Venerable Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche has been making annual visits to Mongolia for the past 24 years. In 1995 Ven. Rinpoche visited Mongolia with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. At the end of the visit His Holiness asked Ven. Rinpoche to stay, teach, and help the Mongolian people. Since then Ven. Rinpoche has visited every summer.
Ven. Rinpoche established Kunchab Jampa Ling Buddhist Centre and Asral NGO Charity in Mongolia. His charitable projects benefit hundreds of people now suffering as a result of ever-increasing poverty since the collapse of the Soviet Union. He visits the prisons, orphanages and schools.
Ven. Rinpoche’s work in Mongolia has two main aims. The first aim is to support the revival of Buddhism, the traditional religion of Mongolia, which was suppressed prior to Mongolia’s independence from the communist state of Russia. The second aspect of his work is to address the dire poverty in Mongolia, especially of single mothers and their children. The basis of Ven. Rinpoche’s work is providing education and the development of practical skills. Ven. Rinpoche established a Hot Meal programme which supports some of the most disadvantaged children in the capital city by providing them with at least one hot meal each day.
Ven. Rinpoche travelled with his personal attendant, Younam, to Mongolia. He was greeted by Ven. Geshi Lharampa Ngawang Tsutrim (a Dharma Teacher at Kunchab Jampa Ling centre), Ueli Minder (Board member of Kunchab Jampa Ling Centre and Asral NGO Charity), Burmaa (Director of Kunchab Jampa Ling Centre and Asral NGO Charity) and a number of his students at Ulanbaataar’s Ghengis Khan Airport before travelling to Asral’s Centre.
At the Centre Ven. Rinpoche was received by students and friends carrying traditional colourful scarves. Long life prayers and mandala offerings were mad to him. Ven. Rinpoche expressed his warm wishes to all and gave a short teaching on living a meaningful life. He expressed his gratitude to the people and organisations who have contributed and supported his charitable projects in Mongolia.
Ven. Rinpoche held meetings with students and supporters of Asral over the next few days. Venerable Thuksay Rinpoche and some of the Tibetan Geshes and monks came to welcome him. Many others came to get blessings and guidance from Ven. Rinpoche.
Ven. Rinpoche met with Ven. Jetsun Dorjee Lharampa, a Mongolian monk who secured first position in the Gelug exam in the Lharampa category, which is the equivalent to a PhD in Buddhist philosophy.
Ven. Rinpoche met with BJ Graf and Lauren Rathvon from RetreaTours, which is based in the USA, and their Mongolian host from Dharma Production, Mongolia. BJ and Lauren organise retreat tours around the world with plans to start soon in Mongolia. Ven. Rinpoche briefed them on his humanitarian and Dharma work in Mongolia over the years. The couple were given a tour of the Centre, which included seeing the children’s classroom and the kitchen providing food for the Hot Meal Project. They were shown the MIM (Made in Mongolia) Workshop where handmade felt products are designed and manufactured by single Mongolian mothers. The couple offered to support Ven. Rinpoche’s work and to raise awareness by bringing more visitors to the Centre.
Ven. Rinpoche visited the Juvenile Detention Centre in Ulaanbaatar. He was greeted by the Director of the Detention Centre and updated on their current situation. There are 29 young boys and one girl in the Detention Centre. Recent developments at the Centre included providing educational and vocational training for the young people. Ven. Rinpoche personally thanked the Director for the developments made in the Centre which will contribute to a better future for the young people.
Ven. Rinpoche met the young people who showed him great respect. He gave them a short Dharma teaching and advised them to make the best use of their time in educating themselves and learning new skills which are now readily available to learn at the Centre. Ven. Rinpoche advised them to make a strong motivation every morning that they would like to make their life a happy and meaningful one. He said prayers for their health and for them to have a successful life and gave a blessing to each of them. Ueli Minder (Board member of Kunchab Jampa Ling Centre and Asral NGO Charity) distributed stationery and toiletries to them. To show their gratitude and appreciation the young inmates sang a song for Ven. Rinpoche.
Ven. Rinpoche has attended the Juvenile Detention Centre for many years. Asral Charity regularly attends the Centre to help the young people by providing counselling sessions and Dharma teachings. Venerable Rinpoche met with the staff of the Juvenile Detention Centre separately to give them advice and guidance on how to be loving and compassionate towards the young people.