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Russian Buddhists Hold Special Prayers for Protection from Coronavirus

Prayers led by the 24th Pandito Khambo Lama Damba Ayusheev. From
Prayers led by the 24th Pandito Khambo Lama Damba Ayusheev. From

Responding to the growing global COVID-19 pandemic, all datsans (monasteries) of the Buddhist Traditional Sangha of Russia have been conducting special prayer ceremonies for protection from the virus since 18 March. 

The Buddhist Traditional Sangha of Russia, a centralized religious organization, is the largest Buddhist community in Buryatia and one of the largest in Russia. Its headquarters is located in Ivolginsky Datsan, 23 kilometers outside of the Buryatian capital Ulan Ude.

According to an official statement from Ivolginsky Datsan, the hurals (prayers) were initiated by the 24th Pandito Khambo Lama Damba Ayusheev, the spiritual leader of the Russian Federation’s Buddhists and the most senior lama in Buryatia. They consist of the usual daily prayers and an additional ritual text, Five Sutras of Elimination of Negative Causes (Bur: Taban Haryulga)—based on the traditional Buddhist belief that reading sacred texts helps to restore harmony in society and can protect from all kinds of threats and infections.

In the statement, the Pandito Khambo Lama emphasized that they cannot forbid people from visiting datsans, so in the current situation lamas, hubaraks (students of the Buddhist University), and temple staff should be vigilant and attentive. For that reason, high-security measures have been drawn up, including mandatory regular cleaning of dugans (temples in which prayers are held) and purification with a special antiseptic Buddhist substance, called sanzai in Buryatia. This is a traditional incense (Tib: sang) based on crushed juniper, originally used to purify temples during gatherings of large groups of people and that later became an essential part of Buddhist rituals. Russian Buddhists burn sanzai at their home altars during their daily practice and use it as a protective against infections.

Dondop Lama, an astrologer from Khambyn Khure Datsan in Ulan-Ude, told the State Television and Radio Company of Buryatia that any disease is a result of accumulated negative energy, itself a product of the negative actions of not only one person, but of a large number of people. In order to overcome the negative energy, the lamas read sutras and prayers and focus their minds on a positive aspiration. Dondop Lama emphasized the Buddhist teaching that all phenonena are impermanent and interdependent and advised accumulating as much positive karma as possible during such a cataclysm and dedicating the merit to overcoming the coronavirus. Thus, positive energy will increase in the world, which will help in overcoming the spread of the disease. 

The World Health Organization announced the outbreak of COVID-19 as a pandemic on 11 March. At the time of writing, global novel coronavirus infections were reported to total 339,645, with 98,866 recovered and 14,717 deaths confirmed. Russia has so far reported 438 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one death.

See more

Официальное заявление Сангхи в связи с пандемией коронавируса
Российские буддисты станут читать молебны в защиту от коронавируса
В дацанах Буддийской традиционной Сангхи России читают молебны для того, чтобы остановить распространение коронавируса
В дацанах пройдут особые хуралы по защите от коронавируса
Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)

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