Gandantegchinlen Khiid Monastery

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Temple of Boddhisattva Avalokiteshvara at Gandantegchinlen Khiid Monastery
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Baasan Lama head of the Ling Gesar Temple complex in Ganden and has served as chant master from 1979 until 1989. He has traveled and taught internationally, and has founded or co-founded numerous cultural and spiritual organizations for the preservation and rejuvenation of Mongolia’s traditional cultural heritage.[2

The Gandantegchinlen Khiid Monastery, formerly known as Ganden Monastery, is a Tibetan-style monastery in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar that has been restored and revitalized since 1990. The Tibetan name translates to the "Great Place of Complete Joy." It currently has over 150 monks in residence. It features a 26.5-meter-high statue of Migjid Janraisig, a Buddhist bodhisattva also known as Avalokitesvara. It came under state protection in 1994.

The monastery was established in 1835 by the Fifth Jebtsundamba, then Mongolia's highest reincarnated lama. It became the principal center of Buddhist learning in Mongolia.

In the 1930s, the Communist government of Mongolia, under the leadership of Khorloogiin Choibalsan and under strong pressure from Joseph Stalin, destroyed numerous Buddhist meeting places and massacred over 10,000 Buddhist monks. According to L.W. Moses (The Political Role of Mongol Buddhism, Bloomington, 1977, p. 125), at the beginning of the twentieth century, in Outer Mongolia (Khalkha territory) there were; "583 temple complexes, plus an additional 260 religious meeting places of various kinds." In 1990, however, there existed but one functioning Buddhist monastery, Gandantegchinlin in the capital of Mongolia. [1]

Gandantegchinlen Khiid monastery, having escaped this mass destruction, was closed in 1938, but then reopened in 1944 and allowed to continue as a functioning Buddhist monastery, under a skeleton staff and named Gandan (or Ganden) Monastery, as a token homage to traditional Mongolian culture and religion. With the end of communism in Mongolia in 1990, restrictions on worship were lifted. See Mongolian Buddhism for details.

The original statue, made of copper, was built after appeals to the Mongolian public; its intent was to restore the sight of Bogd Javzandamba (or the eighth Jebtsundamba, also known as Bogd Khan), who had claimed the title of Emperor of Mongolia. The building of the statue was carried out by Bogd Javzandamba's principal minister, Chin Wan Khanddorj. Russian troops dismantled the original statue in 1938. After the end of the Soviet era, the statue of Migjid Janraisig was rebuilt in 1996. It features 2,286 precious stones and gold leaf as adornments.

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Khorloogiin Choibalsan (Mongolian: Хорлоогийн Чойбалсан
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