Voices from Russia

Sunday, 8 November 2015

8 November 2015. A Look Over the Fence… What is a Retreat?

00 Viktoriya Rogotneva. Lekh (India). Buddhist saying. 2015

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We live in the “now”… not in the past, for that’s gone… not in the future, for it hasn’t come yet… we live NOW. If we can internalise that, we’ve gone a long way to defeat pride. However, the road to that is neither short nor easy… mistrust all “young elders”. As St John of the Ladder said, “If you see a young monk advancing by his own efforts, pull him down, for his own good!” A young priest of my acquaintance would do well to take that to heart…

BMD

Monday, 13 July 2015

13 July 2015. A Look Over the Fence… The Heart Sutra

00 Yuri Biryukov. Silence and meditation. Sikkim, India. The Heart Sutra. 12.07.15

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Ani Choying Drolma sings the Heart Sūtra

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Ani Choying Drolma sings the Great Compassion Mantra

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Buddhism is one of the Big Three Traditional Religions in Russia (the other two are Orthodox Christianity and Islam). Judaism and the Evangelical Church (Lutherans, NOT non-Christian American Radical Sectarians) are minor traditional religions, with real Russian Protestants (not American Sectarian wannabes) being acceptable too. Buddhists make up about 1 percent of the Russian population (1.5 million), with about a third of these actively practising to some extent or other. Buddhist friends tell me that the Heart Sūtra is the most popular sūtra amongst believers, more popular than Om mani padme om (“The jewel is in the lotus”) is. I know next-to-nothing about Buddhist theology, so, I can’t comment on that. However, this is part of Russia, too. It’s all ours or none of it’s ours… simple as that…

BMD

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

It’s Buddhist New Year’s Eve in Russia

00 Buddhist New Year St Petersburg Russia. 18.02.15

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Believers spin the prayer wheels on Buddhist New Year’s Eve at the Datsan Gunzechoinei in St Petersburg (Federal City of St Petersburg. Northwestern Federal District) RF.

BMD

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

19th Century Statue of the Buddha under Reconstruction in Zabaikalye Krai

00 Agin Datsan. Buddha. Chita RUSSIA 01. 23.12.14

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00 Agin Datsan. Buddha. Chita RUSSIA 02. 23.12.14

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00 Agin Datsan. Buddha. Chita RUSSIA 03. 23.12.14

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On Monday, Tatyana Zherebtsova, Deputy Minister of Culture of Zabaikalsky Krai, told TASS that restoration began of a statue 16-metres-(53-feet) in height of Maitreya (Mongolian Maidari)… a future incarnation of the Buddha. Craftsmen are restoring the sculpture, kept since 1940 at the Leningrad Museum of the History of Religion, with them making the missing elements. The entire project will cost 51.4 million Roubles (5.9 million Renminbi. 60 million INR. 946,000 USD. 1.1 million CAD. 1.17 million AUD. 774,000 Euros. 610,000 UK Pounds). She said, “The statue is in the Agin Datsan “Choyde Chenbo Decheng Lhundubling” (Abode of Spontaneous Realisation of Great Bliss) in Amitkhasha near Chita… the largest Buddhist monastery in modern Zabaikalsky. Federal Target Programme (FTsP) “Culture of Russia” (2012-18) funds the repair work, with a planned completion in 2015. This year, the plan allots 25.7 million Roubles (2.95 million Renminbi. 30 million INR. 473,000 USD. 550,000 CAD. 585,000 AUD 387,000 Euros. 305,000 UK Pounds). In 2015, we’ve budgeted the same amount”.

Sources at Agin Datsan clarified that, simultaneously with the restoration, Buddhist lamas would perform sacred rituals to animate the Buddha statues. They’ll place “Shun” inside the sculpture… sacred objects endowed, according to believers, with special spiritual power. As a rule, these objects include prayer-mantras, various grasses, herbs, juniper branches, and “Satsa”… small clay offerings in the form of stupa-suburgans. The monks pay particular attention to “Srogshin”… a cedar bar decorated with Buddhist prayers. As canonical texts state, without such blessings, the whole procedure is useless. The quadrangular pillar has a sacred significance, for the Tibetan word “Srogshin” means “tree of life” or “world tree”. Buddhists say that this particular Shun animates the statue. Bair Tsympilov, the rector of the datsan, said, “The Srogshin is ready. It’s made of Alkhanai Cedar; it’s about 16-metres-tall”.

Some Details of the Buddha Statue at Agin Datsan

Agin Datsan bought the Maidari statue in 1889, Chinese masters made it. In 1940, the Leningrad Museum of the History of Religion acquired the statue. By the time that scholars arrived in the datsan, the figure was in a bad state, damaged, apparently, in a search for valuables stored inside. In the 1990s, the state returned the fragments of the unassembled sculpture to the Buddhist community, and in 2008, the Agin Datsan built a separate shrine for it. A source at the datsan said, “At the same time we built the shrine, we invited masters to engrave the surface of the statue, but a detailed study found that we only had about 15 percent of the fragments. As far as we can tell, most of the original statue is irretrievably lost”.

All over the world, Buddhists revere Maitreya as the successor of Śākyamuni Buddha. The faithful believe that he would incarnate in a very difficult period for mankind and the light of his teachings would pull them out of the darkness of error and vile passions. In the sacred sutras, Maitreya Buddha’s advent would usher in a reign on earth of happiness and joy, life expectancy would reach 84,000 years, and the world would be under the rule of a Chakravartin… a Buddhist just ruler.

24 November 2014

ITAR-TASS

http://itar-tass.com/sibir-news/1593216

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