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Meeting on the Development of Buddhist Education in Russia Held in Moscow

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Monks read Tibetan texts at the Buddhist University Dashi Choinkhorlin. Image courtesy of Alexey Bushov, alexes-photo.com
Monks read Tibetan texts at the Buddhist University Dashi Choinkhorlin. Image courtesy of Alexey Bushov, alexes-photo.com

Talks on the development of Buddhist education in the Russian Federation were held on 30 August, hosted by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in Moscow. 

The meeting was chaired by Denis Ashirov, director of the Department of State Youth Policy and Educational Activities of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, with co-moderation by Alexey Maslov, head of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The ministry is responsible for overseeing scientific institutions and university-level education in the Russian Federation, and all institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences are under its jurisdiction.

The event was attended by representatives from the departments of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the administration of the president of the Russian Federation, Moscow universities, and Buddhist regions in Russia. Prominent leaders of Russian Buddhist organizations also took part. Among them were: Gelek Natsyk Dorju (Sergek Olegovich Saryglar), Tuva’s Ninth Kamby Lama; Dashibaldanov Dymbryl Bagsha (Geshe Dymbryl), rector of the Buddhist University Dashi Choinkhorlin; Yonten Gelong (Sergei Kirishov), senior administrator of the central khurul of Kalmykia, the Golden Abode of Shakyamuni Buddha and member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation; Aram Kypchakov, director of the Local Religious Organization of Buddhist “Amyr Sanaa” (“Calm Mind”), Mayminsky District of the Altai Republic; and representatives of Aginsky Datsan, Zabaykalsky Krai, and Datsan Gunzechoinei, St. Petersburg.

Yonten Gelong, senior administrator of the central khurul of Kalmykia. From khurul.ru
Yonten Gelong, senior administrator of the central khurul of Kalmykia. From khurul.ru

The participants discussed the development of bachelor, master, and doctoral degree programs in Buddhist Philosophy and the inclusion of bachelor degree programs in the higher education institutions of Buryatia, Kalmykia, and Tuva from 2022. The meeting also considered the development of the Federal State Educational Standard* in the field of Buddhist Philosophy.

The senior administrator of the central khurul of Kalmykia, Yonten Gelong, proposed developing a separate educational standard for Buddhist Philosophy, expressing the opinion that if Buddhist Philosophy was introduced to the existing standard, the time allocated to study would  be insufficient: “In traditional Buddhist universities and institutions, it takes more than 10 years to study Buddhist Philosophy, and under existing standards a large number of disciplines that are mandatory for study are included. In the end, it will be impossible to accumulate the necessary number of hours on the main subject. If we talk about the scientific study of Buddhism within Religious Studies, then the bachelor and master degrees will be enough, but if we talk about Buddhism as a science, then certainly it will take a lot more time than is offered by modern standards.” (Golden Abode of Shakyamuni Buddha)

Speaking in front of the federal authorities, Gelong expressed the readiness of the Kalmyk clergy to participate actively in developing Buddhist education in Russia “We are very pleased and ready to participate most actively in the organization of higher education in Buddhist Philosophy. It is great that positive changes in this matter are initiated by the state.” (Golden Abode of Shakyamuni Buddha)

Concluding the meeting, the participants summed up the results of the completed course of additional education for Buddhism in Russia.

Yonten Gelong speaks on the development of Buddhist education in Russia

Several institutions currently provide Buddhist education in Russia. Among them are the Buddhist University Dashi Choinkhorlin,** a center for religious higher education in Ivolginsky Datsan, Buryatia, and the Buddhist Academy in Aginsky Datsan in southeast Siberia. In recent years, Telo Tulku Rinpoche, the shadjin lama (head lama) of the Kalmyk people, has worked intensively to establish a center for Buddhist higher education in Kalmykia.***

* The set of mandatory requirements for basic educational programs implementation of primary general, basic general, secondary general, primary professional, secondary professional, and higher professional education by institutions with state accreditation.

** Land of the Auspicious Dharma Wheel: The First Buddhist University in Russia (Buddhistdoor Global)

*** Planning Underway in Kalmykia for a Center of Buddhist Higher Education (Buddhistdoor Global)

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Йонтен гелонг принял участие в совещании по вопросам развития буддийского образования в России (Золотая обитель Будды Шакьямуни)

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