Tibet’s longest friend and ally is Mongolia: Telo Rinpoche

Telo Rinpoche, Representative from the Office of Tibet, Moscow, speaking at the Tibet-Mogolia Relations, April 1, 2024. (Photo: TPI)

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Dharamshala — A two-day conference on Tibetan-Mongolian Relations kicked off in Dharamshala on Monday. Telo Rinpoche, Representative from the Office of Tibet, Moscow, said: "Tibet's oldest friend and ally is Mongolia, but sometimes we forget our friends. There are bound to be many challenges, but we must face them and renew our relationship."

The conference, entitled "Tibetan-Mongolian Relations: Prospects, Challenges in Tibet-Mongol relations since the 20th century, and the path forward", begins in the hall of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives on April 1, 2024. Several Tibetan and dignitaries and five Mongolians, including two former Mongolian ambassadors, took part in the conference, which was attended by over 60 people in total. The conference organised by Diluv Hutugthu Foundation (Mongolia) in collaboration with the Tibet Policy Institute (TPI) and Moscow-based Tibet Culture Centre (Office of Tibet).

During the inaugural ceremony, Dawa Tsering, the Director of TPI, delivered a welcome address and expressed appreciation to guest speakers for their presence. He said, “Though previous meetings of this kind have been held, this is the first formal conference between the Central Tibetan Administration and Mongolian experts”, and extended his gratitude to Representative Telo Rinpoche for his assistance in coordinating the scholars to materialise this maiden official forum. He further shared his thoughts on Tibet-Mongol relations to introduce the significance of the conference. He spoke of how Tibetans and Mogolians faced and suffered from the Chinese invasion. He also spoke of the fact that the two countries and peoples share the same religion and the importance of maintaining Buddhism in this century, which helps people all over the world.

Telo Rinpoche, Representative from the Office of Tibet, Moscow, told the gathering about his story: he was born in the USA and grew up in the Tibetan Monastery in South India, learning about Buddhism, etc, as well as his role as a Kalmyk-born Buddhist lama serving as a Representative at the Central Tibetan Administration. While recognising the historical ties between Tibet and Mongolia, the Representative called for the revival and reinvigoration of that relationship in the modern era. He further recounted the hardships that Mongolian-origin peoples of the republics of Kalmykia, Tuva, Buryatia, and both Northern and Southern Mongolia have encountered in recent history, similar to the struggles that Tibetans underwent.

In these two-day conference, the speakers will speak on Mongolia and Tibet in 1900-1913: From Qing Dynasty Control to Independence; the declaration of Mongolia’s independence in 1911 by the 8th Jebtsun Danba; The 13th Dalai Lama’s attempt to gain recognition of Tibet’s independent political status and the significance of the Water-Ox (1913) ordination that explicitly validates Tiebt’s independent political status; Tseden Lobsan Khechuk – mystery lama from Tibet; the history of prominent Mongolian lamas in Sera Je monastery and the current state of Mongolian monks at the monastery; Mongolian Buddhist students at the Drepong Gomang Monastery since 1979; Mongolian People’s Government’s steps to establish official relations with Tibet: Duke Gombo-Idshin and his mission to Tibet (September 1926 – August 1928); significance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Mongolia in 1970 and 2016; the traditions and contemporary issues of Tibetan literary studies at the Mongolian Academy of Science; the revival of the golden relationship between the Sakya Monastic Institution and the Mongolian community; three great Mongolian (Tibetan) scholars in modern history of Tibet; and the continued influence of the Gadan Phodrang government in Jachung Monastery to this day.