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Comments from Buddhist scholar Glenn H Mullin, Special Advisor to the Project
See our YouTube video Salvaging the Nicholas Roerich House, Mongolia:
A few years ago I was having lunch with my friend Prof Chadraa, director of the Science Academy in Mongolia, when he received a phone call. His eyes lit up and he smiled with delight. That was Prof. Bira. He just received a phone call from the government. They have given us the old Roerich House. It wont be demolished. We can save it.
Prof Bira is a legend in Mongolia. He has won almost every national award, and a great many international ones. Now 81 years of age, he is the last remaining student of Nicholas Roerichs eldest son George, the great Orientalist who translated The Blue Anals and gave the Western world its first in-depth and accurate picture of the development of Tibetan Buddhism. Bira had the good fortune to arrive in Moscow to enter his PhD studies at the same time that Kruschev was usering in a period of post-Stalinist liberalism. As part of this, Kruchev requested many Russian scholars living abroad to come to Russia and help him build a new intelligencia, a segment of society almost annihilated by Stalin. George Roerich returned in 1957 as part of this program, and Bira studied Tibetan and Sanskrit with him from then until George suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in 1960.
When Prof. Bira spoke to me of the Roerich House in Mongolia, and of the importance not only of saving it, but also introducing a kind of mini-Masters Institute patterned after the one Nicholas Roerich had created in New York in the 1920s, I was immediately overwhelmed with excitement. I naturally accepted his invitation to help with fundraising for the project, and to assist in any way that I could.
After some discussion we decided that the project should proceed in three phases:
1. Restoring the original house and transforming it into a heritage site to honor the Roerich legacy and contribution, with galleries dedicated to Roerichs paintings, writings and other work in the Mongol regions of Central Asia;
2. Creating an adjoining institute for artistic, intellectual and spiritual activities, based on Nicholas Roerichs idea of universalism and enlightenment; and
3. Creating some kind of structure for long-term maintenance of the Institute.
I sent out a few dozen letters, and was amazed at the enthusiasm for Roerich all around the world. Friends from America, England, Russia, Poland and a dozen other countries replied with great encouragement. Many of them offered to try and help in various ways big and small.
Check out our How You Can Help page to see how you can get involved and become part of this important project.
I would like to thank those who have assisted with the project to date. Dr. Lynne Heckert of www.domaindakini.com purchased and donated the web domain names for our site, and also is donating the space for it. Hishigbayar Baatar of Shambhala Mongolia Designs created the site for us free of charge. (If you need to hire a great web designer, you can contact him directly.) Hishghe also designed another of my Mongolia Projects website: www.zanabazarmuseum.org. You can also check out that site for an example of his work.
As of the time of writing this auspicious Winter Solstice day of 2008-- it is two weeks since we launched our Roerich Mongolia Project. One person has already donated $10,000 for the restoration of the house, and three other friends have committed to substantial donations sometime after the New Year. My deepest thanks to them for their encouragement and support. Together we can succeed.
Works of great merit generate benefits that operate not only in cultural and material spheres, but bring profound waves of enlightenment energy that endure in the continuum of the individual for many lifetimes, and in the world for many centuries.
Glenn Mullin,
Ganden Shedrup Ling,
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia,
Winter Solstice, 2008