MOSCOW: An unprecedented number of over one thousand Russian followers and wellwishers gathered at the Moscow House of Cinema Hall to celebrate the 83rd birth anniversary of their beloved spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The celebration was jointly organized by the Center of Tibetan Culture and Information (Moscow Office of Tibet) and Save Tibet Foundation. The big event was part of “Thank you, Russia” program that is being held in various cities of the Russian Federation to express gratitude to those organizations and individuals who have been supporting Tibetan cause and noble activities of His Holiness the Dalai Lama throughout the years.
In his opening speech Telo Tulku Rinpoche, His Holiness the Dalai Lama honorary representative in Russia, Mongolia and CIS countries, recounted the history of century-old relationships between traditional Buddhists of Russia and their spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The honorary representative mentioned a dark period in is written the history of Buddhist regions of Russia when Buddhism had been forbidden to practice and spiritual ties with Tibet had been cut off. The revival started in 1990-s with the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was at that time that the Center of Tibetan Culture and Information (Office of Tibet) was established in Moscow to promote contacts between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Russian Buddhists. Telo Tulku Rinpoche expressed his gratitude on behalf of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and The Central Tibetan Administration to Dolma Shagdarova who helped to register the Center of Tibetan Culture and Information when it was a difficult task to do since the influence of old Soviet system was still very much alive.
He thanked Dr Andrei Terentiev who served as His Holiness the Dalai Lama translator during his earlier visits to Russia and following his vision established Nartang Publishing House to translate and publish many important books by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Buddhist scholars of the past.
Telo Tulku Rinpoche also acknowledged Zorig Tsedenbal who collected information on Tibet and compiled information bulletins to mail them to Buddhist regions of Russia. “Things have become much easier these days with Internet but at that time you had to do everything manually, type the bulletins, put them into envelopes and go to the post office to send them. Those efforts should be appreciated”.
The honorary representative thanked scholars who throughout the years kept Tibetan issue alive in academic circles of Russia. He presented certificates of gratitude to prof. Tatiana Shaumyan and prof. Sergey Kuzmin from the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies under the Russian Academy of Sciences. “The famous book by Sergey Kuzmin ‘Hidden Tibet’ has been translated into several languages including Tibetan, Chinese and Mongolian. This a rare case when a book originally written in Russian draws so much of international attention”, he said.
Telo Tulku Rinpoche also presented certificates of gratitude to Andrian Melnikov and Galina Kubareva, co-founders of Save Tibet Foundation (Moscow), an organization that has been playing an important role in organizing His Holiness the Dalai Lama teachings for Russian Buddhists in Dharamsala, Delhi and Riga and helping to promote His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s vision in Russia.
Honourable guest of the celebration was the former president of the Republic of Kalmykia Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Telo Tulku Rinpoche acknowledged his immense contribution in reestablishing Tibetan Buddhism in Kalmykia. “Up to this day, he is the only political leader in Russia who was speaking on every occasion of the importance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the Russian Buddhist republics and beyond. He is the only political leader in Russia who was standing on the roof of the famous Jokhang temple in Lhasa and openly speaking of His Holiness”.
The cultural program included prayers and cham performance by visiting monks from Tashi Lhunpo monastery re-established in South India who are on tour in Russia to support “Thank you, Russia” programs carried out by the Center of Tibetan Culture and Information in Moscow, St.-Petersburg, Astrakhan, Rostov, Sochi and other Russian cities. Telo Tulku Rinpoche expressed deep gratitude to the monks noting a very special spiritual power that pervaded all their dances and prayers. Everyone in the hall felt blessed and purified.
The celebration also featured the premiere screening of a newly released fiction film by the Russian film director Paul Macklay “Saffron Heart” that tells a story of a young monk who came to study to Drepung Gomang monastery.
Both programs provided a good opportunity to Russian people to have a feeling of Tibetan culture and religion carefully preserved in exile under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The 83rd anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama was widely celebrated across Russia, especially in the Russian Buddhist republics of Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva.
-Filed by Office of Tibet, Moscow-