Ulanbaatar, Mongolia

  • Date
  • 31 July 1999

The Communists shut down the Monastery of Choijin Lama in 1938. The five temples and five gates, built from 1904-1908, are the most extravagantly filled of any we have seen on this world journey and we certainly saw wondrous temples in China.

Upon entry, there is the Temple of Maharaja, which is small with four larger than life-size majestic sculptures of great guardians of the Buddha. Mongolian masters during the construction of the temples made them of papier-mâché.

The Main Temple, and the most beautiful, has a Buddha at the center and on one side of this golden statue is Lubsanhaidub, the Lama the temple was built in honor of, and on the left side of the Buddha is the embalmed mummy of his teacher Enzonhamba Baldanchoimbol. There are musical instruments by the altar and Javdan seats.

There are scores of masks for performing Tsama, the ritual dances for exorcising evil spirits, lining the walkway to another room connected to the Main Temple. This room is where the Lama went into ‘ecstasies’. Here there are paintings of people being brutally punished for misdeeds.

The Temple Zuu was built in honor of the founder of Buddhism. The 16 Apostles are depicted in caves as hermits in meditation.

The Temple of Yadam is a temple of secret tantra where common believers were not permitted.

The final Temple of Amgalan has walls adorned with the relief of the 16 Apostles.