Russian Buddhists wish His Holiness Happy Birthday

Restrictions on mass gatherings which are still in force in the Russian Federation did not prevent thousands of Buddhists and well-wishers across Russia from celebrating an auspicious occasion of 85th anniversary of His Holiness the Dalai Lama with numerous celebratory events being held online. 
Moscow Office of Tibet and Save Tibet Foundation has created a special website to celebrate His Holiness birthday providing an opportunity for everyone, both dignitaries and common people, to send their birthday wish to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The greetings, in video and text format, have been publicly shared and given everyone a chance to rejoice and celebrate together. Click here to visit the website: http://savetibet.ru/dalai-lama/85.php

Telo Tulku Rinpoche, His Holiness Honorary Representative in Russia, Mongolia and CIS countries reminded in his video address that 2020 had been earlier announced as a year of gratitude to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and requested everyone “to make a commitment to be an extension of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s vision and his hard work”. Rinpoche also expressed his hope that the time will come soon for the Russian Buddhists to reunite with Holiness, receive his precious teachings and celebrate his birthday together.

Michael Gorbachev, first President of USSR and Nobel Peace Laureate, recalled his meetings with His Holiness and joint work at the Nobel Peace Prize Forums. 
“Your dedication to the idea of building a world without violence, your compassion for everyone and the call to care for humanity are of great importance for present and future generations. I believe that your words of wisdom will continue reaching and touching many more people on the planet”, he said.
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, ex-President of the Russian Buddhist Republic of Kalmykia shared his memories of several official and personal meetings with His Holiness the Dalai Lama calling him “the most humane among all human beings as he shares universal love and kindness with everyone on the planet”.
Famous Russian musician Boris Grebenshikov (BG) whose performance concluded  His Holiness teachings for the Russian Buddhists in Riga (Latvia) throughout the years wished him “good health and energy to continue the great work that he has been doing for all of us”.
Prominent film-maker Vitaly Manski who dedicated his documentary “Sunrise/Sunset” to His Holiness broad vision, whished “his beloved friend” to meet with the Russian Buddhists in Russia or at least in neighbouring Latvia that is always ready to provide space for important meetings between the Dalai Lama and his Russian followers.
Many distinguished scientists who have been involved in the dialogues with His Holiness within the Russian science initiative “Fundamental Knowledge” sent him their heartfelt birthday greetings. 
Neurobiologist Konstantin Anokhin, full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, expressed his gratitude to His Holiness for laying the foundation for “the dialogue between spirituality and science”.
“His Holiness is probably the only religious leader today who places such an emphasis on science and scientific study of human consciousness”, said neurophysiologist Svyatoslav Medvedev, full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, who is a leading figure in scientific research on meditation implemented by a group of prominent Russian scientists under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“I am grateful to His Holiness for his ideas and energy that he has invested into scientific studies of human brain which we are currently doing in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries”, says prof. Alexander Kaplan from Moscow State University.
Geneticist Nikolai Yankovski, full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that “meetings with His Holiness helped him to understand himself, his own work and nature in a much deeper way. It is important that our perspectives, being different, complement each other so well”. 
According to neurolinguist Tatiana Chernigovskaya (Saint-Petersburg University), Dalai Lama has been explaining to humanity that “we are all one big family and we should not use only our unique capacity to reason but empathy especially now when we all are facing extreme challenges of biological and social nature”.
Buddhologist Victoria Lysenko (Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences) said she is among those who feel a very deep connection with His Holiness. «Our minds stay together as you once told me”, she added. Philosopher Dmitri Volkoff, a founder of Moscow Center for Consciousness Studies under Moscow State University stressed that “the Dalai Lama’s life is inspirational for millions of people in so many ways”.
The online program of His Holiness birthday celebration featured a premiere screening of «The Dalai Lama – Scientist» by Dawn Engle that tells the incredible story of the Dalai Lama’s lifelong journey from the world of Buddhism into the world of modern science. The Russian version was prepared for the occasion by Save Tibet Foundation (Moscow). 
The celebration of His Holiness’s birthday in the Republic of Kalmykia began with Sangsol ritual at the Main temple of Kalmykia “Golden Abode of Buddha Shakyamuni”. It has already become a tradition for Kalmyk people to hold such a ritual on the Dalai Lama’s birthday every year because the Sangsol ritual is connected with the deities who protect the Dalai Lama and the people of Kalmykia. 
The Buddhist Sangha of the main temple Khuree Tsechenling came together to record their video address to His Holiness.
When the monks and lay believers moved on to the prayer hall, a large portrait of His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV was placed on the throne as a symbol of the presence of the Great Teacher, the embodiment of Buddha of Compassion Avalokiteshvara.  
The monastic and lay community jointly recited the prayer for good health and longevity of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and then the festive grand prayer began. The monks of the Main temple conducted an expanded ritual “Naden Chakchod – Prayer and Offering to Buddha and 16 Arhats”. It should be noted that this ritual will be held on the first Wednesday of every month throughout the year until July 6, 2021. 
The Main temple of Kalmykia together with the Kalmyk Buddhist centre “Tilopa” organized charity campaigns to help the elderly. And, according to a tradition, the monks of the Main temple prepared huge birthday cakes. This year the cakes were presented to medical and social institutions so that the staff and patients of these institutions could feel the atmosphere of the holiday too and rejoice together. 
The Main temple of Kalmykia also organized a livestream of various films and documentaries about His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s teachings and activities. 
Prayer session in Elista Kalmykia, dedicated to the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“We are grateful to Your Holiness for all that you do for the sake of the spread and prosperity of Buddha’s Teaching. Being the keeper of the ancient legacy, you personify all the best thoughts and aspirations of mankind that strives for love, world peace and prosperity. 
“Your words of wisdom inspire hope in the hearts of people, strengthen their faith in the spiritual and moral ideals of mankind. Your Holiness’s selfless service to them became a true example for modern society, an example of mercy, patience and compassion for all living beings on the Earth.
“Kalmykia remembers those happy days when you visited our republic and granted the Teachings. Communicating with Your Holiness left a lasting impression on everyone’s life, served as a motivation for spiritual rebirth and creative activities of the Kalmyk people..”.

Tibetan community in Moscow came together to celebrate His Holiness’ birthday.
On behalf of all the Kalmyk people, a Kalmyk composer Savr Kataev and a team of poets and musicians have presented His Holiness a musical gift called “Dedication to the Dalai Lama XIV”.
Big prayer sessions were organized in the temples all around the Tuva Republic as well. Numerous Buddhist centers and organizations held festive events dedicated to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. 
The Head of Tuva Sholban Kara-ool and the speaker of the Tuvan parliament Kan-ool Davaa congratulated everyone on His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 85th birthday. In particular, Sholban Kara-ool stated in his message: “…The teaching of Buddha in our republic entered a new stage of development 28 years ago, after the Dalai Lama’s visit back in 1992. The seeds of virtue, sown by our spiritual leader, settled deep in the hearts of my fellow countrymen and are now passed on to their children.”
The Republic of Buryatia also joined the celebration. Ivolginsky temple of Buryatia held a special festive prayer session in honour of our beloved spiritual leader. The monks and laypeople have sent their best wishes and greetings to His Holiness: “We wish His Holiness the Dalai Lama a very happy 85th birthday! Your Holiness’s life path is an example of selfless service and adherence to the highest ideals of humanism and compassion for all living beings. You are a role model and a bright example of the principles of justice, equanimity and greatest love and compassion that are promoted by the Buddhist religion and that are embedded in Buddhist philosophy.
Prof. Alexander Kaplan from Moscow State University says he is grateful to His Holiness for his ideas and energy that he has invested into scientific studies of human brain.
We wish you good health, every success in your noble activities and long life for the benefit of all living beings”.
Located in Buryatia Rinpoche Bagsha Buddhist Monastery headed by Venerable Yelo Rinpoche created an exquisite mandala of Buddha Medicine which was dedicated to long life and good health of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
“It is a very rare occasion when we come across the Buddha’s teaching, but it’s much more difficult for us to meet a great teacher and receive unexcelled teachings from him. No doubt, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a great teacher adorned with all perfect qualities”, says Venerable Yelo Rinpoche.
A prayer to celebrate His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday was held at Saint-Petersburg temple. The Abbot of the temple Buda Badmaev has conveyed his greetings on this auspicious occasion by saying: “On behalf of St. Petersburg Buddhists, on behalf of the Buddhist traditional sangha of St. Petersburg, on behalf of the St. Petersburg Buddhist datsan (temple), I am happy and honored to wish His Holiness a happy 85th birthday.
Throughout the years, ever since the St. Petersburg datsan was created, we have been receiving tremendous spiritual support from His Holiness the Dalai Lama and all Buddhists of Russia, not only Buddhists of St. Petersburg. In this regard, we are very grateful for the teachings given by His Holiness. We are happy to be able to attend his teachings <…> We request His Holiness the Dalai Lama to continue his hard work and wish His Holiness very good health. We wish him long life. After all, he is not only a spiritual symbol for us but also a symbol of the entire Buddhist world. Therefore, we strongly wish that His Holiness will continue granting his teachings and we will be happy not only to receive these teachings but to practice them in our daily lives. <…> May every Buddhist who practices Buddhist teachings in St. Petersburg have an opportunity to meet with Your Holiness”.
Members ‘Ganden Tendar Ling’ Buddhist Center in Moscow took the initiative to recite 100 000 Mani mantras as a birthday present to His Holiness.  Their initiative was followed by FPMT centers in St.Petersburg, Ulan-Ude, Elista as well as Buddhists from 53 Russian cities and 19 countries, including Ukraine, Belorus, Moldova, Latvia and Lithuania. Together they recited 1 041 971 Mani mantras over 24 hours and dedicated their practice to long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama wishing him to live up to 113 years.
Despite the challenges of the current pandemic, Buddhists all around Russia celebrated the auspicious occasion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday together. This day became special as a true celebration of love, kindness and compassion that are embodied by our spiritual guru. Though physically Russian Buddhists are a great distance away from His Holiness, we strongly feel our connection with him and mentally we are always next to His Holiness. Our minds are inseparable. Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama! Om Mani Padme Hum!