Manlha Tus (pronounced “man-la toss”) is a new healing and learning institute located in Mongolia’s fast-growing capital city Ulaanbaatar. It provides health care to the poor, and will help Mongolians rediscover their Buddhist heritage. Registered in March 2011, the institute has a board of five directors, four of whom are local Mongolians and the fifth is Gaden Relief’s spiritual director, Zasep Rinpoche.
A big part of the Manlha Tus mandate is to help Mongolia’s nomads. In the recent zuds, the bitterly cold Mongolian winters during which temperatures fall to minus 40 degrees, Mongolia’s nomadic peoples lost millions of sheep, goats, horses and camels. Many nomads are selling what’s left of their herds and are moving to the capital city in search of new opportunities. But they are struggling to adapt to their new lives in the city’s yurt shantytowns. Pollution, poverty, physical and mental illnesses, alcoholism and family violence are serious problems.
Manlha’s Mobile Clinic
At the suggestion of Gaden Relief’s spiritual director Zasep Rinpoche, Manlha Tos was created to deliver blessings, counseling, spiritual training and health care to the people of Mongolia. Most Mongolians are Buddhist and still go to their lamas for spiritual help and advice, and it is hoped that Manlha Tus will serve this function in both urban and rural areas. More than 50% of Mongolians still live in the countryside where there are few roads and nomads still travel by camel.
For now the institute operates in Ulaanbaatar out of quarters donated by one of the directors. An early plan to purchase land in one of the yurt districts was abandoned because land in Ulaanbaatar has become too expensive. Instead Manhla Tus has decided to develop a mobile capacity to deliver emergency disaster relief and health services to the poor wherever they are. With this in mind, a Russian mobile clinic was acquired by Manlha Tus. This Russian-built mobile clinic truck is equipped with solar panels for power, a satellite dish for communications, and is big and powerful enough to traverse rough terrain. It is well suited for reaching areas other vehicles would fail to get to, especially in snow and mud.
The mobile clinic cost $45,000 and funds are needed to pay back money borrowed for its purchase. Gaden Relief has established a fund to help. If you would like to contribute please visit our donation page.
The Aims of Manlha Tos
- To train young Mongolian monks and nuns in how to become teachers of Buddhist Philosophy and Lam Rim.
- To train young Mongolian monks and nuns to become puja masters. Puja rituals include those associated with Medicine Buddha, White Tara, Green Tara, Haryagriva, Dakini Singhamukha and Black Manjushri.
- Healing through mind and mental spirit retrieval; the bringing back of one’s life force having been diminished from abuse of drugs or trauma. Zasep Rinpoche will oversee rituals such as La Gug and Tse Gug.
- To teach Tibetan Buddhist and other methods associated with caring for the dying and to perform Powa transferring mind into the Pure Lands at the time of death.
- Bringing Mongolian and Tibetan doctors to practice traditional medicine such as acupuncture and moxa techniques.
- To offer food to the poor on special days according to the lunar calendar.
Gaden Relief's Mongolia Projects
Manlha Tus is Gaden Relief’s newest Mongolian-based project, deepening a commitment made to the Mongolian people since 2003.
Zasep Rinpoche first visited Mongolia in the Fall of 2003 to reunite with his spiritual mentor and old friend, Guru Deva Rinpoche. Guru Deva Rinpoche was born in Ordos in Inner Mongolia. He worked tirelessly for over 50 years rebuilding Tibeto-Mongolian Buddhism in the nation state of Mongolia until he passed away at the age of 100 in 2009.
In December 2003, Gaden Relief set up the Mongolia Project to raise funds for the restoration of Amarbayasgalant Monastery in Selenge Aimag. Gaden Relief funded the digging of an artesian water well, hiring a Korean firm to drill the well. Since then the monks and an increasing number of visitors to the monastery have enjoyed fresh water. More importantly, the hygiene and health of the resident monks has improved. Other items donated by Rinpoche’s Australian students and friends include fleece-lined jackets for each of the monks, medicine, books as well as a range of other teaching and learning materials.
The Abbot of Amarbayasgalant Monastery at the time was Zawa Damdin Rinpoche. He later relocated a half-day’s drive south of Ulaanbator to Delgeruun Choira, to begin the difficult task of reconstructing a monastery that was completely destroyed during the socialist era. Once the reconstruction was well underway and monks were once again living and learning at the monastery, Zawa Rinpoche commenced a 3 year 3 month retreat which he will complete in July 2011. Zawa Rinpoche will be Mongolia’s first lama to complete this mandatory long retreat in the Gelukpa system of monastic training since the cessation of socialist rule in 1992.
The rebuilding of Delgeruun Choira was supported by funds from Gaden Relief. Major contributions were made toward the rebuilding of the Manjushri Temple and purchasing a Kobota generator. A solar power electrical system was installed by Gaden Relief volunteer John Huizinga. Through Gaden Relief, Zasep Rinpoche’s students from Australia, Canada and the USA helped to purchase other important things that were needed in the new monastery’s rebuilding process.
Gaden Relief is also helping single mothers through Gerelt Mur, a Mongolian NGO based in Ulaanbator. Geralt Mur provides yurts to single mothers who have no place to live. So far Gaden Relief has funded the cost of new yurts for two families.
More Information on the Manlha Tos Project & projects in the region
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