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July 25, 2006


Wow! You got your mala back, amazing!

I feel your pain, truly. It's been emotional melt down for me all week. Particularly as I count the near East my second home and am loathe to see it ripped to pieces. It's like a bad magic trick, while all eyes are focused on Condi's carefully casual new hairdo, the other hand is slipping a new supply of missiles to Israel. With which they can bomb the Americans who haven't gotten out of Beiruit? As my son says, what the f*ck-ever.

The only sanity I can find out of this is to motivate my practice full on. I've discovered that the funny smelling Mongolian manuscript I bought on ebay last year is in fact a commentary on the Diamond Sutra. The very bit of dharma I wanted to work on next. So I'll pray for compassion for a world that needs it, and stick to my studies, and hope for the best.

Glad to hear about your mala. Very very typical Mongolian story, at least in my experience!

hi - I'm a lurker here and have been reading you for a little wail. I just want to say I love the blog and I almost fell out of my chair to hear that you found your mala. I felt so sad that you had lost that. I have started to sit and I 'm learning about attachment, and dharma - wow was that a tough test for you. So glad you have it back.keep writing!jill

I am an Mongolian. It was enjoying to read your post
You know Mongolians are quite happy with Mr Bush. George.W. Bush will be remembered as good US president who visited Mongolia, first from USA


Jill -- I love it when people de-lurk! Welcome!

Honestly, if losing a mala is the biggest challenge I face...I was bummed, and the replacement mala and I weren't getting along, but such things don't even rise to piffle when compared with the subject of the rest of the post, losing home, family, limbs, hope.

Batu -- I know Mongolians were proud of Bush's visit, happy to be in the spotlight for a day, and you should be. You've accomplished so much since 1990 and it's good to have America as a friend. But there is a larger world outside Mongolia. In my country, and in that world, George Bush has simply been the worst president we've ever had. I can't even imagine how long it's going to take to clean up the diplomatic and economic damage he's wrought in his simple-minded incompetence. I just hope the Mongolian peacekeeping soldiers that have gotten pulled into his foolish adventures stay safe.

Have to agree with Konchog. And it's getting worse, fast. Tonight's news was especially bad.

Apparently we talking about the WWIII now, "free world vs islam"... To me, what's really scary is how the electorate is routinely cajoled into voting for someone like Bush. In a nation with the role of policing the world.

Konchog, while I don't have to trawl the Internet for news of the war, since it hits me in the face hourly, I still read everything I can. It would be innappropriate to debate who may be wrong on this blog, but I've taken your words to heart. Being in the middle makes equanimity challenging at best.
I guess the best lesson so far is that war is an opportunity to practice.
The Tibetan view seems to be that when you are attacked, run away. Do anything, but do not fight back lest you hurt or kill a sentient being. I am having a hard time integrating that particular lesson, but I do try to be mindful of it at all times. Any words of wisdom on war that you can offer would be much appreciated.

Here's me with one offtopic question, again. I red somwhere in Zanabazar guide that Gengis Khan was considered to be emanation of Vajrapani- protector deity of Mongolia: "By the mid-seventeenth century Chingis had become an accepted figure in the Buddhist pantheon..." Is it the case today? I mean with rebuilding the buddhism has the Chingis found his place again "in the Buddhist pantheon"? Personally I hope he does because even he maybe was not the most pleasent guy to come across fact is that he created Mongol nation and thus the safehaven for tibethan buddhism.
To Zendette: I will not pretend that I'm much in to the buddhist phillosophy because I'm not (that's why we have Konchog) however I must notice that some distorted ideas about buddhism have been most likley created in the West: like those that you stated that buddhist must run from conflict at any cost or even more absurde one that buddhist must be vegetarian etc. Konchog's story about school bully clearly explains that if we stand by and do nothing when innocent people getting hurt we are participating in suffering as well as were the one inflicting them.

Regarding Chinggis Pantheon

Chinggis Khaan as a Buddhist Panteon? ? ? :(
If it is true, Buddhism is not buddhism in Mongolia, just name it only lamaism.
But i doubt. As a Mongolian, i never heard such thing. There are some cases that some people refer to Chinggis khaan as Bogd Ezen Chinggis Khaan which many scholars not happy to use buddhist title "Bogd" for Chinggis Khaan. Hope it is just some language misunderstanding. Lamaism should stop trying to present Mongolian spirituality and lamas should stop messing up with Mongolian Politics

Most recent case was about opening ceremony of Chinggis Khaan Monuments before the naadam.
As for newspaper "Daily news" - Өдрийн сонин stated:- "There were growing concern among historians and scholars that Chinggis Monument opening ceremony might turn out to become buddhist ceremony as it always happened before that politics and lamas go together hand and hand at any celebration or ceremony to win over people's mind. Fortunately, despite obviously buddhist President Enkhbayar's presence, under pressure from well known historians and nationalist populists, Opening ceremony went on without any Buddhist lamas activity. It was pure Mongolian national ceremony representing Mongolian Statehood. "
Actually now it is exactly right time for Mongolian lamaist Buddhist to clean their mess regarding Mongolian politics, history, culture and shamanism. They should pursue real pure form of Buddhism. Otherwise big lamas tend to hang around political parties and its leaders, this kind of involvement might cause suspicion for the entire religion. Last historical lesson like persecution under COmmunism is not forgetten yet.

Buddhism is a one of many religions Mongols practice.
PS:- Zanabazar is not that popular among Mongolians as Buddhist might except. Some consider him as a traitor that brought all Mongols under Manchus.

Zendette -- I thought we'd hear from you (for those who don't know, Z lives in Israel). I can't even pretend to understand the complexity of what you're going through, and the extreme challenge it presents to one's Buddhist practice. But I'll address a couple of things.

The first is that it's not accurate to say the Buddhist position is to run away from all conflict. For example, the Khampas especially tried to defend Tibet from the Chinese invasion. They were just woefully mismatched and overwhelmed, but they did continue CIA-sponsored guerilla warfare until the 70's.

Buddhists try to align their thinking with the actual truth of any given situation. Thus, a Buddhist cultivates as deep a sense as possible of equanimity -- the view that all beings are fundamentally equal, both in the relative and ultimate sense. All have equal rights to happiness and freedom from suffering; all are Buddha in their nature. Then we come to understand that each being at one time or another has served as our kind mother, sacrificing so much for our welfare. Once other beings are seen in this way, one's response to conflict changes. One teacher of mine asked us to think about this: Imagine your own mother suddenly goes crazy and comes lunging at you with a butcher's knife. What would you do? Overpower her and pummel her to death as revenge for her daring to threaten you? Of course not. She's your mother. You would do what you needed to do to subdue and disarm her in the least painful way possible. Then you would begin the process of pacifying the root causes of her inflamed and distorted mind with loving kindness.

This is the most difficult, most courageous path in life, to truly love your enemy. The Dalai Lama reportedly wept inconsolably when Mao died, knowing the suffering that was in store for him due to his horrible karma. He also said Mao was one of his best teachers. It's only through the presence of enemies that one can really generate the sublime qualities of compassion and patience. Speaking of patience, the most perfect and apropos discourse on this may be found in chapter 6 of Shantideva's "Way of the Bodhisattva."

To the others: I have heard the view of Chingghis Khan as an emanation of Vajrapani -- Mongolia is said to be Vajrapani's Buddhafield. I don't know the source, though, so we have to talk about it later. Mongol Ard: relax, bro. The Mongol lamas are still trying to find their way after three generations of brutal, relentless oppression. The situation is far from perfect, but there are jewels among them and many, many hopeful signs if you will open your eyes to look.

To Mongol Ard: I reeeealy hate to disagree with you because you are Mongol and it is your country that we are discusing but you are talkin about communist holocaust of buddhism in Mongolia like it's a historical lesson?! If it's a lesson it's lesson that never again you Mongols should follow foreign propaganda that is offering you instant and quick solutions for your problems. Russian communists said to Mongol communist converts: destroy your tempels, kill your lamas and monks, they are supersticious, they are corrupt, they are parasites, they hold down the entire nation and without them you will flourish and trive into the communist future! Evreyone knows what was that future like for both Russia and Mongolia: gulags, executions, forced relocations of entire nations, forced setellments for nomadic people wich destroyed they culture and trown them into the alcoholism and suicides! I recommend to you Don Croner's book "Zanabazar Guide" page 28. title Burkhan Khaldun Here's another quotation:" According to the Rosary of White Lotuses, an exhaustive history of Buddhism in Mongolia, Chingis, although not a Buddhist himself, was considered an emanation of Vajrapani, one of the protector deities of Mongolia."

to Vedran:- I am an individual, don't present whole Mongolia. I am just expressing my opinion which is based on discussion in the circle of young friends. Feel free to critisize. We all know stories and most favorite scapegoat is communist Russians. Communist or not, Mongolia needed to make some reform. At that time Mongolia was second Tibet. 1911-1951, - Mongolia changed dramatically in everyway. You know what happened to Tibet. Tibetans very too religious, did not use that opportunity of time between 1911-1951 to modernise or seek another protector against China. Our forefathers choice was right. Otherwise we might have been another Tibet

to Blog Owner- Although i am not religious person, I enjoy reading your blog about Mongolia.

Thank you Mongol Ard! Now I see what happend. You see things as they are: what's donne is donne, we can't change history and we must look forvard into the future because thats what we can make better! It's obviously healty way of seeing things but it is rare in my country. Not without a reason it is said that evreyone is fighting for a better future only Croatians are fighting for a better past. I thougt that I was beyonde that but now I see I was under subconscience influence of that kind of thinking!

Thank you Konchog. I will try to work with what you wrote.

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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