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Putin in Siberia to salute Buddhism and the religion's important role in Russian history

By The Siberian Times reporter
12 April 2013

President Vladimir Putin opened his visit to Buryatia by visiting Ivilga Datsan, the main monastery of the Buddhist Traditional Sangha in Russia.

President Putin opened his trip to Buryatia by visiting Ivolga Datsan, the main monastery of the Buddhist Traditional Sangha in Russia. Picture: kremlin.ru

He highlighted the long and important history of Budhism in Siberia, and spoke of how he valued his relationship with the head of Russian Buddhists, Pandito Khambo-lama Damba Ayusheyev.

'Russia is probably the only country in Europe where Buddhism is an official religion', he said.

'It began with Empress Elizabeth, the daughter of Peter the Great, who was the first Russian head of state to recognise Buddhism. Since then Buddhism has played a very important role in the lives of the peoples of Russia, helping people in the times of trouble and sharing their joys. It has been like that at all times.

'It is well known that Buddhists behaved heroically in the years of hardship during World War I and the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War, despite the fact that they suffered greatly in the 1930s, along with representatives of all other faiths in Russia. 

'Today you have a very noble mission: you always support the people.

'I just saw your most important, most revered shrines, which you treat with great care, preserving them for the people. 

'Most importantly, you are promoting a very kind humanistic teaching that is based on people's love for each other and for their country. You carry on the traditions of interethnic and interfaith harmony, which is vitally important, and for that I want to express my gratitude to you once again.

'I have enjoyed a very close relationship with Pandito Khambo-lama for many years. I want to thank him for this relationship and for his friendship. I want to stress that the Russian Government, the regional authorities and I are always at your disposal, always ready to give you our support.'

Vladimir Putin in Buryatia April 2013


Vladimir Putin in Buryatia April 2013

Village of Bada, Buryatia, Vladimir Putin with local businessman Sergey Kukhtin. Pictures: kremlin.ru

The Budhist leader called on the president to change the system under which Buddhist universities do not have state accreditation, which means their students can be called up for conscription in the armed forces. 

In mainstream universities, full-time students are exempt from military service during their studies. The president suggested that they could be drafted in the summer months only, so as not to interrupt their studies. The Lama said this would be 'more acceptable'.

There are up to 1.5 million Buddhists in Russia, mainly in the Siberian republics of Buryatia and Tyva, and also in Kalmykia.

During his visit to Ulan-Ude, the capital of Buryatia, Putin held a State Council aimed at boosting the efficiency of Russia's timber industry. 

He was also touring two timber plants. Forests account for 69% of Russia's territory, with about 60,000 large, medium-sized, and small-scale enterprises operating in the sector. 

Comments (11)

Buddhism is one of the few religions in the world that spread across the world through Non violence.It still stands for peace in the World .It is good to see Great leaders lilke Putin find time to visit buddhist shrine promising to look

in to what buddhist leaders desired.
Sudhakaran.N.k, India
17/06/2017 17:58
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It is feeling great that teachings of tathagata is in Russia, impressed to Respected president Putin. I request him to please let wings to the teachings ,it will help to the world people. Namo Buddhaya ,
ashish hadke, indore, india
11/05/2017 00:54
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0
Feeling great to read this news: mr. Putin's particioation in Buddhism. Is there Buddhism study department in University in Russia?
Chandraa, Gandhinagar India
07/01/2017 22:13
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Great news. II am sure Russians would grasp the Buddhism in its right spirit better than people such as Sri Lankans, because Russians are not yet spoiled by misinterpretation of Buddhism by so called scholars who were self-appointed during past 2000 year. . There were no Buddhists at the time of Buddha’s Birth and as a result people listen to the Buddhist teaching with open minds in order to grasp the idea rather than in a mode of worshiping of a typical religion. That would have been why it was not that difficult for Lord Buddha to disseminate his findings. I am sure Russia has now almost the same situation existed at the time of the birth of the Lord Buddha. Buddhism is a logical teaching like Physics and not a religion. It explains how our mind works in a different context from modern western oriented explanations. It is completely different Paradigm of Mind Engineering. Fortunately a book called Thripitaka which explains Buddhist Theory in own words of Buddha still available in its original format in Pali Language. Also now scholars who are capable on interpreting it to user friendly manner also have now surfaced in countries such as Sri Lanka. I hope Mr. Putin will take this message seriously and create diplomatic effort with Sri Lanka to translate Thripitaka to Russians without distorting its spirit. I have access to translators if there is such need. I also know interpreters who are practically enjoying the outcome of the Buddhist Theory in day to day life. Most of them are academically qualified as well, in modern science based subjects such as Physics, Engineering, even up-to a level of PhDs
Mahinda Panapitiya, Sri Lanka
25/10/2016 11:29
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0
I am so glad to see President Putin visits and his positive insight on Buddhism because Buddhism is by far the most peaceful religion. I am proud of this cosmic religion. While I was in Nepal I visited the Russian cultural center where there was an Exhibition on Buddhism in Russia.
Kishore Sherchand, USA
20/11/2015 00:58
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For me personal is the Russian president , Mr. Putin a very straight person who knows what he is doing as president.

I am Buddhist and appreciate it very much that he does allow that Buddhism is protected because it is a peaceful religion.

That he does not want everything that is his right, undoubtedly.He avoids anyway that idiots can get grip in his country and that is incomparable to the other European leaders, who do not see some very big things. That means they are blind or have one eye whereas Mr. Putin can see it with insight, which is needed for a world leader.

So we should forget or shake it to value Mr. Putin with one eye , the western way of looking = short sighted.

My best wishes to the Russian president Mr. Putin and if i have to emigrate as a Buddhist i will go to his country.

KY


Yes the other European leaders cannot / never cause that peace in their countries which the Russian President can.
Kalden yungdrung, Holland
19/11/2015 23:20
2
1
So when will president Putin meet with hh Dalai lama?
sonam, uk
19/11/2015 19:11
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2
As a Buddhist in The Kingdom of Thailand, we are very happy to hear from you. Long live Buddhism here. Cheers.
Prof. Dr. John F. Kennedy, Bangkok, Thailand
01/11/2015 21:44
3
0
Mr. Putin, I know you care about Buddhism, but what about the LGBT community? One of the tenets of Buddhism is to accept anyone in spite of their sexual identity. I am humbly asking to practice what you preach.
CC, USA
06/08/2013 05:53
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6
Mr Putin has a huge territory to travel around doesn't he. A job it itself to just make it to all corners of the country
Lee, C
13/04/2013 12:45
4
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this idea about withdrawing students for summers is illogical
Maria, Greece
12/04/2013 17:30
3
0
1

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