TAR Delegation Refuses to Enter Buddhist Temple, Faces Embarrassment
Moscow, 24 June: An eight – member delegation from Tibet Autonomous Region headed by Jampa Phuntsok is currently on a visit to Kalmyk Republic. Accompanied by Liu Guchang, Ambassador of People’s Republic of China to Moscow, and four other embassy staff, the delegation arrived in Elista on June 21.
The delegation visited Elista Russian Orthodox Church and Shedrup Choekhorling, the main temple of Kalmyk Buddhists. Before the delegation’s arrival to the temple, a Tibetan lady from the delegation and a Chinese official made an advance inspection of the temple and asked Telo Rinpoche, the head of Kalmyk Buddhist Union, to remove the portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from the temple. Telo Rinpoche was warned that the delegation would not enter the temple otherwise.
Telo Rinpoche categorically refused to remove the portrait saying that the temple belongs to the people of Kalmykia and that he could not hurt the sentiments of the people. Meanwhile, the delegation reached the temple compound and refused to go inside the temple unless the portrait was removed. Rinpoche had to be involved in a heated argument with Jampa Phuntsok.
“People of Kalmykia have faith and respect for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and you should know about it. Moreover, guest should not dictate to the host what should be done and what not. If you have something to discuss with me you can come inside the temple as I cordially invite you.” The embarrassed delegation had to leave as Rinpoche went inside the temple leaving them outside.
The TAR delegation were not very comfortable in Kalmykia after seeing people’s reverence and admiration for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mrs.Kookueva Antonina, the Chairman of Kalmyk Tibet Support Group told Mr. Tashi, the representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Moscow. Mrs.Kookueva attempted to meet the TAR delegation but she was rejected.
Telo Rinpoche, who later went to Elista airport to see off the Chinese Ambassador had explained everything to him including the Kalmyk people’s faith for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the importance of His Holiness’ visit to Russia, said Mr. Tashi who was told that the Ambassador did understand the situation.
The delegation leaves Kalmykia later today.
Report Courtesy – OoT, Moscow