Buddhists in Kalmykia celebrated the 15th anniversary of the country’s central khurul (monastery), the Golden Abode of Shakyamuni Buddha, on 27 December. During the commemorative prayer service and ceremony, Telo Tulku Rinpoche, the shadjin lama (head lama) of the Kalmyk people, expressed gratitude to all those who have supported the central khurul over the last 15 years. He offered thanks to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as a spiritual leader of the Kalmyks, and to the first president of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who was instrumental in the construction of this and many other Buddhist temples.
Representatives of the legislative and executive bodies of the Kalmyk government attended and congratulated the monastic community on the anniversary of the khurul. At the end of the prayer service, held in the conference hall, Telo Tulku Rinpoche and Anja Gelong, the abbot of the khurul, presented certificates and commemorative medals to monks, employees, and supporters of the monastery.
The celebration program included two premieres: of a film by Roman Sukhostavskii about the activities of the khurul and of the play The Path to the Truth: Milarepa, staged by the B. Basangov Kalmyk State Theaterof Drama.
The idea for the creation of the play came from Telo Tulku Rinpoche, and it was staged by Boris Mandjiev, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kalmykia. The premiere was originally supposed to have taken place in the early spring of this year, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was finally realized on 25 and 26 December.
The play is based on the life story of the Tibetan poet and yogi Milarepa (1052–1135) and his a thorny path to the truth: a story about how one can drown in hatred, but then see the light and realize one’s mistakes. The yogi lived more than nine centuries ago, but his unforgettable poetry has been heard again by the actors of the Kalmyk State Theater. At the center of the narration is the story of how a young man, who went through a war, rediscovered the meaning of life, having learned the history of the path to enlightenment of one of the great teachers of the past. The play touches on a very important philosophical and social theme: how and where a modern person can find a reference point, mental strength, and self-confidence to return to life after difficult trials.
In his congratulatory speech for the play’s premiere, Telo Tulku Rinpoche recalled that this was the second project between the central khurul and the B. Basangov Kalmyk State Theaterof Drama. The first project was realized in 2016—a musical performance titled I Am Buddha,* presenting the life of Prince Siddhartha, who became the Awakened One through understanding the fundamental question concerning the suffering of human existence. I Am Buddha had two premieres, in the Kalmykian capital Elista and in Moscow, and two years later it was presented in Tuva and Buryatia. During the premiere, the shadjin lama expressed hope that the common work between the khurul and the Kalmyk State Theater would continue. He presented a commemorative plaque in honor of the 15th anniversary of the central khurul to the artistic director of the Kalmyk State Theaterand the honored composer Arkady Mandzhiev.
On 27 December, the central khurul released video material on the official YouTube channel, with messages from Buddhists in Kalmykia and Moscow, as well as Buryatia and India, and music and dance programs dedicated to the 15th anniversary.**
* Kalmyk Musical Performance of the Buddha’s Life Presented in Tuva and Buryatia (Buddhistdoor Global)
** Буддисты России поздравили с пятнадцатилетним юбилеем Центральный хурул Калмыкии (YouTube)
В Калмыкии состоялась премьера спектакля «Путь к Истине. Миларепа» (Золотая обитель Будды Шакьямуни)
«Путь к истине». Национальный драматический театр имени Басангова готовится к премьере спектакля (Вести Калмыкия)
На сцене калмыцкого драмтеатра состоится премьера «Путь к Истине. Миларепа» (Информационный портал Калмыкии)