Dechingalaw, Dьinkhor datsan
Tibetan name: bde chen bskal-pa, dus-’khor grwa-tshang Sanskrit name: Kalachakra Mongolian translation of the name: Ikh amgalant tsag
English name: Dechingalaw monastic school, Kalachakra monastic school
Before 1938 the imposing building of Dechingalaw datsan was situated in Zььn Khьree. (See Rinchen 925 for information about the old temple). The Kalachakra teachings, the ‘Wheel of time’ (Tib. dus-’khor, pronounced as Dьinkhor in Mongolia, Tsagiin khьrd in Mongolian translation), is one of the secret tantric teachings given by Buddha Shakyamuni to the first King of the legendary kingdom of Shambhala, called Suchandra (Tib. zla-ba bzang-po, Diwaasambuu/ Dewaasambuu in Mongolian pronunciation). It became widespread in the 11th century showing the interrelationship between the phenomenal world, the physical body and the mind animated nature or living beings. It serves 80 as a base for astrology and temporal cycle. Dьinkhor (Tib. dus-’khor, Skr. Kalacakra), the Kalachakra deity is a higher tutelary tantric deity, being one of the five wrathful tutelary deities of the Gelukpa tradition. He is depicted in standing form embracing his consort while treading on evil spirits. He has four faces (blue, red, yellow, white), which symbolize the four seasons or the four elements while his twelve eyes symbolize the twelve months, his 24 arms the 24 hours, and his finger joints symbolize the 360 days. The Dьinkhor datsan in Zььn Khьree was closed in 1937. The Dьinkhor ceremony was re-instated in 1961 at Gandan monastery where it has been held every year since. D. Danzan, a Gandan monastery lama, visited the Dalai Lama in 1991 who declared after performing the Kalachakra Initiation atVaranasi in India that his next Kalachakra Initiation would be held in Mongolia at Gandan monastery. The tradition was revived in 1992 after which new Dьinkhor temple was constructed on the initiative of D. Danzan (honourable chanting master, darkhan unzad) and R. Sereeter (honourable disciplinary master, darkhan gesgьi) lamas in Gandan (in 1994) based on the style of the pre-1938 temple, In the summer of 1995, His Holiness the Dalai Lama came to Mongolia to perform the Kalachakra Initiation in the temple. Before these two Tibetan teachers from the Dalai Lama’s monastic school, Namgyal, situated in Dharamsala, India, came to instruct the Mongolian lamas on the rituals especially the making of the sand mandala. Since that time, the datsan chants the Dьinkhor ritual every year on the fifteenth of the last month of spring of the Lunar Calendar. The head of the datsan is the abbot of Gandan, with the title dorj lowon (Tib. rdo-rje slob-dpon). The other ranking lamas in the temple are the lowon (N. Dawaasьren), a chanting master and a disciplinary master. At present, there are about 35 lamas in the datsan, some of them have getsel or gelen vows. The ceremonies being held in this datsan follow the system of the tantric Namgyal monastic school. Currently, eight lamas are studying in India at the Tibetan Jьd datsan and a Tibetan teacher came from there to train the Mongolian novices. The main deity of the datsan is the Buddha with the main tutelary deity being Dьinkhor and the main protector deities being Dorjshьgden and Jamsran. As you enter to the temple, the Dьinkhoriin mandal (Kalachakra mandala) is on display behind glass on the left. The mandala represents all the 722 deities in the Kalachakra system. On the altar there are various statues, such as that of the four-faced Dorjshьgden, the protector deity of the datsan, and the picture of the Tibetan Yellow sect master of the 4th jewtsьndamba, Jalsrai gegeen (Lkhokh or Lkhakh Jalsrai Galsan Tьwden Jigjid Gegeen, Lkhokh jalsrai gegeen, Tib. ? rgyal-sras bskal-bzang thub-bstan 'jigs-byed), who, according to Jambal (English text p. 29., Mongolian text p. 706.) was the main Kalachakra tantra lama (Dьinkhoriin jьdwiin/jьdbiin lam, Tib. dus-’khor-gyi rgyud-pa’i bla-ma) of the 4th jewtsьndamba and the Dalai Lama (presumably the 8th 'Jam-dpal rgya-mtso, 1758-1804). The Dalai Lama’s throne (sentii, Tib. seng-khri, ‘lion throne’), which he used when he gave the Kalachakra initiation, is situated in the middle of the temple on the north wall. This now displays an image of the 9th jewtsьndamba khutagt who came to Mongolia for his first, and so far, only visit in 1999 and performed an initiation of Tsagaan Dar’ ekh in this temple. On the left side there are the statues of Buddha, Dьinkhor and Dorjshьg. The ten special balins (Tib. gtor-ma, sacrificial cake) of Dьinkhor are on the right of the main altar and they are changed yearly before Tsagaan sar, the lunar New Year. There are also seven Dьinkhor thangkas with the 722 Dьinkhor deities and thangkas representing the 32 Kings of Shambhala (Shambal in Mongolian, Tib. sham-bha-la, Skr. Shambhala). Many of the above-mentioned artifacts of the temple were made by D. Danzan, the initiator of the re-erected temple, such as the statues of Buddha, Dьinkhor, Dorjshьg, Jalsrai 81 gegeen and the throne of the Dalai Lama. Furthermore, he designed the interior of the library of Gandan, and the interior and thrones of the main assembly hall and other temples of the monastic complex (Shambald zorchson nuuts temdeglel, pp. 169-171). The daily chanting starts at 9.00- 12 noon during which time believers can attend. The Doodьd (Tib. mdo bsdus-pa, short version of Prajnyaparamita) is read during it, which contains different short versions of texts connected with the Kalachakra system. On the second day of the lunar month there is a ceremony in honour of the wrathful deities, especially Jamsran. The other monthly and annual ceremonies all have a connection with the teachings of Kalachakra. Between the 4th and 16th of the first spring month there is a Dьinkhor ceremony (Tьgjil dьinkhor, Tib. thugs-dkyil dus-’khor, ‘Kalachakra ceremony with a mandala’). The Kalachakra sand mandala (dьltsen, Tib. rdul-tshon) is prepared for three days, and on the completion of the ceremonies, it is destroyed with the sand being taken in a ceremonial procession to the source of Tuul River in Gachuurt (on the north-east of Ulaanbaatar, at Khar tokhoin am) where it is offered to the spirits of the land and water. On the 15th of the middle month of every season a Dьinkhor ceremony is held, called Gandan dьinkhor. The last spring month is the special month of Dьinkhor throughout Mongolia. The sand mandala for this ceremony is prepared on a larger scale than in the first month, taking 15 days to prepare. Prior to 1938, a number of different ceremonies were held during this month in Mongolian monasteries and temples with the main ceremony, Dьinkhoriin chogo (Tib. dus- ’khor-gyi cho-ga), being held on the 15th. In the original Dechingalaw temple the sequence of ceremonies was as follows: the ceremony began on the 1st of the last spring month; and the ritual dance called Sagar or Gazriin bьjig (Tib. sa-gar, ‘Earth-dance’) requesting the local spirits to allow the construction of the Dьltsen jinkhor (Tib. rdul-tshon-gyi dkyil-’khor, coloured sand mandala) in this location was held on the 2nd; from the 4th, the Dьltsen jinkhor and the balins and offerings were prepared and consecrated and when completed, the Great Dьinkhor ceremony was started at the 13th; on the 15th, the ritual dance of Chogar or Takhiliin bьjig (Tib. mchod-gar, ‘Offering-dance’) was held; on the last day of the ceremonies a fireoffering called Dьinkhoriin jinsreg (Tib. dus-’khor-gyi sbyin-bsreg, ‘Kalachakra Fireoffering’) was organized following which the sand mandala of dьltsen was destroyed the sand being taken in a ceremonial procession to the source of Tuul River in Gachuurt (on the northeast of Ulaanbaatar, at Khar tokhoin am) where it is offered to the spirits of the land and water. The new temple aims to revive this sequence of Dьinkhor rituals in full. The lamas have learnt the Chogar dance from the prime mover in the revival, Danzan lama, who had been a lama of the Dьinkhor datsan in Daichin wangiin Khьree (present Bulgan aimag). Nowadays, fifteen lamas wearing special colourful robes made of silk and brocade, dance for about one and a half hours around the Dьinkhor mandala made of coloured sand on the 15th of the last spring month. The ceremonial dress is made of two pieces of clothing: a cape-like garment (dod’ig/dodyog, Tib. stod-g-yog(s), ’upper cloth’) and a square shaped apron (mad’ig/madyog, Tib. smad-g-yog(s), ’lower garment, skirt’). It is decorated with a distinctive embroidered pattern, called doshil/doshal (Tib. ‘dod-zhal), which is a monster or demon head. The participating lamas wear a five-lobed crown or headpiece called rigana (Tib. rigs lnga, rigs-lnga cod-pan, ’crown of the five families’) or jodwon (Tib. cod-pan, ‘crown’). The five lobes of the crown show the five Tathagata Buddhas. The lobes surround a conical shaped black crown (banzai, Tib. ban-gzan/ban-rdzas? or jьgder, Tib. gtsug-tor, Skr. ushnisha) and two long silk ribbons (jawdar, Tib. rgyab-dar, ’silk of the back’) hang down from the back of the crown. They wear traditional boots with dragon-head design on its toe and they hold a vajra and bell in their hands. Some of the datsan’s lamas also participated in the Tsam (Tib. ‘cham) dance held in 82 1999 in Gandan. (To date this was the only occasion that it was performed here.) They learnt the rules (deg, Tib. sgrig, ‘arrangement, order’) from the lamas of the datsan, D. Danzan and R. Sereeter. Tsam is not perfomed regularly in Gandan, but some of these lamas are in close connection with Amarbayasgalant monastery (Selenge aimag), where Tsam is performed every year, and participate there in the dance. They also participate in the partly revived Tsam in Bulgan aimag’s Dashchoinkhorlin monastery, which is a revived temple on the old monastery site of Daichin wangiin Khьree. (This was Danzan lama’s old monastery.) All the lamas in the above two countryside monasteries learnt the Tsam rules from Danzan, too, so they are connected by having the same master. On the Great Days of Buddha, where in other monasteries the Burkhan bagshiin chogo (or Tьwiin chogo, Tib. thub-pa’i cho-ga), ‘ritual of Buddha’ is held or Burkhan bagshiin magtaal, ‘eulogies of Buddha’ are recited, the Dьinkhor ceremony is performed in this datsan. There is a ceremony called Shambaliin chogo (Tib. sham-bha-la’i cho-ga) held on the 15th of the first autumn month. A bigger ceremony for the wrathful deities (Sakhius) is held on the 16th, 17th and 18th of the middle winter month. During the New Year the Tsedor lkham (Tib. tshe(s)-gtor lha-mo, ‘yearly ceremonial cake offering to Lkham’) ceremony is held during the night of the Lunar New Years’ Eve, with all the other ceremonies being held in the Tsogchin temple.
Jьd datsangiin цrgцц Tцgs tsogt nuuts tarnii ikh amgalant oron
Tibetan name: rgyud grwa-tshang English name: Tantric monastic school Elevation: 1312m N 47'55.343’ E 106'53.616’
The tradition was revived in 1998 on the initiative of Gurudeva rinpoche (a highly esteemed lama originally from Inner-Mongolian who contributed greatly to the revival, restoration and re-opening of temples in Mongolia) and Yo. Amgalan, the vice abbot of Gandan. Today, Jьd datsan is situated in a yurt on the left of the building which houses the ZanabazarUniversity as well as the offices of the abbot and other high-ranking lamas and officers. The leader (with the rank of dorj lowon) of the temple is N. Biz’yaa, who studied in Zuunmod and Zььn Khьree Dashchoilin monastery in Mongolia, Sera (Tib. se-ra) and Ganden (Gandan, Tib. dga’-ldan) monasteries in India. He is connected to an old lama, Ts. Dorj (1901-2007) who was in the old Jьd datsan. He is currently a lama in Dashchoinkhorlin monastery in Zuunmod and Biz’yaa lama is trying to revive the Jьd datsan tradition based on the information gleaned from the memories of this old monk. At present five other adult lamas belong to the temple and study there. There are no other ranked lamas in the temple. About 20 young novices belonging to the temple are being trained in chanting and translating, and, especially, in Tantric studies. The three main protectors of the datsan are the three main tantric deities of the Gelukpa tradition, namely Sandui (Tib. gsang-’dus, Skr. Guhyasamaja), Demchig (Tib. bdemchog, Skr. Chakrasamvara) and Jigjid (Tib. ‘jigs-byed, Skr. Bhairava, epithet of 83 Yamantaka) who are known as Sandejig sьm (Tib. gsang bde ‘jigs gsum) being a summary name consisting of the first syllables of their names. Daily chanting is held between 7.00-8.30am when the text Sandejig sьm is recited. Each afternoon between 1.00 and 2.00pm a shorter version of Sanduin jьd (Tib. gsang-’dus rgyud, Guhyasamaja tantra) is read while on the 15th of every month it is recited in full. A large sculpture of Sandui with his consort can be seen in the middle of the yurt temple in a glass box. On the altar there are the statue of Buddha, a thangka of Demchig, small thangkas of Janraiseg, Manal and Manzshir (Tib. ‘jam-dpal / 'jam-(dpal)- dbyangs, Skr. Manjushri). The three main protectors of the temple can be seen in another picture. Next to the yurt-temple there is another yurt belonging to Jьd datsan, which is where astrology is practiced. In 2005 the building of a permanent Jьd datsan was started behind the University, although only the base had been dug. Fundraising is still being done from a yurt to the southeast of Janraiseg temple.
Gandantegchenlin khiidiin Manba datsan
Tibetan name: Dga’-ldan theg-chen-gling-gi sman-pa grwa-tshang
English name: Medical monastic school of Gandan monastery 1278m N: 47'55.414’ E: 106'53.631’
This temple is the Gandan medical school, althought the actual building is outside the north wall of the monastic complex. The school itself was established in 1990 to train a new generation of skillful astrologists and physicians in traditional Buddhist medicine. Between 1990 and 2001 classes were held in the Zurkhai datsan (astrological temple) in Geser sьm. The new temple building to house the Manba datsan community was built in 2001. As it belongs to Gandan, the abbot of the temple is D. Choijamts, the abbot of Gandan monastery. A lama called J. Khoowoi (who was a lama in Цmnцgow’ aimag before 1937) initiated the building of the medical school. He held the darkhan lowon rank in the temple until he passed away in his 97th year in 2005. He was succeeded by D. Naranbaatar lowon who now leads the temple. There are two chanting masters and one disciplinary master and 35 lamas belong to the temple, all of whom are adults, mostly with genen vows. A few have getsel vows. Some of the lamas are studying in Gomang monastic school in Drepung monastery and Sera (Tib. se-ra) monastery both of which are in South India. As a medical temple the main deity is Manal, the Medicine Buddha, with the main tutelary deity being Jigjid, the main protector being Shanlan sakhius. (Shanlan and Damjin are traditionally protectors of the doctors and medical schools.) According to Sereeter (p. 66.), the Manba datsan that belonged to Zььn Khьree prior to the purges had the same protector deities. A Dьinkhor stupa was erected on the left of the temple in 2002. The bьreenii shat, the platform for calling lamas to the ceremonies, is in the south-east corner of the courtyard. 84 Devotees can order the reading of texts according to a fixed price list in a building to the left of the main gate. A large thangka of the eight Medicine Buddhas hangs in the middle of the temple along with a small thangka of Jigjid. On the altar there are the statues of Buddha, Manal, Tsongkhapa and an image of Dar’ ekh. There are also numerous thangkas of wrathful deities, manifestations of Tara, and a statue of Ayuush or Tsewegmed / Tsegmid. The volumes of Ulaan yum (Prajnyaparamita) are placed on the left and the volumes of Ganjuur on the right of the altar. Daily chanting is held between 9.00am and 1.00pm. After this remedy prayers (Zasal) and other texts are read at the request of individuals. As for the monthly ceremonies, on the 8th Manal is worshipped (Ikh Manal), on the 15th Maaniin chogo is held and on the 25th the Four Mandalas of Dar’ ekh is read (Dar’ ekhiin mandal shiwa). There are other ceremonies as well, such as on the 29th the three wrathful deities called collectively as Gonchoi lkhaa sьm/Gonchoo lkhaa sьm (Tib. mgon chos lha gsum, summarizing name for, Choijoo/Choijil and Lkham) are worshipped and on the 30th Awidiin chogo is performed for better rebirth in the paradise of Awid (Tib. ’od-dpag-med, Skr. Amitabha) Buddha. Every Sunday there is the ceremony of Ganjuur. The annual ceremonies or big feasts are held in the Tsogchin temple of Gandan. As this is one of the Medical temples, people usually came to the temple to pray for and have texts read for their own and members of their family’s health, and also help the deceased to get better rebirth.
Religious life in Gandan monastery
As Gandan monastery is the main centre of Mongolian Buddhism, and the biggest monastery in Mongolia, which remained a functioning monastery (though heavily controlled) for all but 6 years in the Communist era, traditional ceremonial activities could be revived here more easily than in smaller temples and monasteries. Accordingly, many monthly and annual ceremonies are held in Gandan once again. Among these, there are the most important ones, such as the ceremonies of the Lunar New Year, the Great Days of Buddha or the Tsongkhapa anniversary, which are held in most other Mongolian monasteries. However, there are others that are only held in the bigger monasteries such as Zььn Khьree Dashchoilin monastery, while yet others are only held in Gandan.
The monthly ceremonies are as follows: on the 8th of the lunar month as is traditional the ceremony of the Medicine Buddha is held (Manal), although in Gandan it follows the 85 ceremonial rules and melodies of the old Manba datsan of Zььn Khьree; the Four Mandalas of Dar’ ekh (Dar’ ekhiin mandal shiwa, Tib. sgrol-ma’i mandala bzhi-ba) is also performed on this day; on the 15th, the Guhyasamaja tantra (Sanduin jьd, Tib. gsang-’dus rgyud) is recited, again using (and preserving) the ceremonial rules of the old Zььn Khьree Jьd datsan; the ceremony of the ten wrathful deities (Arwan khangal or Sakhius) is held on the 29th whereby in every first month the main deity of this ceremony is Gombo (with his text and the text of Gongor (Tib. mgon-dkar, Skr. Sitamahakala) and Shalsh recited in a special melody, and the parts of the others in a simple way), in the middle month Ochirwaan' (together with Choijoo’s and Jamsran’s parts of the text with the special melody) and in the last month Lkham (with Jamsran’s part with the special melody) (the parts of Tsamba (Tib. tshangs-pa) are recited in the melodious way either in the middle or in the last month); every first month a Tsogchid offering (Tib. tshogs-mchod, Skr. ganapuja, ‘accumulation of offerings’, feast offering) is performed and in every second month a Danrag (Tib. gtang-rag) thanksgiving offering is performed at the Arwan khangal or Sakhius ceremonies; the ceremony in honour of the sixteen arhats or main disciples of Buddha (Naidan chogo) is on the 30th using the commentary entitled, ‘the sevenfold offering’ by the 19th century philosopher, Yonzin Ishjantsan (Tib. yongs-‘dzin ye-shes rgyal-mtshan); on the 23rd of the middle month of every season there is a special ceremony called “32 kharanga magtaal” (‘thirty two eulogies’), during which eulogies of buddhas, bodhisattvas, saints, Tibetan and Mongolian masters are recited. Every Saturday Gьnreg is performed, the ceremony of Gьnreg (shortly for Gьnreg Nambarnanzad, Tib. kun-rig(s) (rnam-par snang-mdzad), Skr. Sarvavid Vairochana, a form of Vairochana Buddha) for the deceased. Oroin yerццl ceremony is held regularly at the request of individuals. On the 15th and 30th of every month Sojin (Tib. so-sbyong, confession of sins, purifying the precepts/vows) is held by the lamas. Many novices of the datsans of Gandan participate on these ceremonies.
The annual ceremonies
The cycle of the annual ceremonies held in Gandan starts with the ‘great festival days of Buddha’s miracle showing’ (Burkhan bagshiin (tersььdiig nomkhotgon) rid khuwilgaan ьzььlsen ikh dьitsen цdrььd, Tib. cho-’phrul chen-po’i dus-chen or Choinpьrel jon aa, Tib. chos-’phrul bco-lnga, ‘Fifteen miracles’), which are conducted for fifteen days in the first two weeks of the Lunar New Year. They commemorate Buddha’s defeat of the six masters, holders of heretical doctrines (tersььd, Tib. log-par lta-ba), by mysterious methods of showing miracles. This 15 day festival is one of the so called ‘great festival days of the Buddha’ (Burkhan bagshiin ikh dьitsen цdrььd). Over the fifteen days the Ikh yerццl or Oroin yerццl (‘great or evening prayers’, Tib. smon-lam, smon-lam chen-po) or Choinpьrel molom yerццl (Tib. chos-’phrul smon-lam, ‘prayers of miracle showing’) ceremonies are held every afternoon from 2.00pm. Sixty different texts, like the 32 eulogies (magtaal) and the six prayers (Zurgaan yerццl, Tib. smon-lam drug) are recited in a very melodious way. The 14th of the first spring month is the Great day of Цndцr Gegeen (Цndцr gegeenii ikh dьitsen цdцr), when the ceremony called Dawkhar yerццl, ‘double prayer’, which commemorates his death, is held. On this day the prayer is recited by the main chanting master (ikh unzad), and, on the other days of the fifteen days of the Yerццl ceremonies he and the second chanting master (baga unzad) along with the chanters (golch) take turn to recite the prayers. The next festival day is the Dьinkhor anniversary (Dьijid nyamba/nyanba/nyam ceremony, Tib. dus-rgyud bsnyen-pa), which is held on the 15th day of the last month of spring. It commemorates the day when Buddha first taught the Kalachakra system (‘the wheel/cycle of time’, Dьinkhor or Tsagiin khьrd, Tib. dus-kyi ‘khor-lo) of Buddhism. Therefore it is also called ‘the festival day of Buddha’s first preaching of the Kalachakra 86 tantra’ (Burkhan bagsh tsagiin khьrdnii ьndesiig nomloson ikh dьitsen цdцr). After this is the great Maitreya Festival, celebrating the future Buddha, Maidar (Tib. byams-pa, Skr. Maitreya), which is usually held in the first summer month. High-ranking lamas and astrologers determine the exact date of the festival. The ceremony itself is called Jambiin chogo (Tib. byams-pa’i cho-ga, ‘ceremony held in honour of byams-pa’). In it the lamas and the lay population gather together and process around the monastery following the statue of Maidar, which is mounted on a cart with a green horse head all the while praying for his coming. This great festival called Maidar ergekh (‘circumambulating [the monastery] with Maitreya’s statue’) is celebrated only in a few Mongolian monasteries today. On the 14th of the first summer month, a ritual is held in honour of the highest tantra deity, Jigjid, called Jigjid danjьg (Tib. bdag-’jug, ’self-empowerment’). The next festival in the annual cycle is on the 15th or full moon of the first summer month and is the second of the four great festival days of the Buddha (Burkhan bagshiin ikh dьitsen цdrььd) on each of which a special ceremony called Tьwiin chogo (Tib. thub-pa, a name of Shakyamuni Buddha) or Burkhan bagshiin chogo (‘ceremony in honour of Buddha’) is held. This festival for the Buddha commemorates three events of his life on the same day: his birth; the day he reached enlightenment or became a Buddha; and the day when he died, his parinirvana (Burkhan bagsh mendelsen khiigeed ilt tuulsan Burkhanii khutgiig olson, nirwaan dььriig ьzььlsen ikh dьitsen цdцr, Tib. mngon-par byang-chub-pa’i dus-chen). The 17th of the first summer month is the anniversary of the death of the 8th Bogd jewtsьndamba khutagt. On this day there is a ceremony called Uuliin lamiin chogo, when the ritual text for the 8th Bogd, written by Luwsan (Tib. blo-bzang, known as Uuliin lam, ‘the lama from the mountain’), is recited. Luwsan meditated in a cave in Chingeltei Mountain where he is said to have obtained nirvana, which is shown by his footprints in the rock, which are said to have disappeared suddenly indicating that he had entered nirvana (and disappeared from this world). His text, dedicated to the worship of the jewtsьndamba khutagts, is a specialized version of the Lamiin chodwa/chodow (Tib. bla-ma’i mchod-pa, ‘offering to the Master’). A special thanksgiving offering (Danrag, Tib. gtang-rag) is offered on this day as well. The third festival for the Buddha is held on the 4th of the last summer month. It commemorates the day when Buddha first preached the Dharma, often referred to as ‘the festival of his first turning of the wheel of Dharma’ (nomiin khьrd ergььlekh/ (Burkhan bagsh) nomiin khьrd ergььlsen dьitsen or Choinkhor (dьitsen), Tib. chos-’khor bskor-ba/ chos-’khor dus-chen). There is again a Tьwiin chogo or Burkhan bagshiin chogo ceremony on this day. On the 5th of the last summer month, the Jasaa Ikh Ganjuur or Altan Ganjuur ceremony is one of the annual ceremonies only held in Gandan. There is another kind of festival dedicated to Maidar the future buddha (Maidariin dьitsen цdцr) on the 6th of the last summer month with a Jasaa Jambiin chogo (Tib. byams-pa cho-ga, ‘ceremony held in honour of Maitreya’) ceremony. A three-day ceremony is held from the 23rd to 25th of the last summer month called Wantai gьnreg (Tib. kun-rig-gi dbang). The Gьnreg Buddha and his 37 attendants are worshipped with his seed syllable recited many times. On the 3rd of the first autumn month, the ceremony called ‘the Great Consecration’ (Ikh arawnai (rawnai, Tib. rab-gnas, ‘consecration’)) or ‘Consecration on the fortunate day’ (Dashnyam arawnai, Tib. bkra-shis nyi-ma, ‘fortunate sun’) is held. On this day all the objects of worship, statues, thangkas and the shrines are re-consecrated in Gandan with the aim of renewing the effects of the original consecration. This day a fire offering (Jinsreg, Tib. sbyin-sgreg) is performed as well. The next festival on the 22th of the last autumn month is the fourth of the great days of 87 the Buddha called the Lkhawawiin dьitsen (Burkhan bagsh tengeriin ornoos buuj irsen цdцr, Tib. lha-las babs-pa’i dus-chen, ‘the festival of descending from the gods’) festival. It is the day when Buddha descended from the god realms, where he had spent 90 days teaching and performing the Khailen (Tib. khas-len, ‘oath-taking’) retreat. A Tьwiin chogo or Burkhan bagshiin chogo ceremony is performed to commemorate this important event. On the same day the Demchog ceremony is also held in honour of Demchog/Demchig (Tib. bde-mchog, Skr. Chakrasamvara) tutelary deity. On the 25th of the first winter month there is the anniversary of Tsongkhapa’s death called ‘the great day of Zonkhawa/Zonkhow’ (Zonkhowiin dьitsen, Tib. tsong-kha-pa’i duschen) or ‘The day he passed away’ (Zonkhowiin taalal bolson/tцgssцn цdцr), ‘The day he was born and passed away’ (Zonkhowiin mendelsen mцn taalal bolson/tцgssцn цdцr) or, as often referred to, as Zuliin 25-n, ‘the 25th day of butter lamps’, reflecting the tradition of lighting countless butter lamps and burning incense sticks in his honour. There is a Bogd (Zonkhawa) lamiin chogo ceremony (‘ceremony in honour of Tsongkhapa’) held during the day and in the evening butter lamps are lit outside and the Migzem (Tib. dmigs-brtse-ma), prayer to Tsongkhapa, is recited many times. A mandala offering is made outside the main assembly hall in the evening. The annual Khajid (Tib. mkha’-spyod, ‘goddess, ’sky goer’, ’sky traveller’, Skr. dakini) ceremony is held on the 25th of the last winter month. In many Mongolian monasteries, including Gandan, the Khajidiin chogo ceremony is held only once a year. However, in some temples, especially in Red Sect temples, it is held monthly on the 25th and on the 10th days. Narkhajid (Tib. na-ro mkha’-spyod, Skr. Sarvabuddhadakini) was the main tutelary deity of the 5th bogd. It is said that when he was meditating on this goddess, he saw a red light above the Bogd khan mountain and TuulRiver. Thus, this ceremony has been held ever since then. The ritual year ends with the ceremonial events of the last days of the Lunar New Year, Tsagaan sar in Mongolian. The farewell to the old year starts on the 26th of the last winter month with the consecration (Adislaga, Tib. byin-rlabs) of the new ritual offering cakes (balin or dorom, Tib. gtor-ma). During the ceremony cymbals are played 108 times, a feature introduced by Цndцr Gegeen. On the following three days of the old year (the 27th to 29th), three Sakhius ceremonies called the ‘old ceremonies’ (Khuuchin nomiin khural) are held to honour the wrathful deities. These ceremonies are held in Gandan from 6.00am to 11.00pm and differ from the other ceremonies for the Sakhius in that the Arwan khangal book is recited in a slower and more melodious way (ikh yan(gaar), Tib. dbyangs chen, ‘(with) great melody/tune’) than usual. In Gandan, on the 27th the main deity is Gombo (with Gongor, Shalsh and Jamsran, and the main deity of 28th is Ochirwaan' (with Lkham, and Namsrai. On the evening of the third day (29th), when Choijoo is the central deity (with Tsamba), there is a ceremonial burning of the triangular based pyramid shaped sacred ‘cake’ and the sacred wooden construction (Sor zalakh, Tib. zor ‘phen), which aims to avert and clear away all troubles and misfortunes. On the next day, the Eve of the New Lunar Year (Bitььn), a special Sakhius ceremony called Tsedor lkham (Tib. tshes-gtor lha-mo, Jiliin dorom in Mongolian translation) ‘the yearly ceremonial cake offering to Baldan lkham’ is held from 11.00pm to the morning of the New Year in honour of Baldan lkham. The reason this ceremony is held on this day is that, according to the legends, Lkham arrives in Mongolia in this day as she travels around the world riding on her mule. A special thanksgiving offering, called Tsedor danrag (Tib. tshe-gtor gtang-rag) is performed to her during the dawn hours. This part is recited with the ‘new melody’ (shine yang(aar)), which was introduced during the time of the 5th jewtsьndamba khutagt; while the previous parts of the ceremony are recited with the ‘old melody’ (khuuchin yang(aar)), which was introduced during the time of Цndцr gegeen Zanabazar. The ceremony ends with the tradition of paying homage to or 88 ceremonial greeting of the lamas (zolgokh). Zolgokh is a traditional homage practiced on the first some days of Tsagaan sar when people visit and greet their older relatives in a ceremonial way. In the temple zolgokh has to be made firstly to the highest ranked lamas, then to the remaining ranked lamas and an individual’s teachers, after which everyone greets everyone, always the younger the older, in the prescribed order. As well as the festivals described above, there are some other special annual events held in the monastery. A principal one of these is the oath-taking retreat period (Khailen or Yar khailen, Tib. (dbyar) khas-len, ‘(summer) oath-taking’, also called Yarnai, Tib. dbyar gnas, ‘summer retreat’), which begins on the 15th of the last summer month and lasts for 45 days. Only gelen and getsel lamas are allowed to take part in this retreat, during which they confirm their vows, confess their possible mistakes and amend their negative actions. It requires the participation of at least four gelen lamas, and the practice originates from Buddha, who practiced Khailen in the Realm of the 33 Gods. It also has roots in the old tradition of the confinement or retreat of lamas (Yarnai, Tib. dbyar-gnas) in India for the wet summer months, the original cause for which was to spend the rainy period in a retreat also with the aim of avoiding the accidental killing of insects. Originally, it lasted for three months during the summer, when lamas remained confined to their monasteries for religious meditation and contemplation. However, the duration has been reduced in Mongolia and the ‘retreat’ period lasts for only 45 days. Khailen is held only in those Mongolian monasteries where there are at least four lamas with gelen vows, for example Zььn Khьree Dashchoilin monastery and Amarbayasgalant monastery (Selenge aimag). In Gandan forty lamas with gelen and getsel vows participated in 2005. In 1999 the masked ritual dance called Khьree tsam (Tib.’cham) or Jakhar tsam (Tib. lcags-mkhar ‘cham) was revived in accordance with the rules, techniques and choreography used in Ikh Khьree. To date this was the only occasion the dance was revived, however, there are plans for the student lamas of the teachers, R. Sereeter and D. Danzan, who have both passed away, to bring back the tradition in full using the training they have received. Gandan monastery has external relations with Tibetan monasteries in India, where many lamas have been given the opportunity to study and attend Buddhist Teaching at high level in order to pass on their knowledge and understanding to a generation of younger Mongolians. Many Tibetan Rinpoches and teachers have been, and, continue to be invited to Gandan, to support the revival of the old Buddhist traditions and to help ensure the continuation of a living tradition. In 1990 it was mainly the surviving lamas, who were young novices before the events of 1937-1938, that were the driving force in reviving from memory the original and distinctive features of Mongolian Buddhism. Within the last fifteen years many have passed away. Fortunately, at the time of the survey, some are still contributing to the rituals and educating the young generation. The researchers were able to meet and interview some of them. One such was Garjidiin Diwaasambuu, tsorj lama (born 1927, who had been a lama in the assembly (Khuuchid) Khambiin sьm in present Sьkhbaatar aimag, Erdenetsagaan sum, after moving there with their congregation (Khuuchid Khambiin khiid) from Inner Mongolia, Shiliin gol aimag, Baruun khuuchid khoshuu. This assembly assimilated into Gandan in 1960. He also gathered at Aya Zandan Bandid gegeenii khiid in Zuun Abaga khoshuu or Zuun Beisiin khoshuu, Inner Mongolia). Others interviewed were: J. Dorjijantsan, shunlaiw of Idgaachoinzinlin datsan (born 1918, Luu gьngiin Khьree, present Arkhangai aimag, Battsengel sum); Gonchig, main disciplinary master of Dashchoimbel datsan (born 1916, Gendenpeljeelin or Norowligbaalin monastery, present Zawkhan aimag, Tsetsen uul sum and also Dashchoimbel datsan in Bogdiin Khьree, where he lived in Shьteenii aimag); T. Altangerel, main disciplinary master of Idgaachoinzinlin datsan (born 1924, Yaruugiin khьree, Zawkhan aimag, Elderkhan sum); Tsegmediin Luwsan, lama of Dashchoimbel datsan 89 (born 1914, Khowdiin shar sьm/Ццldiin shar sьm, present Khowd aimag center, Khowd). In addition the following old lamas of the present Tsogchin temple were interviewed: Lojin Ishjamts (born 1915, Ццldiin Khьree/datsan or Gandanpuntsoglin, present Khowd aimag, Erdenebьren sum); B. Sьren (born 1911 I the year of pig, Tsakhiurtiin khural/Dorjdamba datsan, present Dundgow’ aimag, Delgertsogt sum and Delgerchoiriin khiid/Zawa bagshiin Khьree, Dundgow’ aimag, Delgertsogt sum); Mцnkhnyamiin Menddawaa (born 1920 in the year of hen, Sain noyon (khanii) Khьree/Sain khanii Khьree or Khan khцgshnii Khьree, present Цwцrkhangai aimag, Uyaanga sum centre); Mцriin Samdan (born 1918, (Borjignii) Baruun choir/Tsagaandelgeriin choir, Dundgow’ aimag, Tsagaandelger sum), Chimiddorj (Baruun-Sцnцdiin Khar airagiin sьm/khural or Gandandanjailin khiid, present Dornogow’ aimag, Airag sum, after moving there with their congregation from Baruun Sцnцd khoshuu, Inner Mongolia in 1945. This assembly assimilated to Gandan in 1963.), and Luwsangьngaa (born 1924, Dashgendunjambaalin khiid/ Bьgsiin khьree / Teeliin khural, Khцwsgцl aimag, Tцmцrbulag sum). Prior to the purges these old lamas were attached to different monasteries and assemblies in different parts of Mongolia (some originally in Inner Mongolia). They were interviewed by the researchers about the old temples they belonged to and religious life in them. This material is to be published later as is out of the scope of the present survey.
� Backpacking Mongolia 1999 -