Encounters of the Incarnations in Mongolia

Dr Makoto Tachibana

On November 23, 2016, the 14th Dalai Lama, who had visited Mongolia for the ninth time, stated his conviction that the incarnation of the 9th Jebtsundamba Khutughtu had been born in Mongolia. The successive Jebtsundamba Khutughtus were the most worshipped incarnations in Mongolia, and the 8th Jebtsundamba Khutughtu was enthroned as the head of state in 1911. The 9th Jebtsundamba Khutughtu was recognized by the 14th Dalai Lama as the true incarnation in 1991 and enthroned as the head of Mongolian Buddhism in 2011. China postponed bilateral meetings with Mongolia indefinitely after his visit to Mongolia. Around 100 years before these events their predecessors, the 13th Dalai Lama and the 8th Jebtsundamba Khutughtu, encountered each other in Mongolia. After their meeting in 1913 Mongolia and Tibet concluded a treaty in which they recognized each country’s independence. Interactions between Mongolia and Tibet flourished. The 8th Jebtsundamba Khutughtu died in 1924 and the 13th Dalai Lama in 1933. After the former’s death, Mongolia became a socialist state and relations with Tibet had become weak, until the 14th Dalai Lama visited Mongolia for the first time in 1979. This paper will consider the recent history of Mongol-Tibetan relations by examining changes after the encounters between the two incarnations.


Makoto Tachibana is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Economics, Shimonoseki City University. His research interests include the modern history of Mongolia and the history of international relations in East Asia. He is co-author of The Resurgence of “Buddhist Government”: Tibetan-Mongolian Relations in the Modern World (2019).




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