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Mongolia enthrones its spiritual head

(TibetanReview.net, Dec07, 2011) Mongolia has in Oct 2011 enthroned its equivalent of the Dalai Lama of Tibet, although now with only spiritual authority. He was presented with the ancient and traditional golden seal of religion and confirmation papers as the 9th Bogd Jebttsundamba Khutughtus, said a commentary by Chris Devonshire-Ellis posted on the mad-mongolia.com, and other websites, Dec 5. Jampal Namdol Choiji Jantsan was, at four years of age, recognized by Tibet’s Regent Reting as the reincarnation of the eighth Bogd Khan in 1936 in Lhasa. However, the discovery was kept a secret due to the complicated political situation at the time.

He was ordained and educated in the Potala Palace and accompanied the Dalai Lama into exile in 1959. Since then, until very recently, he lived among the exile Tibetan community in India.

Following the withdrawal of Russian troops in 1987, Mongolia became a democracy and the Bogd Khan finally travelled to the country in 1999. He received his Mongolian citizenship in 2010.

He is now permanently based in the Gandantegchinlin Monastery in capital Ulaanbaata while a new center of Buddhism and a new Palace for him continues to be under construction since the past two years.

The official duties of the Bogd Khan, who is now 79 years old, are to act as the spiritual head of Mongolian Buddhism and to continue with the preservation and revival of Mongolian customs and traditions. He holds a weekly service at the Gandantegchin Monastery, the capital’s largest with some 400 monks.

The first Bogd, a monk named Zanabazar, was recognized as such by the then-Panchen Lama and Dalai Lama of Tibet in the 17th century. He was a superb craftsman and had created many priceless bronze carvings of Buddhas. He also invented the first version of modern Mongolian written language, based on the Uyghur script. Much of it is still in use today. There is an entire museum dedicated to his works.

The Bogd Khans operated as the temporal and spiritual leader of Mongolia until 1924, when the eighth Bogd Khan passed away. By then, Mongolia had come under the control of the Soviet Union, which banned any further reincarnations of the lineage.

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