April 2018 \ News \ Mongolia

Early the 1980s the Mongolian government...

By G. Ganbold, Ambassador in memory of Kushok Bakula Pinpoche

In the year of white Horse on December 31, 1989, on chilly but sunny day Rinpoche arrived at Ulaanbaatar. He was welcomed by many people from Gandantegchelin monastery, the Asian Buddhists Conference for Peace (ABCP) headquarters and Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Mongolia.

By the way, India was the first ever country outside the non socialist block recognized and established diplomatic relations with Mongolia on December 24, 1955 and firmly supported her membership to United Nations in 1961. Bakula Rinpoche took charge as Indian Ambassador on January 3, 1990 and two days later on January 5, 1990 he called on Mr. Ts. Gombosuren, Foreign Minister and later that same day he presented his credentials to H.E. Mr. J. Batmunkh, Chairman of the Presidium of the People’s Great Khural. This was unusual breach of protocol as the host government in normal circumstances would only accept credentials after a month or so. There was great deal of curiosity and interest in his appointment in the country. This was evident when he met the ministers and senior officials of the Government of Mongolia for the first time as ambassador. Never before in their life had they interacted with a senior reincarnated Buddhist monk, let alone one who was serving as ambassador of a foreign country. For many ordinary Buddhists in the country, Rinpoche’s appointment was a matter of tremendous excitement. They were so pleased to find Bakula Rinpoche was now living in their midst. For some, it called to mind that long-forgotten prophecy made in the late 19th century, about the coming of Arhat Bakula to Mongolia. You might know Arhad means initial sixteen disciples of Lord Buddha. And Kushok Bakula was 19th reincarnation of one of them, who is depicted as holding mongoose.

Mr. Ts. Gombosuren, who was considered a liberal and who ably implemented Mongolia’s foreign policy in those critical days wrote in one of his articles, “When Bakula Rinpoche finally came to Mongolia as India’s Ambassador, we were keen that he presented his credentials as soon as possible. In our first meeting, we exchanged views on internal situation of our countries, development of bilateral relations and other issues. Rinpoche expressed his views on policy matters and the purposes underlying them. He could sense a major transformation taking place in Mongolia. These were words of a genuine and a far-sighted statesman, who wanted to inspire and encourage us. There was no mention of ‘religion’ but behind the words ‘history and culture’ he obviously meant that Buddhism must be restored. Seven months later, the first ever democratic and free elections were held in Mongolia. Thus, in a way, Ambassador Bakula Rinpoche had predicted the future of our country. Some ‘conscious’ men even suggested to ‘send back’ the Indian Ambassador. But His Holiness enjoyed tremendous respect and support among people who felt proud of their national history and culture. In more recent times some important steps were taken to promote bilateral relations between our two countries and one could clearly see the role and tremendous contributions made in this regard by Ambassador Bakula Rinpoche. This is a common assessment of many individuals, which I fully endorse.”

Tags: G. Ganbold