In Russia, there are three main regions of the spread of Buddhism, and they are very far apart: Buryatia, the Tyva Republic and Kalmykia. However, there are other places. We will tell about all.
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The northernmost Buddhist temple in the world, Datsan Gunzehoyney , is located in St. Petersburg, although it is located far from the city center, on the Primorsky Prospect. It was completed several years before the October Revolution, operated intermittently as a temple until the 1930s, the stained glass windows were made according to the sketches of Nicholas Roerich. The building was returned to the religious community in perestroika, and today many religious services take place there. On the main altar of the temple, there is a new Burkhan of the Big Shakyamuni Buddha, covered with gold leaf, with the throne, he reaches a height of five meters.
Datsan’s visit can be combined with a trip to Elagin Island, a popular holiday destination for St. Petersburg: A Buddhist monastery is located across from the North Exit. In addition to religious practices, you can try postures – typical of Buryat food, a variation on the theme of Manti. Neither here nor elsewhere Russian Buddhists do not care much about the happiness of all living creatures: traditionally, the poses are stuffed with beef or lamb. The cafe is located in the basement, the interior is unpretentious, but the prices are interesting.
The Muscovites believers had to wait a long time: only on September 16, 2017 in Otradnoe took place the solemn opening of the first Buddhist stupa of enlightenment. It is located on the territory of the future complex of Buddhist temples “Tupden Shedubling – Center for the Study and Practice of Buddha Teaching”.
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REPUBLIC OF KALMYKIA
The huge Shakyamuni Gold Buddha Monastery rises above Elista, a very low and quite ordinary town. The temple was consecrated in 2005, it is surrounded by more than a hundred white stupas like snow and 17 pagodas with statues of great Buddhist masters. Go around and read about these great wise men. The main attraction of Khurula is the largest Buddha statue of Russia and Europe (9 m).
The schedule of services is vast: prayers for the well-being of the Kalmyk people take place every morning, funeral mourning – on Fridays. On the 8th, 15th and 30th days of the lunar month, matsg-dor are organized – great prayer services. In the temple in the afternoon, you can get an individual consultation, there is a museum, a medical center, a library and a movie club.
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Where is it easier to see one of the Buddhist shrines for tourists visiting Baikal. On the small island of Ogoy, in the middle of the Little Baikal Sea, stands the Buddhist stupa of enlightenment. Her full name – Stupa of enlightenment, to defeat the demons, containing a statue of the female form, the Mother of all Buddhas, as Mother Troma Nagmo.
Built a sanctuary in the summer of 2005 by private donations, volunteers from many Russian cities: construction materials carried by water in the boat, then raised the hand up. For the first time in Russia in one place were collected and put in a stupa for posterity a vast library (its weight was 750 kg) of original Buddhist texts: the complete collection of canonical texts Kanjur – lessons learned from the words of the Buddha himself, and Dandzhur – comments Indian Buddhist teachers to the sutras and tantras, texts written in Tibetan and Sanskrit languages that were previously unknown to western science were posed. In addition to ancient manuscripts in a mantra invested stupa and sacred Buddhist relics, including hair particles and the blood of Buddha Shakyamuni.
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Buddhism on the territory of this region returned to the 9th century and was established in the 14th century, at a time when the region was part of the Mongol empire.
After the 1917 revolution, all available Khurals were closed, and it was not until the 1990s that the gradual revival of the Buddhist community began. The complex of temples “Green Tara” in the suburb of Kyzyl for more than ten years has just been planned for construction, a little better with the Buddha statue on the sacred mountain Dogee. And the main temple of the republic, Cechenling, had a few years ago a legal scandal related to the definition of property rights. In Tuva, Buddhism is particularly strongly mixed with local pagan beliefs. While the temple projects are not implemented, the rituals are held in natural sacred places, the calendar can be clarified in the Buddhist Association of Tuva.
A republic so remote, perhaps the most intact place in Russia – it entered the USSR the last, remaining formally independent until 1944. Thus, those who arrive here can not only touch Buddhism, but also become familiar with the nature of the mountain, ancient customs or continue their journey in Mongolia, on the border with which the capital of the region is less than 300 km.
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REPUBLIC OF ALTAI
An important center for the propagation of Buddhism is the Altai. Local people have long used elements of Buddhism in their cults, but not so deeply rooted. But the energy of the local mountains today attracts those seeking spiritual enlightenment.
Now, the Altai Republic is the subject of three major world religions: Christianity, Buddhism and Islam. There are temples, a mosque, but the main datsan is not yet built. The foundation stone for the construction of a Buddhist university monastery was laid in 2015 in the village of Maima near Gorno-Altaisk.
Also in Gorno-Altaisk, the chamber temple of the Ak-Burkan community was inaugurated. The practice can be done in the center of “Shen Ling”, whose spiritual head is the Tibetan lama. By prior arrangement, you can spend time teaching meditation and spiritual practices. The official fees are not taken here, everything is based on a voluntary offer to the teacher. Students agree not to kill, not to steal, not to use drugs that stupefy the mind (tobacco, drugs, alcohol), not to commit adultery (do not have sex with them). partners of others).
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REPUBLIC OF BURYATIA
Finally, Buryatia is the main center of Buddhism in Russia. It was the local Buddhists who in the 18th century gained official recognition of their religion by Empress Elizaveta Petrovna. Today, here, as well as in the neighboring region of Chita, there are 23 datsans (monasteries).
Getting to Ulan-Ude is relatively simple: The Trans-Siberian crosses the city, and at the airport there are many faraway flights (Moscow, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Krasnoyarsk) and local flights. If you choose a plane, the first drum with sacred mantras will join you at the exit of the airport.
The main Buddhist monastery, it is the residence of the head of Russian Buddhism, is the Ivolginsky datsan, from the city about an hour away by car. In the monastery complex with dozens of temples and statues for visitors, there are guided tours, you can take part in rites and rituals. To do this, you must prepare yourself: to arrive at the desired structure of datsan (or a close point) at a strictly designated time and have certain products (milk, vodka, meat) or things with you. In one of the temples of the Datsan – the blessed palace of the Hambo-Lama Itigelov – the body of the Buddhist lama of Eastern Siberia is preserved. In 1927, he died and found an imperishable body: his remains were buried until 2002 in a special sarcophagus and did not decompose, now they are kept in the datsan and revered as a sanctuary. Bonuses arrived at Ulan-Ude – Lenin’s big head with a slightly Asian look in the middle of the city, the proximity of the less popular and wilder eastern shore of Lake Baikal, as well as the railroad and the road to the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.
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Tours where you can visit the Buddhist places of power and get acquainted with the culture of the indigenous inhabitants of Siberia