RUSSIA: Thousands of Buddhist followers and peace-loving people attended celebrations of the 80th birth anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Moscow and the traditional Russian Buddhist Republics of Kalmykia, Buryatia, Transbaikalia and Tuva.
Celebration in Moscow
On July 6th, the very day when the whole world celebrated the 80th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Moscow Office of Tibet and Save Tibet Foundation organised a grand celebration at the Central House of Cinema attended by the members of Russian Parliament, official representatives of four Buddhist regions of Russia, intellectuals, heads of Moscow Buddhist centers and TSG groups.
The celebration was opened by Honorary Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Russia and Mongolia, Head Lama of Kalmykia Telo Tulku Rinpoche who spoke on the long historical ties between Russia and Tibet and the importance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for traditional Buddhist republics as well as all people in Russia who cherish peace and harmony in the world. “The best birthday gift that anybody could ever give to His Holiness is to develop good heart” said Telo Tulku Rinpoche encouraging everyone in the audience to make a pledge to develop good heart from today onward thus making this world a better place to live. “By doing this we could become an extension of tireless efforts taken by His Holiness the Dalai Lama”.
All the four Russian Buddhist regions officially wished His Holiness the Dalai Lama a very happy birthday. The speakers included Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kalmykia to the President of the Russian Federation Mr. Shamil Illiasov (Republic of Kalmykia); Deputy of the Russian State Duma from the Republic of Tyva Mrs. Larissa Shoigu (Republic of Tuva); Representative of the Traditional Buddhist Sangha of Russia to Moscow Sanjay Lama (Republic of Buratia) and Deputy Plenipotentiary Representative of the Zabaikalsk Region to the President of the Russian Federation Mr. Ochir Damdinov (Zabaikalsk Region).
The attendees enjoyed two presentations: an audio book based on the famous autobiography of His Holiness Freedom in Exile narrated by the famous Russian actor Valentin Gaft will be released. Commenting upon his work on the project, Valentin Gaft shared his admiration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“Coming across with such a personality gives an extraordinary energy. This energy comes out of his understanding of life, of his mission, of his desire to help other beings. Such people as the Dalai lama is, help us to understand an unusual beauty of the world, reveal the true meaning of kindness and warm-heartedness”, says the actor.
On the occasion, Save Tibet Foundation (Moscow) under spiritual guidance of Telo Tulku Rinpoche released six books by His Holiness the Dalai Lama containing his teachings on the major Buddhist philosophical texts. The titles to be presented are Healing Anger. The power of patience from a Buddhist Perspective; A Flash of Lightening in the Dark of Night; Practing Wisdom; Stages of Mediation; Transforming the Mind; Mind of Clear Light. The books published under the umbrella of Nalanda Book Series comprising Russian translations of treatises by Nalanda masters and their Tibetan heirs, will be distributed freely in the Russian Buddhist republics of Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva.
The musical part of the celebration included a long-awaited performance by the Tibetan Institute of performing Arts (TIPA) who mesmerized the audience with beautiful sounds of traditional musical instruments and singing from Tibet. The famous institute performed the Black Hat Dance, Dance of Peacock from Ngari Region, the Lute Dance, Tibetan Opera song and other songs and dances, ending their wonderful performance with a joyful dance of Tibetan Snow Lion, symbol of the Land of Snow.
Songs and dances from the Roof of the World were followed by a musical offering made by a famous Russian rock-star Boris Grebeshikov and his “Aquarium”. Boris Grebenshikov met His Holiness several times, his performance concluded the teachings for Russia and Baltic States in Riga that His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave last year. His performance at the Central House of Cinema made everyone smile and dance in enjoyment. The famous rock star completed the program by dedicating all the merits, accumulated by everyone during this very special event to “happiness of all sentient beings and long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama”.
On July 7th the International Museum of Nicholas Roerich, Moscow Office of Tibet and Save Tibet Foundation will jointly hold a follow-up event touching upon a historical mission of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Celebrations in the Russian Buddhist Republics
To mark the festive event each of the Buddhist regions of Russia created an extensive program of joyous events designed to honor the beloved spiritual leader. In Kalmykia the celebrations started with an unprecedented musical offering to His Holiness the Dalai Lama performed by 330 performers playing traditional musical instrument called “dombra”. The event held at the main temple “Golden abode of Buddha Shakyamuni” was attended by thousands Kalmyk followers of His Holiness.
On July 3rd, by the initiative of Telo Tulku Rinpoche, the Honorary Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Russia, Mongolia and CIS countries, Kalmykia hosted “The festival of Friendship of Brotherly Peoples” that will be held at the National Drama Theater. Special guests of the festival will be the artists from the Tibetan Institute of performing Arts (TIPA) invited by the Moscow Office of Tibet and Save Tibet Foundation to share rich Tibetan cultural traditions with the Russian audiences in conjunction to the 80th anniversary of his Holiness the Dalai Lama.
On July 6th, a big prayer session in honor of His Holiness was held by Kalmyk and Tibetan monks at the main temple “Golden abode of Buddha Shakyamuni”. Mr. Alexander Zotov, Chairman of the Government of the Republic of Kalmykia, representatives Elista mayor Office as well as senior citizen of Kalmykia were speaking on the occasion. Everyone stressed the importance of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s annual teachings for the Russian Buddhists in India that give everyone a chance study under the precious guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and expressed hope of being able to host His Holiness in Kalmykia.
The attendees had a chance to visit a photo exhibition entitled “Precious Teacher” consisting of photos taken by Kalmyk photographers who attended His Holiness teachings in India and other countries. “The 14th Dalai Lama. Ocean without shores. World without boundaries”, a documentary film by Roman Sukhostavsky on the annual teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Russian Buddhists in Delhi was shown on the festive day.
In Buryatia, the annual International Music Festival “Voice of Nomads” organized by the Buryat Ministry of Culture this year is dedicated to the 80th anniversary of His Holiness. The festival was launched on July 6th by the musical offering “Melodies of free Steppes”.
On July 6th the Institute of Mongol, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies in Ulan-Ude, Buryatia, held an International Seminar “Buddhism and Transformation of Traditional Worldview of Peoples of Russia, Inner and Eastern Asia” dedicated to the 80th anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The list of participants included representatives of Buryat and Tibetan clergy, Buddhist scholars from Ulan-Ude, Novosibirsk, Samara, as well as Mongolia, Bulgaria and USA. The congratulatory speeches were given by Geshe Jampa Thinley, Head of 20 Russian Buddhist centers; Kensur Choi Dorjee Budaev; Nawang Tenzin, President of Tibetan Community of Buryatia. Plenary session included 11 presentations dedicated to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and research work in the field of Buddhist studies carried out in Russia and Mongolia, as well 14 stand presentations on various aspects of Buddhism.
To mark the occasion “Rinpoche Bagsha”, Buddhist Monastery in Ulan-Ude led by Venerable Yelo Rinpoche, organized a three-day fasting retreat following the ritual text by the 7th Dalai Lama Kelsang Gyatso. On July 6th the temple held a solemn prayer session and blessed all the participants with the monks robes that His Holiness generously gave to the temple.
The festive day also saw the big concert program organized by the Green Tara Buddhist Center and Tibetan Community of Buryatia with the support the Buryat Ministry of Culture.
In all Buddhist temples of Buryatia and Transbaikalia Buddhist clergy and attendees recited prayers dedicated to long life and prosperity of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Big prayer session was also organized in the main temple and smaller shrines of Tuva. Numerous Buddhist centers and NGOs (Enerel Foundation, Munjushri Buddhist Centers, Kupenchetso Buddhist Center, Tuvan Tibet Support Group) held festive events dedicated to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.