Amarbayasgalant, one of the most well-known and largest monasteries of Mongolia, is located in the beautiful Iven Gol River valley on the foot of Burenkhan Mountain in Baruunburen soum of Selenge province. Visitors especially enjoy the magnificent art and architectural construction.
Since then the monastery of the Undur Geghen was a great source of Dharma teaching and accomplishment with over six thousand novices and ordained monks who followed the rules of Lord Buddha`s Vinaya, combining the Three Basket in full harmony with the Three Higher Trainings. The beauty, decorations and construction of the monastery have made it one of the most magnificent architectural monuments not only in Mongolia, but in whole Asia.
HISTORY : Foundation
The monastery was established by order of Manju emperor Enkh- Amgalan Khan, to cherish and give respect to the Undur Geghen Zanabazar, his skills, wisdom, intellect and accomplishments. One hundred thousand langs (=3730 kg) of silver from the state fund were used to build a magnificently styled place for Buddha teaching and practice in honor of Zanabazar. After searching for a suitable place, the construction works of the monastery called “Amarbayasgalant ‘’, a palace for God `s meditation , began in the year of red horse,1726, and was completed in the year of red dragon, 1736. Out of deep respect the monastery was then offered to the Undur Geghen.
In 1937-38 a fearsome repression covered Amarbayasgalant Monastery and all the highly trained knowledgeable monks were executed. Also huge numbers of rare religious relics, books, sutras, thangkas and Buddhas which had been collected for 200 years, were destroyed completely. This is how the holy temple of Amarbayasgalant became mere ruins and it was abandoned for 50 shady years.
1990 was the time when the circumstances came for Amarbayasgalant to be restored. Communism had fallen and the people were eager to revive their religious tradition. Amarbayasgalant was re-established and nowadays stands strong on it is remarkable construction, as on its 300-year history.
Today about sixty novices and ordained monks, who followed precisely the rule of Vinaya, are in residence and practicing Dharma to create great benefit for all sentient beings. One of the Buddhist traditions that is revived since the reopening is the Tsam Dancing ceremony which was held in September 13-15, 2002, after being interrupted for 65 years.
The religious mask dancing “Tsam” was highly developed in the Buddhist monasteries of Mongolia in the middle of the 19th century, reflecting the ritual of Secret Tantra, but Tsam was last performed in 1937. In 2002, for the first time in 65 years the Tsam dance was performed again at Amarbayasgalant.