Gandantegchinlen Monastery

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The Gandantegchinlen 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 constructed by the order of Yongzheng Emperor in 1727. Nine years later, it was established and named Qingning Si by Qianlong Emperor, as residence of the Second Jebtsundamba, Outer 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 the influence of Joseph Stalin, destroyed all but a few monasteries and killed more than 15.000 lamas.

Gandantegchinlen Khiid monastery, having escaped this mass destruction, was closed in 1938, but then reopened in 1944 and allowed to continue as the only functioning Buddhist monastery, under a skeleton staff, as a token homage to traditional Mongolian culture and religion. With the end of marxism 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.[citation needed] After the end of the Soviet era, the statue of Migjid Janraisig was rebuilt in 1996, from donations by the Mongolian people. It features 2,286 precious stones and is gilded with gold leaf.

Since 1992 Supreme Leader of the Centre of All Mongolian Buddhists and Abbot Lama of Gandantegchenling Monastery is His Eminence Khamba Lama, Gabju Choijamts Demberel.

The monastery is surrounded by the Gandan ger suburb.
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