– Gonchig GANBOLD, Ambassador of Mongolia
Brothers and Sisters in Dharma
‘Vesak’, also known as Buddha Jayanti or Buddha Purnima and Buddha Day, is observed by Buddhist communities in and beyond India as the day of the birth, enlightenment, and death (Parinirvāna) of Gautama Buddha. It is celebrated on the 26th of May, and is declared as a public holiday. Buddhism was introduced to Mongolia not once but three times with historical sources stating that Mongolia was the earliest to receive the Bauddha dharma among the three dharmic lands after India. The ancient Indian culture and arts reached Mongolia through its dharma. Based on these and other records, the ancestors adopted the Bauddha dharma from India through Sogdian and Uyghur panditas in the ancient past.
Teachings of Buddha and Buddhism have become inseparable parts of the Mongolian way of living. Madhyamika, known as the Middle Path or Noble Eightfold Path, consisting of perfect view, perfect thought, perfect speech, perfect action, perfect mode of living, perfect endeavor, perfect mindfulness, and perfect consciousness helped to form our thoughts and turned into a philosophy that has a huge impact on our state policy. Henceforth, Mongolians attach the highest value to gyan (knowledge), dharma (realisation), and karma (action).
Honorable Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi during his official visit to Mongolia graciously presented saplings of the Banyan tree and pledged to help in building a statue of Lord Buddha and his two disciples as well as digitalising these ancient and rare Buddhist manuscripts. His offer was deeply appreciated as a vivid indication of our bonds of Dharma and common civilization affinities. Though sitting on the northern and southern fringes of Buddhist Asia, Mongolia and India have been intertwined with such spiritual legacies which have grown into a solid basis of our state-to-state relations. Recently, we jointly marked the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations. These dharmic and cultural ties, in my belief will continue to contribute to the growth of our relations in the coming years too.
Given the promising initiative of the “Hunnu Air” a company of Mongolia to launch scheduled flights connecting Ulaanbaatar and New Delhi and brand new International Airport at Khoshigt valley, outskirt of Ulaanbaatar coming into operation. I am optimistic that India’s involvement in the field of tourism and hospitality industry would be enhanced.
Considering the fact of full vaccination of 5.9 lakh of the eligible citizens, Mongolia has reopened for international air travel from 10th May 2021, and resumed scheduled flights with the countries those recognise its immunization certificates for COVID-19, named International Travel Health Certificate (ITHC).