray that these freedoms will be further protected and upheld. Oh, and by the way, you were not the only one invited to come to Mongolia. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was invited by the government of Mongolia in 1993 because our reputation almost always preceeds us. I can't claim that we are a perfect organization, but I can vouch for the positive effect our efforts in Mongolia have had on the lives of thousands, whether or not they believed our message.

Konchog,

You raise (again) this difficult and deep topics. As I said, I live in Korea and therefore I am also interested in the situation of Buddhism here. When I read your post and one of the papers you linked there, I could not help wondering if South Korea is the future of Mongolia. Actually, I don't think so, because the historical context of Mongolia and the recent history is so different, but it is maybe worth examing the situation in Korea with respect to the religions (i.e. letting apart for a moment the subject of the Korean missionaries abroad).

In Korea, a small majority of people who declare to follow a religion are Christians. Many people do not believe in any established religion or are atheistic or materialist (in the philosophical acceptance of the term). In other words, there is no such urgent feeling to "protect" the Buddhadharma here among buddhists, even if there are some tensions at a personal level (not at the official level of the religious organisations). Typically, the problems/critics are between protestant denominations and the buddhists (the Catholics here are usually praised for they open-mindness by buddhists --- which contrasts ironically with what I was used to hear in France). The protestants, more or less, consider Buddhism as belonging to the past or being a superstition (i.e. an irrational, syncretic belief, with no doctrine) or lacking the Holy Spirit (I cite real conversations I had). The majority of Christians enjoy to walk in the mountains and enjoy a rest in a buddhist monastery. A tiny minority have been extremists enough to burn temples down in the 90's.

The buddhists, on the other hand, have a more sensitive reaction because, as you mention about some Mongolians, Buddhism is part of their identity, this identity human being recreate along history, made of symbols, _real_ symbols due to identification. For instance, a friend of mine, who is a buddhist, told me recently of a problem in her family: her grand-mother converted to Christianity (protestant denomination, I bet). She was converted by the only other Christian in the family who told her to become a Christian, so that this way she would pray God in order to help one of her daughter (who was "old" and single, which is considered as a real social problem in Korea, even spiritual, if we take into account Confucianist beliefs, which are still pervasives). So my friend was mad at her and did not visited her for two years for that reason. So the problem here is identity: her family has always been buddhist and so buddhism MUST be part of her family.

Where is my point? Because I am a buddhist from the West (I don't say "Western buddhist", since there is no such a thing as "Western buddhism", in my opinion), being familiar with Christianity by culture, I have a different view on that religious tensions.

Buddhism is not part of my identity, especially because I am a la(z)yman. I am glad my family still talk to me despite me being a buddhist (I never was a Christian, though). So I disapprove the rejection of my friend towards her grand-mother.

I am going further now and be the devil's advocate for a moment. In Korea, laymen Buddhists are mainly buddhists by belief and rituals. They bow to statues when they go to the temples, make offerings etc. but rarely do they attend or require a teaching, but usually ask for fortune telling and paintings of Bodhidharma to protect their house. They almost never practice meditation (Seon -- Zazen in Japanese).

This is fine but this is definitely not a ground to oppose Christians. They should NOT oppose Christians, in the first place: this is not what the Dharma says. Instead, they should attend teachings and practice meditation, which is the main road to enlightenment (this point would be discussed by some Japanese sects, though). By doing this, they would be progressing personally, they would gain a practical ground for their identity (not background, as family, history etc.) and they would not oppose Christians, even if it is only in conversations between buddhists. (It doesn't mean they cannot have an opinion, of course.)

I am sorry, I am perhaps out of topics here. I will try to gather more thoughts and post another comment if people is not already bored. For instance about politics and religious freedom.

The reaction of G Wilson is interesting and definitely worth discussing.

About religious freedom.

First, there is a misunderstanding, especially among many Americans, about religious freedom: some tend to think that the separation between religion ("church" in the USA) and state must be written in the Constitution in order to guarantee religious freedom. This is wrong. A lot of West Europeans countries either have no Constitution (as the UK) or their Constitution state an official religion, namely Christianity, while granting freedom to other cults. France is a special case in that matter, with a strong separation, including the recent banning of any religious sign in public schools --- which has been so much criticised in the USA and by the UN (and Christians). Again, remember the case of the UK, where the head of the state is the head of the official cult (anglicanism). But England is no dictatorship. On the contrary.

So I see no problem that Mongolia or even France has an official religion as long as other religions are allowed (even if they don't get money from the state and even if the official religion get money, as in Germany, for instance, where the Protestant pastors are paid by the Land, or in French Alsace and Lorraine, for historical reasons (these regions were German for some time)).

In the case of the USA, I always found ironic that the separation of state and church is in the Constitution, but "In God we trust", the president swear on a Bible, Creationists still stand against science, people discuss about prayers in public schools and the current president often talk about God and cites the Bible. Still, the USA is no dictatorship at all.

To come back to your post, I therefore think that the presumed diplomatic move from the USA (according to the embassador you met) to avoid Mongolia having an official buddhist religion is just another example of how the USA try with success to impose a model (which may be good for the USA, I don't know) to other countries. Another example is capitalism, money as a value (despite Jesus explicitly and several times having strong words against riches, wealth not allowing entering the Kingdom).

And this is a link to the Christian mission. Psychologically, it is based on the "reasoning" that "if something is good for me, then it is good for others." This is a difference with some buddhists, including the Dalai Lama. I don't think it is just a superficial difference. I mean, many buddhists may think that buddhism should be "proposed" to everybody to elect because it is so great etc., I don't know. But not the Dalai Lama and the masters. The difference, I think, lies in the notion of truth. For the Christians, there is such a thing as truth, which is the Revelation of the will of God, as transmitted to humanity (well, to Jews actually, I will come back on this latter) by Jesus Christ and the prophets. There is a Christian credo, a dogma. When I told a Muslim friend that the Dalai Lama is not in favour of proselitizing, she said: "But buddhists should tell the Truth, if they believe in it." I am afraid that there is no such thing as a buddhist Truth, and that, as the Buddha put it, once we reach the shore, we will ditch the raft of the Dharma.

So, there is psychology and epistemology at stake here. This is why we should refrain from thinking that if something is great for me, it must be great for others and rather found non-religious ethics on "refrain from being aggressive to others, e.g. refrain from imposing our views on others" instead. And, about epistemology, Christians should learn a bit about buddhism instead of just thinking that it is a means (a skillful means, in buddhist terminology) that God found to guide these persons. This is a subtle and powerful impediment to mutual understanding. The same happens from the Buddhist side, where the Christ is sometimes considered as a bodhisattva, or from the Hindu side, which consider the Buddha an avatar of Vishnou. There is no need to choose between: "Jesus was a bodhisattva" and "Jesus was an idiot." We should accept diversity without trying to reduce it.

The Christian mission is also rooted in the Bible, of course. Actually, I think that it is safer to discuss the mission with Christians with a Bible in the hands, rather than to try to prove how aggressive some missionaries can be (as the Koreans you mentionned in a previous post). As I like to study the Bible not for believe but for really reading it, I usually point the places where Jesus explictly forbids his disciples to proselityze out of Judea (the eschatological Israel, actually). The mission "to the nations" is found after the Resurrection, where Jesus (actually, the Christ at that point) contradicts himself. It is often my surprise that devout Christians do not pay attention to this contradictions about the mission (among other difficult points in the Bible) and do not want to pay attention to it... My purpose when I discuss the TEXT (and not the beliefs of the persons) is to put it in its historical, cultural and linguistic context and not to cover the contradictions. Contradictions are fine, they should lead to reflexion, but they should not entail strong confidence on one option, like "mission to all the nations"...

Buddhists should also read scholar works on the Bible and reas the Bible in order to understand that the mission IS a prescription by the Christ to its disciples -- even if it is a contradictory position.

Now, should Mongolia ban Evangelicals, as in Venezuela or keep them away for 25 years?

If I consider my case, I can only be happy that buddhist masters can enter and teach legally in France, so why ban some Christians missionaries from Mongolia?

One may think that they may destroy not only what remains of buddhism but, as a consequence, a part of the Mongolian culture.

Here, Konchog, I think we, you and me, should be careful because we are buddhists from the West.

When I arrived in Korea, I was so shocked by the lack of interest (to say the least) in buddhism here and by the pervasive Churches (especially in Seoul)... I described the situation to my master and he just said: "This is good!" As the French say, he cut the grass under my feet...

The problem is aggression, of course. Whatever the discourse, I felt aggressiveness from part of Christianity because reality was not comforting my projection, my wish, of a "buddhist country". But nobody was attacking... me (whatever this word means), it was a problem between me and me. So, if Koreans want massively convert to Christianity (as they did in the 80's), why not if this does not create aggressivity on their part towards buddhism and shamanism?

Now, I don't buy the "help the poor" excuse that too many Christian missions use in poor countries. They indeed help people by providing food and health care, for example, BUT they expect people to attend church and pray. This is the only problem, because then it is not a gift, which should not expect anything in return. Actually, in many cases I heard and see, there is a strategy, a not-so-hidden agenda, behind this nice looking "help".

Christianity appeared in Korea, after the war, as an attribute of modernity and wealth, exemplified by Americans. And indeed, in order to help the newly created South Korea, the USA funded many useful actions towards the poor and they used the Korean churches in that purpose. So many people used to come to the churches to have rice, which is great, of course, if nothing is asked in return. (By the way, in France, religious organisations are not allowed by law to do officially humanitarian actions, due to the strict understanding of separation between cult and politics.)

Nowadays, Buddhism in Korea is considered by many Christians and atheistics as something belonging to the past, which means, in a Korean mind obsessed by progress and proud of the new wealth, not worth considering, not even for intellectual understanding of their own culture.

The same can happen in Mongolia.

But I think it is up to buddhists to show that the dharma is not old-fashioned -- actually it is just a little bit older than Christianity. It is up to American monks as you, Konchog, to be there in order to show that the naive conception that White=Christian is not true and that Buddhism can attract a rich white man. There is an American monk in Korea and, guess what, he is well known not because his teachings are outstanding but because he is American. This makes some people reflect here. The day there will be a Black American monk in Korea, another important step will be done.

So, I am not in favour of a ban of Christian evangelicals from Mongolia as soon as they do not burn buddhist temples and stupas. And if they use tricks to make converts, if they have harsh words about Shamanism, well, as long as people keep in peace...

On the other hand, there is some bad side-effects to a rapid growth of Christianity, as it happened in Korea: the denominations here are Americans (except the Catholics, which was introduced here by French missionaries), which creates a wrong representation in Korean people, who almost never go abroad, of what is Christianity. Christianity is diverse, but it is not in Korea. So, in other worlds, this massive conversions to Christianity has been part of the americanisation of the Korean society. So there is a cultural impact. It has been too fast. I think Hugo Chavez is reacting against this aspect of missionaries (or not. Who can pretend to really understand Chavez?...)

As a final note, I would like to say that the number of buddhist converts do matter a little for buddhists... It's a practical and statistical argument. As a buddhist, I wish to be reborn *and* be fortunate enough to meet a master again, in order to progress further towards liberation. If the number of buddhists decreases too much, the probability that a master be reborn in a buddhist society decreases as well (a master is also the product of an environment). Look at India, Indonesia, Bengale. So, even if buddhists should not engage in proselityzing, but BE instead good examples themselves, there is a real risk that masters become more and more uncommon. And, as I use to say, a monastery without enlightened abbot is a building...

I just read this interview of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=9,1568,0,0,1,0
about Bhutan, which is relevant to this current thread (I think Bhutan is the only independent country which is officially Buddhist, and they refuse the entrance to Christian missionaries.)

Hello everyone, trust y’all doing well. Been preoccupied of late with some of the usual trivia, but, heck, here go my belated $0.02.

I’d agree with Gonchig lam in that the people need some spiritual guidance, just like anywhere else in the world. Consider their situation. Up until the ‘90s the book said that we were the lumpen proletariat (dirt-poor working class), struggling against the capitalist/imperialist exploiters/aggressors, our defining values were liberty, equality and fraternity (tactically borrowed from la Révolution Française by the Soviets) and the common ownership (e.g. by the state) of productive assets was the right arrangement. Solidarity above all. Well, never mind the glaring shortcomings when it came to the actual implementation of the slogans, the important fact is that there were some. The implicit assumption was that these were the values of the society.

Come the paradigm shift of the Berlin wall and the transition to Adam Smith’s invisible hand where one’s obsession with his/her material well-being is nothing short of noble virtue, whereby, by definition, social equality/justice is incidental at most. And yes, people now are subscribing to this new rulebook and are trying hard to fend for themselves every which way. “Increased competition leads to efficiency gains”. Tried and true maxim, if a touch brutal. Sadly, not much of a slogan though. Even taking openness / freedom / democracy angle, if unaccompanied by a measurable increase in the standard of living, it often draws blank stares. You usually don’t see people going “Hmmm, yeah, maybe I’ll skip lunch and dinner. I’ll get to vote though”. Also, contemporary Western consumerism does I’m afraid appear slightly morally bankrupt, at least as it is portrayed in the media. Narcissistic self-obsession, disintegration of the family, stress, loneliness, depression, shallowness (just to name a few) are perceived to be a prominent part of this model alongside the requisite material opulence of course. But that’s another topic altogether.

So we have a spiritual void, a gap to fill here. I’d agree with Christian, I don’t know if banning missionaries is desirable. Having a choice is good I think, as long as it can be an informed choice. I’d second Gonchig lam’s view that it all boils down to education. Giving people an opportunity to assess the relative merits of various choices is the best tool we have, IMHO. Why? Under the microscope, Buddhism should win hands down (pls forgive my slight bias here). Firstly, it’s got the well-covered tradition/heritage/identity angle going for it. But secondly and more importantly I think, Buddhism is free of the 400 year old religion vs. science saga, being inherently empirical in style and method and constantly relying on analytical precision as best evidenced by Buddha’s words re not believing something just because he said it, but trying it out on yourself. In fact it is the tradition of reason and free enquiry at its finest, and this angle does not get adequate coverage IMO. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of Christianity, which suffers from a predominantly obscurantist interpretations. Best example is the ever-shrinking God of the gaps, where everything currently beyond the reach of science is ascribed to God (e.g. intelligent design, young-earth and whatnot which was discussed here not long ago I think). The confusion-inducing, indefinable, free-for-all God. Just on a side note, I like nothing better than being targeted by some nice missionary folk itching to educate me. We usually end up having a fruitful discussion.

I am not calling for some kind of religious competition here. Just a more level playing field. The presence of Western monks is invaluable in this respect and I hope Gonchig lam does come back to Mongolia soon. But again, as he said these things take time, and in due time things should start moving. It takes time to train youngsters, instill moral discipline, wisdom and knowledge. Can’t happen overnight. Also, contemporary Buddhist practice in Mongolia leaves a lot to be desired. It is in some ways analogous to the situation in Korea per Christian’s description, where the emphasis is on the religious aspects such as rituals, fortune telling, etc (commendable of course) and much less on the spiritual side, with the potential of Buddhism to provide an absolute moral yardstick and add to the values of the society going unfulfilled. BTW, usually I like to draw a clear line between religion and morality, however, they are not mutually exclusive, in fact religion is often a vehicle of choice, for aiding ethics, morals and values.

G. Wilson’s brings up some excellent points, including religious and economic freedoms. However, let me try and address some of the questions. “Where is the distinction between these two claims?” See the paragraph above on obscurantism vs. free enquiry. In fact I am surprised you would make such statements given your self admitted “I'm not familiar with Buddhist doctrine” statement. Going to another country for some time, I would have thought that one might have displayed a tiny bit of curiosity in local traditions and customs. Re the beneficial activities – my sincere thanks. I hope they were in the spirit of unconditional compassion per Buddhist “doctrine” as you put it, without strings attached.

Regards to all,

Bolor

Bolor, you made a great comment here. I wish I could summarize my thoughts as you do, with so much (English) style...

Would you allow me some nitpicking, though? (C'est mon peche mignon -- enfin, j'espere qu'il est mignon...) Actually, I agree 100% with what you wrote, I just wanted to add something on a tiny point.

It is true what you say about the emphasis in Buddhism on self-experiment instead of belief, but there is a crucial point in the doctrine which *is* belief: karma (therefore rebirths, ethics etc.) It is possible to get an intuition, after years of practice, of what is karma, by observing oneself closely, but it is still a matter of faith for most Buddhists. I found that the ousiders (i.e. non-buddhists) rapidly -- and correctly -- identify karma with belief and, because of its central position in the doctrine, it is considered as potentially embarassing. Jorge Luis Borges and Alicia Jurado wrote it, for example.

Also, in Vajrayana, devotion to the master is considered to be the fastest path to liberation (see the utmost importance of the guruyoga). We also a similar way in the Orthodox monasteries (in Greece, at Mount Athos, but also in -- pre-1917 -- Russia, with the star(i)etz).

As far as the relationship between Buddhism and science is concerned, the media, mainly reporting the involvement of the Dalai Lama in neurosciences, give a harmonious image. But I tend to think that the lack of problems is that modern science was not born in Asia and Buddhism was born in Asia (tongue-in-cheek statement). By "science", I roughly mean _esprit critique_, observation, reproducible experiments and theories of the real (best if falsifiable) etc. We find in the buddhist scriptures theories like cosmology (Mount Meru, kalpas), astrology, geomancy, history of the different stages of humanity (in some tantras), concepts like atoms, continuity which could fit on the scope of science -- not to speak of Madhyamika, which I am still not sure, especially in its Prasangika form, if it acknowledges the modern scientific approach, even at a conventional level. I forgot acupuncture (which still lacks a scientific ground), which is not in itself buddhist, but is closely connected to a concept of the body (channels, winds, drops), or form in general, which is accepted in Buddhism (as well as Hinduism).

Ooops...

"which could fit on the scope of science"

I meant: "which could be confronted to science"

Two things:

While I understand that the reality of karma and rebirth is inaccessible to most of us by direct perception, I've always felt it was incorrect to place them under the rubric of "belief". One can understand them to be true through inferential reasoning and the close philosophical inquiry that demonstrates every other possibility as fatally flawed.

This feeds into scientific method, also. The Buddha achieved a result (enlightenment) and taught three general methods -- the Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana paths to enlightenment -- depending on the potential of his disciples. For 2600 years, those who have applied the Buddha's method have found his results perfectly reproducible and have declared their experience of relative and ultimate truth to be identical with what the Buddha described.

Christian, merci pour ton compliment. I’d expect nothing less from you – feel free to demolish my blather at your leisure! Your comments are always informative and interesting.

Sweet and short reply above by Gonchig lam took care of the questions raised, I think. Of course, there is extensive literature out there dealing with the topic of Buddhism and science. Anyways, below are just some of my thoughts from a Western perspective (don’t mean to preach to the choir here he-he-he).

Christian, of course you’re right about modern science being the product of the West (triumph over formidable obstacles) and Buddhism being that of Asia. However, Buddhist philosophy does make extensive use of the scientific method, only that it deals with the nature of consciousness (basically ourselves) as opposed to the external environment (the subject matter of the Western science – I’ll come back to the subject of psychology later). All in all, I think there is very little overlap, both absolutely and relatively. A complete and correct worldview should probably include an understanding of both.

When examining the external world, one requires ever more refined tools in order to obtain precise empirical measurements that satisfy the predictive power of a given hypothesis/theory. Examples might include a powerful new particle accelerator at CERN or the Hubble telescope. There is no doubt that the scientific progress is heavily dependent on the improvement of the measuring tools.

Dealing with the nature of consciousness, presents an acute shortage of available tools. The only one at our disposal would be the consciousness itself. In order for this introspective approach to work, one would need to fine-tune one’s mind, removing one flaw after another through meditation. I am not sure how else the scientific method could be applied here. A megateraflop supercomputer tracking the many billion individual neurons / neurotransmitters / synapses and many trillions more of ever shifting combinations / highways seems beyond the feasible. Even if it were somehow achieved, the fatal shortcomings from a philosophical standpoint would probably make the experiment close to worthless.

Also, I think it is worth mentioning the modern science’s neglect of the subject. Clearly, some of the proposed explanations such as materialism/physicalism, functionalism, etc fall far short with lots of unanswered questions due to internal incoherencies. Also, psychology is a relatively young field with only about a century worth of serious work (was too long stuck on behavioralism). Even from an applied perspective, the current pervasiveness of chronic mental health problems is a testimony to this neglect.

I think Dalai Lama said that if science proves Buddhism wrong, then he will change his views. It might have a tough time trying to do that.

Konchog -- Yes, philosophy and logics can help to convince oneself that karma is a valid concept (inherently non-contradictory, enabling corresponding percepts to be examined etc.) but logics always rely on an agreement on some axioms (either the one in the considered theory itself or the so-called logical ones, which state the kind of allowed deductive steps about the statements _in_ the theory). What do we do with the axioms? What are the axioms, by the way?

In formal logics (I am familiar with the field), axioms are true by definition, but this amounts to a tautology, that is to say nothing (new). The great French mathematician Poincare was skeptical about the power of formal logics in part due to that reality (I cannot resist quoting him. When he learnt about the Russell paradox, he said: "Oh, logics is not infertile, after all: it engenders paradoxes..."). But I am digressing.

I think that logics, as Madhyamika, can "only" help a buddhist to _correct_ his views (which is already a _tour de force_, of course), but we must believe in the logics itself (until we gain some direct insight about the reality). No way out of this (language is circular: there is no meta-language out of a convention, i.e. a temporary agreement).

A friend of mine, who has no clear religion, says that he could agree on the concept of karma but he doesn't accept that it _logically_ entails the rebirths (this position may be induced by a Christian background), which is fundamental to Buddhism. He says also that he can follow me from the Four Noble Truths but he has a problem with karma latter, which seems to come without premisses nor warning. But I am not qualified to teach, it is over the counter, casual, conversations.

Bolor -- Yes, there is a shortage of means for studying the consciousness, and a certain lack of interest. The success, especially in France, of psychanalysis (in particular based on Freud (suspicious) works), may also distract from considering other kinds of approaches. There is also a need for combining multiple expertises, which is always something very difficult to achieve (mono-obsessive research is often favoured by the academia).

Yes, I remember the Dalai Lama saying that if science one day disproves the reality of rebirths, he would change his views accordingly. I can't imagine how such an open-mindedness is possible... Maybe it is because he has some remembrances of past lives?:-)

As a side and final note, let me add that there seems to be a strange relationship between Buddhism and rational thinking, at least in the profane mind.

Frederic Lenoir, in his book "Le bouddhisme en France" (which is a monography based on his PhD in sociology), showed that a majority of the French people whose ascent is not Buddhist by culture and either simply attracted by the ideas of Buddhism or technically Buddhists, were also quite strongly attracted by esoterism, and that they often discovered buddhism through the esoteric litterature (the famous Lobsang Rampa forgery is very often cited). I also could check this in my little sangha.

And, at the same time, Buddhism is sold in the media as a rational religion, the Dalai Lama involvement in connection with neurosciences often cited. This focus stems from a strongly persistent misunderstanding of the nineteenth century, as Roger-Pol Droit and Lenoir showed in two other books.

Christian – interesting...well you seem to agree with the main point though, right?

Without going into too much detail, for me karma is more or less “what goes around - comes around”. The fact that one cannot positively prove this kind of hypothesis using scientific method does not entail its rejection. Quite the contrary.

Also, I feel that the flaw in formal logic you highlight pertains to all closed systems with externally defined properties (axioms here), e.g. Godel’s theorem. I think it is an argument IN FAVOR of the Buddhist view and against the physicalist one, namely that the mind is formless and unique in it’s capability to impute meaning on the phenomena, in this case define the axioms (fatal shortcoming of all AI).

Bolor -- I do agree that philosophy can be an important tool for correcting the views, either positively or negatively (by excluding what is not the correct understanding), but I doubt that it can convince a non-buddhist (I don't trust the stories of buddhist masters overcoming hindu masters in debate, or even buddhists masters against buddhist masters, as in the improperly called Lhasa Concile).

So I still think that karma is a matter of belief for most of us. Of course, with the training of mind, one can become aware of this interplay between causes and consequences, but there will always be a step based on faith in order to get to the rebirths. I guess that, because I am a Westerner, and because I like science, I am more inclined to see this step. Don't know.

I don't think logic is flawed, it is at the same time a powerful means for knowledge and an infinite sum of tautologies. Maybe the real knowledge is in the deduction itself ("the proof tree"), but in this case a computer should have a knowledge. Gilles Dowek (from INRIA), a logician who does great popular science, once said that if a computer can prove a non-trivial property in number theory, how could we argue that it has no knowledge of what is an integer? On the other hand, he said, would we say that a telescope "sees" a planet? He seems to lean to the idea that a computer is different from a telescope.

Funnily enough, Godel had the feeling that his incompleteness theorems were a kind of support to his belief in God. Maybe because it seemed to him that this intrinsic limitation of logic was an apology of the immaterial soul. Bertrand Russell did believe in God but not in an eternal soul (he also wrote an excellent "Why am I not a Christian", check the Web). So I don't think we can find an argument in favor of the buddhist view here:-)

On a more technical note, it is considered by historians that the Godel's theorems were rather a rebuttal to the formalist approach of mathematics, but not to the materialist (or "physicalist") view. It is risky to apply Godel's results to something outside the mathematics, in particular the physics. Very slippy...

Personally, I tend to use logic as a tool (in my research, for example) but I would avoid believing in logic itself (as opposed to believe in the theorems or the formulae of the logic) or the axioms.

I also think that it is mainly a way for refuting statements, more than a way of discovering something new. In this sense I feel in agreement with the Madhyamika or the Ancient Greek skeptic school (Pyrrhon) approach, but I still cannot understand what status is confered to the physical laws in these frameworks, especially in the Madhyamika Prasangika. I mean, objects exist, independently from the mind, without being things, they are free from inherent existence. But what do we do with the physical laws, which describe so precisely the universe? This concept does not appear in the (few) treaty I read. It doesn't seem a concept in Asian philosophy.

Another topic of concern I didn't mentionned is the use, and maybe abuse, of analogy in Madhyamika and other buddhist philosophies. Analogy is the highway to Hell (see _Prodiges et vertiges de l'analogie_, J. Bouveresse).

That is why I guess the compatibility between the buddhism and science, or rational thinking, is not clear to me.

Of couse, it is not a problem for my personal practice, and I do believe strongly in karma etc, this is just a theoretical issue.

Alright Christian, I understand what you're saying. However I see nothing there to make me change my mind re the following (from my previous posts in response to Wilson's question):

- Buddhism is empirical in method, much like acience
- Modern science and Buddhism have/had little overlap concerning the subject matters tackled
- Modern science's neglect, lack of tools for consciousness
- This yields the present/future harmony between the two

All this reminds me of the utmost importance of PRACTICE, besides waxing lyrical...

Bolor, I agree 100% on all your points. As usual, your summaries are insightful, and even help me understanding what I say:-)

Hi Gonchig Lama,

How many times do i have to tell you that Buddhism is not mongolian identity. My life has been touched by Christian missionaries. If i did not met them, i would have turned into total loser/drinker which are many mongolians.
Please do not insult Mongolian Christians??? You say we Mongolian Christians form only 1% of Mongolian population. Where do you get this number??? Do not try to diminise us? You have no right to talk on behalf of Mongolians??? Do all Mongolians despise Christan Missionaries??? I do not think so?? Majority of Mongolians welcome missionaries with open heart and mind and accept Lord Jesus Christ??

I found following websites for those critical of buddhism. Check them out and let's defeat these Lamas/parasites of Mongolian society??
www.american-buddha.com
www.trimondi.de

I am planning on translating the book "Shadow of Dalai Lama".

Baatar

Christian convert Nyamsuren, a 21-year-old recent college graduate, first set foot in a church on Christmas Eve in 2002, when a friend persuaded him to come along. Like many Mongolians, he uses one name.

"At first I didn't believe. I just liked the atmosphere. There was a sense of communion, of belonging," Nyamsuren said. "Later, I liked the teachings as well."

Poor and an orphan, he always needed money. "So I started making money in bad ways,'' he said without elaborating. His church helped him turn his life around. "I learned that what I was doing was a sin."

Why you don't like that young people like Nyamsuren turning to morality because of Missionaries?? He said his church helped him turn his life around??
Does Buddhist temple help one turn his life around???

Not for me??
Stop bad mouthing about Mongolian Christians??
Mind your own business and talk about how to clean the Gandantegchiglen Temple?? It is now very dirty????
Talk about corruption within Buddhist clergy??

We christians do not talk about Buddhists?? Is HH Dalai Lama talking bad about Christians??? You are supposed to follow him? right? Oh,i forgot you are from Red Hat sect?? You don't have to be under HH Dalai Lama's shadow??

Who is Glenn Mullin to tell us about our heritage????
I think he should be expelled out of Mongolia for inciting hatred between religious groups?

I added, 'Any Mongol who has anything to do with them betrays his ancestors, commits treason to the present situation and is is a disgrace to future generations.'

I would like to add" any Mongolians who sides with these foreign buddhist monks which came from America and inciting religious hatred towards Mongolian Christians should not be called Mongolians".
Who are these foreign people such as Glenn Mullin and this guy what to believe??? Are they replacements of Soviet commissars??? We got rid of them before. Now these people are here in our country telling us what to to believe???
I am sure this monk would delete my posts???
My word to you is leave us Mongolians alone??? Get out of Mongolia?? We do not need you buddhist missionary from red hat sect??? Go back to your country America??? Mongolia survived without Buddhism and will so in the future???

Baatar –

Of course I won’t delete these comments. They’re very illuminating. I will ask, however, that you take a deep breath and count to ten before commenting again. Or, apply what I call “the 24-hour rule” – when I’m angry or emotionally stirred up by someone, I try to wait 24 hours before responding, so I can do so from a calmer place and create less unnecessary conflict.

The issue we’re discussing is controversial, I know, but is important in understanding the cultural dynamics in contemporary Mongolia. The issue is: what are the detriments or benefits to the evangelical Christian habit of inserting themselves immediately into culturally vulnerable nations such as post-Communist Mongolia? I’m happy you’re describing some benefit to yourself and others, but please tone it down.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love the authentic teachings of Jesus. I’ve always felt that if the majority of people just strove to live their lives according to his advice given in the Sermon on the Mount, we’d live in a virtual paradise. Here are some of Jesus’ words from that sermon you might find useful right now:

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you…”

“You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you: Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also…”

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect…”

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

The reaction of Mogolian Christian is interesting but too aggressive. You can disagree calmly, your arguments will be taken more seriously then (I talk from personal experience).

Konchog -- Do you realize that the Sermon of the Mount you cite, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. ", is exactly what can reinforce the righteousness which is at the root of the aggressivity of our friend? He is the one who believes that you, or Red Hats, or Americans, or foreigners, or Buddhists are enemies of the Christian Mongolia. He feels persecuted because of the name of Jesus. He feels he is living the times of early Christianity, which gives him a strong hope and acute sense of struggle.

Don't forget that the New Testament, despite a short history before being frozen (first by the "heretic" Marcion), is the melting of different theologies, different echoes of the early Christians struggles; in particular it is true that the first Christians were despised (for good reasons in the mind of the Romans and others, but I can't develop here) and the New Testament keep traces of this.

Because of history (though not only), you can easily find aggressive statements or actions from part of Jesus, as well as ones expressing the utmost love. Let us not forget that in order to understand the reaction of some new Christian converts in Asia, because they read the Bible free from a cultural background were the Loving Jesus is the main figure (as in the West), as well as the caring Mother Mary, so they clearly fetch the parts of the Bible which are more aggressive.

Coming back to what was said, Mongolian Christian (the one who wrote, not all the Mongolian Christians, of course) should question the role of the Buddhists in the past of Mongolia, its link to the _modern_ Mongolian identity and what the Buddhists are missing in terms of communication (image) and actions towards the common people which does not nowadays feel that it is obvious to respect or to indentify themselves with Buddhism.

I don't know nothing about Mongolia, but I can read some points in what Christian Mongolian says:
(1) the accusation of corruption of the buddhist clergy in the pre-communist era;
(2) the identity of mongolians is under heavy reconstruction nowadays;
(3) the accusation that buddhists are nothing but sweeping old monasteries in order to restore their old power, instead of caring for the people.

In particular, he asks: do the monks ask the people who come to them to stop drinking vodka? Of course, if Mongolian Christian new the Buddhist scriptures, he would know that the Buddha talked clearly about alcohol drinking, but do the monk talk about it? Because of the loss of knowledge in modern Mongolia of the basics of the buddhist teaching, the monks have to remind the basics to the people: do not harm, do not steal, do not drink etc. Many people, especially Christians in Korea, want to have clear binary distinctions: good versus bad. I know it is not the style of teaching in Buddhism, but I don't think it is incompatible to teach this way the persons who need to hear this kind of discourse. It is buddhist to say: "Stop drinking, because you arm yourself and others etc."

In Korea, a buddhist friend likes to have raw fish: you choose your living fish and the cook kills it and prepares it for you. She was surprise when I told her that Buddha explicitly mentionned that it is wrong to ask someone to kill in your name, this creates a bad karma, also because you take pleasure in the eating. This ignorance is wide-spread in Korea, for reasons I don't have time to explore here (the communism is not the problem here), it should be obvious, but I am pretty sure the monks don't talk about it.

I think the buddhists, especially Asian buddhist clergies, have a major role to review how they relate to the people. Another point in Korea is why do the monks only come to the city only for studying, for visiting parents, for shopping, or going to the bank instead of living for a period in town where they could talk to the people, *living among them*, them return to the monastery (for example), then return etc.?

I missed this one: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Well, this is not a good base for morality nowadays, where religions ought to coexist peacefully. As I said earlier, we should promote: "Do not do to the others what you would not want them to do you."

Indeed, this Jesus' statement can be easily interpreted by a Christian as an encouragement to mission, because they believe that they have been saved from the Evil, from Hell, by missionaries, so they feel they should themselves do the same to others and become a missionary or encourage and fund them.

Asian converts, especially evangelists, really have an acute feeling of eternal Life versus eternal Death or Hell, now and here, which is as dangerous as a matchbox in a haystack and, at the same time, is good. Do you remember the lie of the burning house in Buddha's teaching? This feeling of urgency to practice is also very important but can become a poison.

So the forementionned Jesus' teaching is a BIG problem now and here, because it involves a lot of projections from part of the Christians, mixed with good intentions (no doubt about it), which makes the whole situation extremely hard to deal with peacefully.

I remember a Buddhist master explaining the difference between love and compassion, the former involving projections ("I want you to be happy [as I am or because I can't stand seeing you this way]") and the latter not ("I am fully present and open. I could help.").

Mongolian Christian --- As a Bible reader you surely knows that Jesus *never* mentionned to not drink alcohol in his teachings, but, on the contrary, favoured the drinking ("this is my blood")? And now you know that Buddha explicitly told that it was BAD to drink and why.

I forgot to comment on this, but it is an illustration of something I said earlier: the cultural impact of missions in Asia. Indeed, Christianity is very diverse, but most missionnaries (Americans, Koreans) belong to American Protestant denominations, i.e. an aspect of the culture of the USA.

Many European Christians, including protestants, find incredible the debates in the USA about pedophilia in the Catholic Church (linked -- why? -- to celibacy, or Creationism/Intelligent Design in public schools, the fact that the Ten Commandments are found in justice courts, "In God we trust" is everywhere etc.

This fixation about alcohol, even if it is indeed useful, is typically American and NOT Christian at all.

As a side note, Koreans are surprised when I am asked what I will do for Thanksgiving and I answer that it is only an American event, as Halloween, and both are nowhere to be found in the Bible, that Thanksgiving has to do with a harvest fest (as the traditional Korean Juseok) among some protestant immigrants.

Konchog -- Is there a way to put on the homepage of the blog a list of the last posts? We have to dig to find recent posts, which is not cool.

Baatar (aka Mongolian christian) --- You say you plan to translate "The shadow of the Dalai Lama", so you are aware of the agenda of the authors, their personal history, why, once close to the Dalai lama, they now try to bring him down by all means? Then this is contradictory with your positive statement about the Dalai lama, who indeed never speak badly of Christians, missionaries or not.

In general, be careful about the real intentions of the authors, who they are, which is their history. I don't say that all what they say is wrong, but there is an objective which is very suspicious. In other words, the aggressivity in this book should make you think that there is something behind and also in the lines.

Therefore, if you translate this book, you will be responsible of the hate it generates in Mongolia. Think twice before taking such a decision.

Anyway, thank you for the links you gave, I knew them before hand but it is good to share them here, so everyone can make is own mind. But be careful, dear readers, the Trimondis are NOT scholars and they are NOT practioners of the tantras they criticized, in particular the kalachakra-tantra. Like ex-christians or ex-smokers, they are bitter and excessive in their critics.

About this particular tantra, Frederic Lenoir in France, who is a learned and devout catholic having a deep understanding of Buddhism, found many common points between this tantra and the Christian eschatology (Google a bit to find it), so, for sure, the point of view of the Trimondis is not the only one possible...

On the other hand, this kind of critics are assume a naive take on what is buddhism and then destroy the fairy tale. This is good, but it is much better to read critics from real scholars with no hidden agenda (like promoting Christian protestantism), especially the ones by Bernard Faure (in English), a Stanford professor, and Brian Victoria (_Zen at War_ and _Zen war storied_), another professor and Zen practionner.

Check sources, history and background before believing what you read. I hope you apply the same care when reading the Bible.

I mean, the authors of "The Shadow of the Dalai lama" even chose pseudonyms which reveal their state of mind: Victor and Victoria (Trimondi)... These people believe, or want us to believe that they uncovered the conspiracy of the century and that they lead a war they will win.

Again: read with caution.

I just realize the irony of refering to Western critics of the Buddhism for an Asian audience (as Mongolia).

If the corruption and bad deeds of the past Buddhist clergy were so obvious to the Mongolians, why the need to refer to the (pseudo) authority of a Westerner? At least, a Mongolian should write a book for Mongolians, right?

Again, I am afraid we are in front of a case of deculturation, or syndrome of loss of identity, and that the culprit has probably to be searched in the communist period and the fascination for the values exported by the USA (some of which are good, by the way, the point here is that many do not discriminate among them).

It's a social and historical (Mongolian) issue, not a religious issue.

Dear Gonchig Lama and the Christian,

Thanks for your replies. Those were good. Most people think of Tibetan Buddhism or Lamaism as identity of Mongol nation which is not true at all.

Founder of Mongol nation, Great Chinggis Khaan favoured no especial relgion.He did not favour Lamaism. Nestorianism/Christian religion from the Syria) was flourishing during 13th century in Mongolia. Mother of Khubilai Khaan was Christian. Mongol forces fought with Muslims in the middle east with Christian Armenians. Grandson of the Great Khan, Munkh Khaan asked then Roman Pope to send 500 qualified Christian missionaries to Mongolia. Buddhist influence to Mongolia was started when Altan Khan referred the title Dalai Lama to Tibetan leader.
Good news of the Lord again started to spread in Mongolia by beginning of 90s.
Today Christians are struggling for equality Mongolia. Buddhism is accepted as a religion of rich Mongolians who have family lamas. Christianity is about hope, love and equality. According to Mongolian constitution, no religion is favoured by Government, be it Lamaism or Christianity.

The Shadow of the Dalai Lama is book which would open a dialogue about Lamaism in Mongolia. Currently no such book exists in Mongolia. Critique of Lamaism comes from western and russian authors. Lamaism is very srong in Mongolia and if a Mongolian writes such a book, he or she would be immediately persecuted by Lamaists and it is very dangerous and even life threatening.
Revival of Mongolian Christianity would create a strong counter balance against Buddhism in Mongolia. It is the hope in and salvation offered by our Lord Jesus Christ would ultimately prevail in Mongolia despite strong opposition from Lamaists... It is the Lamaists who are afraid to lose their unlimited power over Mongolians and want to keep Mongolia in medieval tradition.
Gonchig Lama, i know this is your domain. Let us not incite hatred towards Mongolian Christians. Mongolian Christian web sites does not have such an attitude towards Lamaism.
To spread the good news is duty of every Christians. All aimag centers in Mongolia have Christian home worship group or churches similarly to Buddhist temples. Buddhism and Christianity is co-existing peacefully. I might not translate the shadow of Dalai Lama as it is very sensitive book.

Jesus said do not judge others as you will be judged.


Baatar

There is so much lies about Christian missionaries?? They lie that missionaries give food, money, clothes to convert people. That is lie. Who are these people to say what religion is good for Mongolia?? It is up to Mongolians to decide. We do not need any more Soviet style Commissars/Konchog or Christian/to tell us what to believe and what is dangerous??
I hear illegal Mongolian workers in South Korea are helped by South Korean Christian Churches?? I never heard a Buddhist temple helped a poor Mongolian illegal in South Korea. South Korean buddhists sponsored the publication of several books of Purevbat Lama as his wife is Korean. Maybe Konchog Lama knows it. I read that Korean Buddhists fought with each other couple of days over temple building or something.

I saw the movie "Compassion of Christ" and cried for our Lord who suffered for us. Dear Lord Jesus, please make my faith in you firmer than nail and unshakable than rock? May you become the foundation of our lives? May you have mercy over our Mongol people and deliver them from their sinful way of life??? They do not realize that lying and stealing and other things are sin??? May the number of Mongolian Christians multiply and become strong?? May no one talk bad about us??

In your name

Amen

Baatar, Mongolian follower of Christ the Saviour

Baatar --

Thank you for continuing to participate here, but I have a couple of suggestions that might improve your experience.

The first is to learn something about Vajrayana Buddhism in general and its history in your country specifically. You should know that we consider the term "Lamaism" quaint at best and insultingly ignorant at worst. Our path is not one of worship of the lama in the misleading way this term implies. It is developing a relationship with an authentic spiritual master who possesses transcendant qualities of wisdom and compassion so that we might awaken from a state of ignorance, which produces endless cycles of suffering, to a state of enlightenment, which is beyond suffering.

Your own scholars will tell you that Buddhism flowed into Mongolia in three separate waves. The first pre-dated even its early arrival in China, with the Buddha's teachings brought by travelers along the Silk Road more than 2000 years ago. The second was in the mid-13th c when Chinggis Khan's grandson, Godan Khan, compelled Sakya Pandita to come from Tibet. The third was in the 16th c. when the Altan Khan you cite met Sonam Gyatso from Tibet and called him "Dalai Lama". It's true that because of their conquests, Mongols were exposed to all the major and minor faiths of the time. But whether you like it or not, the vast majority deliberately chose Vajrayana Buddhism and it dominated your culture for 800 years. I recognize Mongolia's generally good quality of religious tolerance that stems from Chinggis' Vassa -- I reference it in the post. The issue at hand is whether the evangelical strain of Christianity's habit of roaring into vulnerable cultures at the earliest possible opportunity is beneficial or detrimental to the overall health of the culture.

I understand your concern, by the way, that the Mongolian religious power structure underwent a period of degeneration. I discuss it repeatedly. All paths that organize into churches seem to go through these periods of decay and renewal. You wouldn't want me to go through the extensive list of times when the various Christian churches went through this, would you? It's not pretty.

My other suggestion is to stop using the comments section here for overwrought prayers for the triumph and dominance of your point of view. That doesn't advance the discussion and it's obnoxious.

Baatar -- I don't know what the Korean missionaries are doing in Mongolia, but I suspect that many follow the same habits as in Korea, which means: aggressive mission.

So let me talk about South Korea.

For example, close to my apartment, members of a Church offer from time to time yoghurts to passers-by and ask them to come to visit their church and pray. Do you call this a gift or a trick?

A Korean friend of mine was converted to Christianity in the 70's; he was raised by his grand-mother and were really poor; members of a church came to his home and offered his grand-mother with rice and in exchange my friend had to attend church. His grand-mother was a buddhist, but she accepted the offer.

These are facts that you cannot deny. Now, is this happening in Mongolia? I have no idea, but I know a Mongolian student who told me that (he had no religion, if that matters). Anyway, this happened and happens in Korea. I can tell.

One more info for you. During the 90's, several budddhist temples and shamanist worship places were burnt down or salvaged by protestant Christians in Korea. Even BBC World recorded the events. You can educate yourself by following this link to the work of Prof. Tedesco:

http://www.buddhapia.com/eng/tedesco/

Again: is this happening in Mongolia? I don't know, but it happened in Korea. No doubt.

So the question is: will it happen in Mongolia too?

"I never heard a Buddhist temple helped a poor Mongolian illegal in South Korea."

Neither did I. One reason may be that Korean temples are in the mountains and illegal workers are in the cities. Maybe the Christians expected to make another convert and the monks not. Or maybe Korean monks don't like to break the immigration laws (which are in the top 10 of the world most strict immigration laws) and go to jail. Maybe it is because there is no strong tradition among Buddhists to be involved in charities? There is paper of Prof. Tedesco on that issue on the site I recommended before.

What do you think? Should Koreans break their own laws, anyway? It is maybe simple to answer because you are a Mongolian and you don't fear the police here.

It is true that there are problems about money in the Buddhist clergy in South Korea, but most of the time the problems are in the Protestant churches and these are big problems. Do you know why? Because Korean Christians donate 10% of their salary *at least* to their churches and let me remind you that the biggest church (in number in members) is to be found in Seoul, Korea (The Full Gospel Church or Yeuido), not America. There is a huge amount of money there (free of taxes, by the way).

Another interesting point to show you that the picture is not so simple as you may think: did you know that in Korea it is not unusual that the son of a pastor becomes himself a pastor of the same church? Doesn't this sounds like a dynasty to you? Yes, authority is passed to the sons.

In summary:

(1) I never said which religion is better for Mongolia (because this sentence has no meaning, anyway).

(2) You seem to have a problem with the Staline. Why don't you try comparisons with Hitler or Hirohito for a while?

(3) You often say "we" as if, because you are Mongolian and I am not, entitles you to speak in the name of all Mongolians. I never say "we, the French", or "we, the Spaniards" (my family is Spanish).

As a final note, let me encourage you to read again Matthew X:5-6 and Marc VII:25-27, because you seem to believe that Jesus came to save the Mongolians...

Hi Baatar,

Take a chill pill mate, what's wrong with you? Unable to sustain a civilized and reasoned discussion? What's up with all the outlandish allegations and name-calling, man? List your main points and let's discuss them, let's examine the evidence for & against and make a reasoned conclusion. Who taught you that a loud talk is a substitute for reason?

Dear Gonchig and Christian,

I am very sorry for my attitude and name calling in your domain. I realize that i was too aggressive. I was carried away by emotional thoughts of everybody is against christians.

Thank you Mongol Dude for your post. It gave me good advice.

I very much enjoy reading you guys discussion.

With best wishes

Baatar

Hi Baatar,

It's good to have you here. We have a lot to learn from a Mongolian Christian as you, since you give a different perspective about Mongolia, which is always fruitful.

You only have friends here, even if we may disagree sometimes...

Baatar,

Look, try to get a grip on yourself. Don't be like a yo-yo, bouncing up and down. Like Christian said, your presence adds to the diversity of experiences and opinions here - so try to contribute in a more mature and consistent manner, - I'm sure it will be appreciated by all!

The comments to this entry are closed.


Mongolia Bird List: "L" = Lifer

  • Amur Falcon -- L
  • Arctic (Hoary) Redpoll -- L
  • Arctic Warbler -- L
  • Asian Brown Flycatcher -- L
  • Asian Dowitcher -- L
  • Asian Short-toed Lark -- L
  • Azure Tit -- L
  • Bank Swallow
  • Bar-headed Goose -- L
  • Barn Swallow
  • Bean Goose -- L
  • Black Grouse -- L
  • Black Stork -- L
  • Black Woodpecker -- L
  • Black-billed Magpie
  • Black-eared Kite -- L
  • Black-headed Gull -- L
  • Black-tailed Godwit -- L
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Blyth's Pipit -- L
  • Bohemian Waxwing -- L
  • Booted Eagle -- L
  • Brown Shrike -- L
  • Carrion Crow
  • Chinese Penduline Tit -- L
  • Chukar -- L
  • Cinereous Vulture
  • Citrine Wagtail -- L
  • Coal Tit
  • Common Cuckoo
  • Common Goldeneye
  • Common Greenshank -- L
  • Common Kestrel
  • Common Merganser
  • Common Pochard -- L
  • Common Raven
  • Common Redpoll
  • Common Redshank -- L
  • Common Rosefinch -- L
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Common Shelduck -- L
  • Common Snipe -- L
  • Common Starling
  • Common Swift
  • Common Tern
  • Crested Lark -- L
  • Curlew Sandpiper -- L
  • Dark-throated Thrush -- L
  • Daurian Jackdaw -- L
  • Daurian Partridge -- L
  • Daurian Redstart -- L
  • Demoiselle Crane -- L
  • Desert Warbler -- L
  • Desert Wheatear -- L
  • Dusky Thrush -- L
  • Dusky Warbler -- L
  • Eared Grebe
  • Eurasian Bullfinch -- L
  • Eurasian Coot -- L
  • Eurasian Curlew -- L
  • Eurasian Griffon
  • Eurasian Hobby
  • Eurasian Jay
  • Eurasian Nutcracker -- L
  • Eurasian Nuthatch -- L
  • Eurasian Skylark
  • Eurasian Sparrowhawk
  • Eurasian Spoonbill -- L
  • Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker -- L
  • Eurasian Tree Sparrow
  • Eurasian Treecreeper -- L
  • Eurasian Wigeon -- L
  • Eurasian Wryneck -- L
  • Eyebrowed Thrush -- L
  • Falcated Duck -- L
  • Fork-tailed Swift -- L
  • Gadwall
  • Garganey -- L
  • Godlewski's Bunting -- L
  • Goldcrest -- L
  • Golden Eagle
  • Gray Heron
  • Gray Wagtail -- L
  • Great Cormorant
  • Great Crested Grebe
  • Great Gray Shrike -- L
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Great Tit
  • Greater Short-toed Lark -- L
  • Greater Spotted Eagle -- L
  • Green Sandpiper -- L
  • Green-winged Teal
  • Greenish Warbler -- L
  • Hawfinch -- L
  • Hazel Grouse -- L
  • Hen/Northern Harrier
  • Herring Gull
  • Hill Pigeon -- L
  • Hoopoe
  • Horned Grebe
  • Horned Lark
  • House Sparrow
  • Isabelline Shrike -- L
  • Isabelline Wheatear -- L
  • Kentish (Snowy) Plover -- L
  • Lesser Spotted Woodpecker -- L
  • Lesser Whitethroat -- L
  • Little Bunting -- L
  • Little Owl -- L
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Long-tailed Rosefinch
  • Long-tailed Tit
  • Long-toed Stint -- L
  • Mallard
  • Marsh Sandpiper
  • Meadow Bunting -- L
  • Mew Gull -- L
  • Mongolian Finch -- L
  • Mongolian Ground-jay -- L
  • Mongolian Lark -- L
  • Northern Lapwing -- L
  • Northern Pintail
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Northern Wheatear
  • Olive-backed Pipit -- L
  • Oriental Plover -- L
  • Oriental Reed Warbler -- L
  • Oriental Turtle Dove
  • Pacific Golden-plover -- L
  • Paddyfield Warbler -- L
  • Pallas' Reed Bunting -- L
  • Pallas's Leaf Warbler -- L
  • Pallas's Sandgrouse -- L
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Pied Avocet -- L
  • Pied Wheatear -- L
  • Pine Bunting -- L
  • Pine Grosbeak -- L
  • Pintail Snipe -- L
  • Red (Common) Crossbill
  • Red-billed Chough -- L
  • Red-crested Pochard -- L
  • Red-flanked Bluetail -- L
  • Red-necked Grebe
  • Red-throated Flycatcher -- L
  • Richard's Pipit -- L
  • Rock Dove
  • Rock Sparrow -- L
  • Rook -- L
  • Ruddy Shelduck -- L
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Ruff -- L
  • Rufous-tailed Robin -- L
  • Saker Falcon -- L
  • Scaly Thrush -- L
  • Sharp-tailed Sandpiper -- L
  • Siberian Accentor -- L
  • Siberian Rubythroat -- L
  • Smew -- L
  • Spotted Flycatcher -- L
  • Spotted Redshank -- L
  • Steppe Eagle -- L
  • Swan Goose -- L
  • Temminck's Stint -- L
  • Thick-billed Warbler -- L
  • Tree Pipit -- L
  • Tufted Duck -- L
  • Twite -- L
  • Upland Buzzard -- L
  • Ural Owl -- L
  • Water Pipit -- L
  • White Wagtail
  • White-cheeked Starling -- L
  • White-naped Crane -- L
  • White-winged (Two-barred) Crossbill -- L
  • White-winged Scoter
  • White-winged Tern -- L
  • Whooper Swan -- L
  • Willow Tit -- L
  • Wood Sandpiper -- L
  • Yellow-billed Grosbeak -- L
  • Yellow-browed (Inornate) Warbler -- L