MACA Founders

Gombojab Hangin

Gombojab Hangin was born in 1921, in Chakhar (Tsahar), Inner (Southern) Mongolia. He studied at Hokkaido Imperial University in Japan during World War II and returned to Inner (Southern) Mongolia to work as a secretary under the government of Prince Demchugdongrub, who ruled over the autonomous Inner (Southern) Mongolia region established by the Japanese during their occupation of Northern China. In 1947, he served as a representative in the National Assembly of the Republic of China, and in 1949, after the Communists came to power in China, he moved with the National Assembly to Taiwan, where he worked briefly as a representative of Inner (Southern) Mongolia for the Chiang Kai-Shek government.

Shortly afterwards, Gombojab Hangin moved to the United States with his family, where he earned a Ph.D. from Indiana University. He taught at several universities after his graduation, including Columbia University, Georgetown University, and the University of California at Berkeley, but eventually returned to Indiana University in 1964. There he taught courses in Mongolian language and culture. He compiled several of the first English-Mongolian dictionaries and wrote various Mongolian language textbooks.

Outside of his career as a professor, Gombojab Hangin was dedicated to forming a bridge between the United States and the country of Mongolia. He helped to push for the recognition of the Mongolian People's Republic by the United Nations and the United States, which were eventually achieved in 1961 and 1987, respectively. He formed the Mongolia Society at Indiana University that continues to exist to this day, providing scholarships to Mongolian students who study in the United States as well as promoting the study of Mongolian history, language, and culture.

In 1988, Gombojab Hangin, together with Tsorj Lama, formed the Mongol-American Cultural Association with the charge of carrying out an annual memorial ceremony to Chinggis Khan. Hangin himself led the very first such memorial in 1988. The American version of the ritual benedictions were composed by Hangin based on the original texts recited at the Ezen Khoroo mausoleum, but updated and suited to a disparate community of ex-patriate Mongols. The Chinggis Khan memorial ceremony has continued to be performed at least once a year since 1988 and this has been one of the greatest legacies he has left to the Mongol-American community.

Gombojab Hangin passed away on October 9, 1989 from complications following a massive stroke while doing research in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

A PowerPoint About Gombojab Hangin

Tsorj Lama

Tsorj Lama Tubdensaljid Rinpoche was born on October 12, 1912 in the Shuluun Khuke Qoshuun of the Tsakhar banner in Southern Mongolia. His father was a herdsman by the name of Tsaghaanbaatar. At the age of five, he was recognized as the fifth reincarnation of Saint Cheojay, and installed as the Chief Abbot of the famour Khorgho Temple, in West Sunid banner. His early studies of Mongolian and Tibetan, along with the essential teachings of Sang, De, Jig, Sum and the Five Main Protectors, were followed by 14 years of studies in philosophy. From 1932 to 1936, he received his initiation into the practices of "lung", "jenang" and "wang". The following years of the '30s and early '40s, he was personal physician to the famous Prince De Wang. Following the war years, and the collapse of the Nationalist government, Rinpoche took residence in Beijing until moving on to India via Lhasa, in 1956, where he lived for nearly ten years. In 1966, Rincpoche moved to the United States, where he lived in various parts of the country, including New Jersey, Texas, Indiana, and NewYork. Rincpoche's last five ears were spent in New Brunswick, New Jersey, tending to the spiritual and religious needs of the local Buddhist community. Most notably, in 1988, Rinpoche, with Professor Gombojab Hangin, was a founding member and president of the Mongol-American Cultural Association (MACA). Rinpoche passed away at his home, in the early morning of December 7, 1990.