The Kalmyk Three Jewels Foundation was launched in 2009 by Badma Taunov and Maria Taunov to help maintain and strengthen Kalmyk culture and religious traditions in the United States and around the world. Historical ties of religion and culture bind the Kalmyk people together; however, these close ties are being eroded by the pressures of modern life and cultural assimilation. Many years of oppressive communist rule have also deteriorated our ability to maintain our heritage in many parts of the world. Our aim is to pass on knowledge of our culture and traditions to the next generation of our children so that they may celebrate and preserve our Kalmyk heritage.
The Kalmyk Three Jewels Foundation principle goals are: to preserve and promote the Kalmyk culture; to advance the interests of all Kalmyk people; to keep the Kalmyk culture, customs, music, dance, decorative arts, history, religion, language and literature alive within the Kalmyk community for the benefit of future generations; and to serve as a hub for Kalmyk activities.
For more information visit: http://kalmykthreejewels.org/
The first Kalmyk people arrived in the United States 60 years ago. Kalmyk people (or Kalmyks) is the name given to the Oirats, Western Mongols in Russia, whose descendants migrated from Dzhungaria in 1607. Today, they form the majority in the autonomous Republic of Kalmykia on the western shore of the Caspian Sea. Through emigration, small Kalmyk communities have been established in the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.
The Kalmyks are a branch of the Oirats whose ancient grazing lands are now located in Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, and the People's Republic of China. After the fall of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368, the Oirats emerged as a formidable foe against the Eastern Mongols and the Ming Chinese and their successors, the Manchu, who founded the Qing Dynasty, in a nearly 400-year military struggle for domination and control over both Inner Mongolia and Outer Mongolia. The struggle ended in 1757 with the defeat of the Oirats in Dzungaria, the last of the Mongol groups to resist vassalage to China.*
* (Grousset, 1970: 502-541)
Photo captions: (a) Telo Tulku Rimpoche Shadjin Lama of Kalmyk Republic, Russia (b) Children's Nomin Class with monks and pandas (c) Lincoln Center 2012 (d) His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and Badma Taunov in Iowa 2011 (e) New Jersey Magazine article 2011 (f) Tibetan Monks in Howell, New Jersey (g) His Holiness the 14th Dali Lama blessing Yangsi Tenzin Namdrol Rimpoche (h) Lincoln center visit in 2012 alter set-up (i) Kalmyk Three Jewels Foundation, Township of Howell, New Jersey and Sukhbaatar District of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Sister City signing at the Township of Howell, New Jersey (j) Kalmyks living in Germany during the 1940's (k) Welcoming His Holiness in 2012 (l) MSTC initiations 2010. Photos courtesy of the Kalmyk Three Jewel Foundation.