During his visit to Mongolia, the Dalai Lama spoke to Mongolian Buddhists announcing changes to Buddhist education to a more modern model.
Ulaan Baatar (AsiaNews) – The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, visited Mongolia from 18 to 21 November. Flying in from Japan, he was welcomed at the airport by government officials, senior monks from Mongolian monasteries and the Indian Ambassador.
During his visit, the spiritual leader visited some of the country’s most important Buddhist sites.
On Saturday, he visited Gaden Choling Thekchen, Mongolia’s largest monastery where he spoke with teachers, monks and religious elders from all over the country. He also visited the Kalkha Jetsun Damna monastery, ninth in importance in Mongolian Buddhism.
On Sunday, the Dalai Lama addressed 12,000 people, mostly monks, at the Buyant Uhaa Sports Complex in the capital. On that occasion, he announced changes to the "classic Buddhist " education system in favour of a more modern model.
The new system, which will be adopted in Mongolian Buddhist monasteries, includes a broader and more holistic type of education, including logic, reason and investigation rather than a series of arcane rituals and customs.
This change will bring local education closer to that in place in Indian monasteries where modern education includes science, math and English as pre-requisites for a complete education.
Before the visit, the Chinese government had urged Mongolia not to allow the Dalai Lama to enter the country. It said that a visit by the spiritual leader would undermine relations with China, on which Mongolia is very dependent for trade and investment.
Even though the 81-year-old Dalai Lama is a respected figure worldwide and has contacts with many world leaders, Chinese leaders accuse him of being a separatist who is fighting for the independence of Tibet from China.
In what he calls a "middle way approach", the Dalai Lama only seeks “meaningful autonomy” for Tibet as part of China, with safeguards for its language, religion and culture.
Beijing often berates foreign leaders who host the Buddhist leader, last month telling Slovakian President Andrej Kiska that his lunch meeting with the Dalai Lama had “broken the political basis of China-Slovak relations.”