Lama Zopa Rinpoche was born in 1946 in the village of Thami, in the Mount Everest region of Nepal. At the age of three, he was recognized as the incarnation of Kunsang Yeshe (1865–1946), a renowned yogi and a tantric master of the Nyingma school of Vajrayana Buddhism. After the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959, Lama Zopa first moved to Bhutan and then to the Tibetan refugee camp in West Bengal, India. Here he met his root teacher, Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935–84), who was from the Gelug school. In 1967, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Lama Thubten Yeshe moved to Nepal, where they founded Kopan Monastery and started the FPMT. After the passing of Lama Yeshe, Lama Zopa Rinpoche became the spiritual leader of the FPMT and continued traveling the world to spread the wisdom and compassion of the Dharma. Among his numerous charitable projects are the building of two large statues of Maitreya Buddha in Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar, India, and the international Animal Liberation Fund.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche Visits Kalmykia
SOFIA—One of the greatest Buddhist masters of our time, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, on 19 May began his long-awaited tour in the Republic of Kalmykia—a federal subject of Russia and the only region in Europe where Buddhism is the most practiced religion.
The spiritual leader of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) will teach and offer initiations at Europe’s largest Buddhist temple—the Golden Abode of Shakyamuni Buddha in the capital Elista. After the program at the main Kalmyk khurul (temple), Lama Zopa Rinpoche will visit Moscow to teach and confer the Medicine Buddha (Tib. Sangye Menla) initiation at the local branch of the FPMT, Ganden Tendar Ling Center.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s program in Kalmykia has been hosted and organized by Telo Tulku Rinpoche, shadjin lama (head lama) of the Kalmyk Republic and the Dalai Lama’s honorary representative for Russia, Mongolia, and the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The four-day program at the Golden Abode of Shakyamuni Buddha includes teachings on Lama Atisha’s Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment (20–21 May), the Vajrasattva (Tib. Dorje Sempa) purification initiation (23 May) and the Amitayus (Tib. Tsepagme) long life initiation (24 May).
During the first day of his tour, Lama Zopa Rinpoche visited the temple in Elista, performed prostrations in front of the holy statues, offered a khatak (silk scarf) as a symbol of respect to the Three Jewels, and gave a short speech to the audience gathered at the prayer hall.
In an interview with Save Tibet Russia, Telo Tulku Rinpoche emphasized the significance of the event: “The visit of Lama Zopa Rinpoche to Russia is of great importance, not only because he is one of the classical teachers of Tibetan Buddhism, but also because he is a contemporary master with a special style of presenting Buddhist knowledge. He has been transmitting the Buddha’s teachings to foreign students for many years and he is familiar with the mentality and the culture of people from different nations.”
In 2009, Telo Tulku Rinpoche also brought another project by Lama Zopa to the region (Buryatia, Kalmykia, Mongolia, and Tuva): The Maitreya Project Heart Shrine Relic Tour. This project that tours the world features a precious collection of more than 1,000 sacred Buddhist relics found among the ashes of Buddhist masters. In the future, the relics will be put on permanent display at the Heart Shrine of the completed Maitreya Buddha statue in Kushinagar, India. Since the beginning of the project in 2001, millions of people from five continents have been blessed by the relics. More than 70,000 visitors came to view the relics and receive blessings while they were on display in Kalmykia. Because of this unique collection, people from Kalmykia, Buryatia, Tuva, and Moscow and St. Petersburg have learned about Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
The first day of Lama Zopa Rinpoche's visit to Kalmykia. From youtube.com
Лама Сопа Ринпоче посетит c долгожданным визитом Москву и Калмыкию (Save Tibet Russia [Russian language only])
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