Within walking distance from the Erdene Zuu Monastery is the Kharkhorin Rock, a.k.a. the Phallic Rock. It is a 24-inch long penis raised on a concrete platform on the steppe. The question of course is: Why would anyone erect a penis just outside a Buddhist monastery? The answer comes in the form of a legend. Rumor has it that a long time ago, a monk broke his vow of celibacy with local women. The naughty monk became some sort of Mongolian Priapus who put little effort into hiding his philandering. As a consequence and to make an example of the monk, the elders castrated him to remind the monks of their vows of celibacy. And just in case the monks at the monastery failed to read the snip-snip memo, a rock in the shape of a penis was prominently engraved as a stone phallus; a reminder that they should keep things tucked under the monastic robe. No hall passes.
Mooggie, being the gentleman he is, chose not to tell me the sordid version of the penis. He favored the more mystical reason for its existence: a superstition that has to do with valleys, the mount of venus, and babies. He had me at valley. According to Mooggie, the penis points erotically to a small valley in the shape of a woman's parts. Barren women straddle the penis facing the "V-Slope," leave offerings in a little receptacle strategically located under the head of the phallus, place blue scarves on the shrine, et voila. Nine months later, they give birth to a beautiful baby.
This is how Mooggie explained it to me: