Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama gives a religious talk at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharmsala, India, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010. Attended by hundreds of devotees these three-day talks ending Thursday were requested by a Buddhist group from Russia. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
Dharamsala, HP, India, 30 November 2010 (By Phurbu Thinley, phayul.com) - His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Tuesday began a three-day Buddhist teaching at the Main Tibetan Temple (Tsuglagkhang) here at the request of a Buddhist group from Russia.
Over 1000 Russian Buddhists and, hundreds of Tibetans and visiting tourists packed the Tsuglagkhang Temple to listen to the teachings of the Dalai Lama on Gyalsey Thokme Sangpo's "37 Practices of A Boddhisattva" (laklen sodunma) from November 30 to December 2. Along with the teachings, the Dalai Lama will also confer a Guhyasamaja Initiation.
The teaching has been specially considered by the Dalai Lama for the Buddhists from Russia and the Russian Republics of Buryatia, Kalmykia and Tuva. A small group of followers from Mongolia are also attending the teachings.
The Dalai Lama is revered by the Mongolian and Russian Buddhists as their spiritual leader and they continue to seek His Holiness’ blessing and guidance for the full revival of Buddhism in their regions after undergoing decades of severe repression from Communist rule.
"There has been a growing interest to learn and understand Buddhism in the three Buddhists Republics and also in the rest of mainland Russia," Telo Rinpoche, the spiritual head of Kalmyk Buddhists and the man responsible for organising the teachings, told Phayul.com.
"So compared to last year's teachings, when we have around 800 attendees, this time we have around 1035 people coming from Russia. Also this times there are more youngsters joining their family to hear teachings from His Holiness," he added.
"We have also seen more and more people from Russia coming to India every year to visit the holy Buddhist places and also to learn Buddhism," Telo added.
Despite decades of Soviet repression, Buddhism survived in the Buddhist Republics of Russia and is now being revived. Mongolia, a predominantly Buddhist state, too suffered cultural obliteration at the hand of communism.
"So what is even more encouraging is that His Holiness has already given his kind consideration to give teachings for us again next year," Telo Rinpoche said.
Telo also said many of the Buddhist faithful attending the teachings have plans to stay little longer in Dharamsala, the exile home of Dalai Lama and the seat of Tibetan Government-in-Exile, or spend more time in India visiting other holy Buddhist places.
Among those attending the three-day teachings are former prime minister of Kalmyk Republic, three members of Russian Parliament (Duma) and the finance minister and other dignitaries from Kazakhstan, Telo confirmed.
There is also a strong media delegation of 27 journalists from different Russian news media currently in Dharamsala, the seat of Tibet's government in exile in north India. While in the town, they will explore the situation of the exile Tibetan community that includes interviews with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan prime minister and senior officials, and various other representatives from the community.
Information available with the organisers of the teachings shows more than 4000 enthusiasts from 54 different countries have registered for the teachings.
The teachings are scheduled to be held in the morning from 0900hrs to 1130hrs in the morning and 1300hrs to 1500hrs in the afternoon for the next two days.
These teachings are being translated in Russian. Simultaneous translations in English and Chinese are also made available on FM radio.