A United Effort is in the Best Interest of Russia’s Buddhists

November 5, 2006

Author: Anton Cooper, translator

Source: The Buddhist Channel


In the early days of October, Kalmykia celebrated the tenth opening anniversary of the republic’s first Buddhist monastery: Geden Sheddup Choikorling. Considering the very rapid pace of development of Buddhist teaching in the steppe republic, this celebration has in some way become a new milepost, on the one hand allowing for a backward glance and on the other a look forward to the new day.

Kalmykia made the revitalization of Tibetan Buddhism a high-priority for regional development, and can now offer Buddhist Russia a well substantiated hope for resolving a great diversity of burning issues. First, among all Russian Buddhist Republics only Kalmykia was able to stage (even if only a most brief) visit by the Dalai Lama in November of 2004.

Tuva and Buriatia are still forced to speak of a fourteen year lapse since the last close contact with their spiritual leader, who should ideally guide Buddhism’s future spiritual development. Second, the changes coming on the heels of the one-day 2004 visit could be stunning not only a Buddhist from Buriatia or Tuva, but any non-Buddhist from any economically developed location on the planet’s surface.

The Temple of the Golden Abode of Buddha Shakyamuni, built in nine months, in the very center of the Kalmyk republican capital Elista, became the material manifestation of the strength of the Dalai Lama’s blessing, and the good intentions of his Kalmyk followers, among whom a special place is held by the republic’s supreme lama Telo Tulku Rinpoche and the head of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

Their cooperation and devotion to His Holiness the Dalai Lama are likely the major reason to view the future of Buddhism in Russia with a certain dose of optimism.