Following a series of teachings for Russian Buddhists in Dharamsala, northern India, on 10–12 May, His Holiness the Dalai Lama made offerings of Buddha statues to the main Buddhist temples in the Russian Federation, located in Buryatia, Kalmykia, Tuva, and Transbaikal, as well as Gunzechoinei Datsan* in St. Petersburg.
The teachings were held at the Tsuglagkhang temple complex in Mcleod Ganj, the official residence of His Holiness, and were attended by an audience of thousands, including some 1,100 from Russia, 5,195 people from 70 other countries, and more than 2,000 from the local Tibetan community. The teachings have been made available in 12 languages. The program was mainly directed at Buddhists from Russia, including those from the Buddhist Republics of Buryatia, Kalmykia, and Tuva, who have a longstanding connection with Tibet.
The Buddha statues offered by the Dalai Lama hold special significance because they were presented on the final day of the 10th annual teachings for Russian Buddhists. The statues were presented by Yangten Rinpoche, a close disciple of the Dalai Lama, in the presence of Telo Tulku Rinpoche. During the Dalai Lama’s teachings, Yangten Rinpoche also conducted afternoon reviews of His Holiness’ morning teaching sessions.
The teaching program was jointly organized by the Buryat temple Datsan Rinpoche Bagsha, the Kalmyk central temple the Golden Abode of Shakyamuni Buddha, and Foundation for the Promotion of the Preservation of Cultural and Philosophical Traditions of Tibetan Buddhism “Save Tibet,” based in Moscow.
The Dalai Lama gave teachings on The Three Principal Aspects of the Path (Tib. Lamtso Namsum) by Je Tsongkhapa (1357–1419), the founder of the Gelug school, and on The Sublime Continuum (Skt. Uttaratantra Shastra, Tib. Gyu Lama), one of The Five Treatises of Maitreya (Tib. Jamcho De Nga). The primary focus of Lamtso Namsum is the view of emptiness (Tib: tong pa nyi) and of Gyu Lama or Buddha-nature (Tib. deshin shegpe nyingpo). At the conclusion of his program he conducted a ceremony for generating the awakening mind (Skt. bodhichitta, Tib. jangchub sem).
The Dalai Lama’s teachings for Russian Buddhists have been held annually in India since 2009 at the request of Yelo Rinpoche, a senior Gelug teacher based in Buryatia, Telo Tulku Rinpoche, head lama of Kalmykia and the Dalai Lama’s honorary representative for Russia, Mongolia, and members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and also with the support of Lopsan Chamzy, the supreme lama of Tuva.
Initially the teachings for Russian Buddhists were held in New Delhi. Later they were organized in Riga, Latvia until last year. This year, due to limitations on His Holiness’ ability to travel, the teachings were to be held again in New Delhi, but after his recent illness,** the venue was changed to Dharamsala.
* Gunzechoinei Datsan was erected in St. Petersburg in 1909–15, becoming the first Buddhist temple in northwestern Russia, under the guidance of His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama Thupten Gyatso and the Buryat Lama Agvan Dorzhiev (1853/4–1938). The temple is maintained as a place of Dharma practice for scholars and students of the Gelug school of Vajrayana Buddhism.
** Dalai Lama Feeling “Almost Normal” After Being Discharged from Hospital (Buddhistdoor Global)
Далай-лама подарил статуи Будды главным буддийским монастырям России (РИА Новости)
Teachings for Russian Buddhists (The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama begins three-day teaching on Tsongkhapa’s Three Principal aspects of the Path (lamtso namsum) & The Furthest Everlasting Continuum (Central Tibetan Administration)