The consecration of the largest Buddhist monastery in Russia "Thubten Shedrub Ling" took place in the capital of the Republic of Tuva Kyzyl on April 28. The unique religious building was erected on the initiative of the president of the Russian Geographical Society Sergei Shoigu and with the direct support of the Kuzhuget Shoigu Cultural Foundation.
In 1992, during his visit to the Republic of Tuva, the 14th Dalai Lama consecrated and blessed the place for the monastery, and in 2014 its construction began. The spiritual leader of the followers of Tibetan Buddhism gave the future monastery the name "Thubten Shedrub Ling", which means "The Abode of explanation and practice of the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha". April 28, 2023, will undoubtedly go down in history, since the new Buddhist monastery became not only the largest in the country, but also the first opened in Tuva since the 1930s, when the Soviet government closed the last monastery.
Vladimir Putin congratulated on this event believers, residents of the republic, and all citizens who are not indifferent to the preservation of traditions.
In his message, the president of Russia noted that the implementation of such a significant, historically important initiative was made possible thanks to the creative unity of the Buddhist community of our country, its desire to preserve the enduring values of this ancient religion, which for many centuries have served to strengthen friendship and mutual understanding between people.
"I am sure that the new monastery will become one of the main Buddhist religious, cultural, and educational centers of the country, will serve to introduce believers, especially young people, to the priceless spiritual and moral heritage bequeathed by their ancestors. Once again, I sincerely congratulate you on a big, festive event, I wish you good health and prosperity."
The main Buddhist monastery of the republic was erected on the initiative of the president of the Russian Geographical Society Sergei Shoigu and with the direct support of the Kuzhuget Shoigu Cultural Foundation.
Ksenia Shoigu, a representative of the foundation, spoke at the opening ceremony. She thanked everyone who took part in the construction of the monastery, and especially Sergei Shoigu, noting his sincere interest, dedication, and attention to every detail of the great work.
“It was my dream to have a Buddhist monastery built in my homeland,” said Ksenia Shoigu. “This is a great joy and a very happy day for us. There are several such monasteries in Russia, but ours is the largest. I am sure that strong ties will be established between all points of Buddhism in our country.”
On behalf of the foundation, Ksenia Shoigu presented a relic to the monastery. This is a sculptural image of the Buddha's head, acquired in the mid-1970s in the Tere-Kholsky District of the republic.
“The Buddha statue was in a temple in the Tere-Kholsky District in Tuva, but during the repression the relic was saved by local residents and lamas,” explained Ksenia Shoigu. “As a rule, temple valuables were hidden in caves. In 1970, it was taken out of the republic altogether. And today it came home!”
The head of the Republic of Tuva Vladislav Khovalyg thanked everyone who was involved in the opening of the religious building at the ceremony.
“From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank everyone who made today's event possible, first of all, the Kuzhuget Shoigu Cultural Foundation. I am grateful to everyone who made large and small donations, invested their labor in the construction of the temple: builders, talented craftsmen and artists, volunteers," he said.
After the colorful opening ceremony, which took place at the walls of the monastery with the participation of honored guests and artists, the monks said special prayers – they consecrated the monastery. And then the guests were able to see the monastery from the inside.
There are six statues of Buddhist deities in the prayer room, including the main one – Shakyamuni Buddha. Previously, they were "revived": they were filled with scrolls with the text of prayers, offerings, and Buddhist holy objects. During the opening, some of the ashes of Shakyamuni Buddha – the most valuable relic for Buddhists – were placed in the Buddha statue. This is one of the gifts of the 14th Dalai Lama, who actually took the monastery under his spiritual patronage.
In addition to some of the Buddha's ashes, the Dalai Lama presented the monastery with his monastic robes, signing them, as well as sacred texts.
“Their presence in the temple is equivalent to the presence of His Holiness himself. If you touch them, it is believed that the believer receives a blessing," said Ksenia Shoigu.
The leader of Tibetan Buddhism appointed a dharma (teaching) protector for the monastery – the Six-armed Mahakala. His statue, 1m tall, was made of copper with gilding by Nepalese craftsmen. Now the statue is located inside the monastery, hidden from prying eyes. It is believed that only monks can look at it.
Another gift that Vladislav Khovalyg presented to the monastery was the sacred artifact "Gandhi" made of red sandalwood, brought to Tuva from Mongolia. "Gandhi" is necessary for the sojong ceremony, the conduct of which testifies to the actual development and prosperity of the true teachings of Buddha in this area. The knock of "Gandhi" symbolizes grace and the removal of obstacles where it sounds.
By the way, Ksenia Shoigu reminded about another sacred function of the monastery "Thubten Shedrub Ling" – to protect the territory of the republic and the whole of Russia from possible adversity.
The consecration ceremony of the monastery was attended by representatives of the clergy from Russia and Mongolia, State Duma deputy and ex-head of Tuva Sholban Kara-ool, former head of the Krasnoyarsk Territory Aleksandr Uss, head of Buryatia Alexey Tsydenov, Ambassador of the Republic of Nepal to Russia Milan Raj Tuladhar, builders, philanthropists. A special guest of the ceremony was the famous artist Dashi Namdakov, the author of murals and sculptures of the monastery.
At the moment, the monastery is open to parishioners; prayer services will be held here three times a day.