11.06.2009 – 14.06.2009, Russia

Gyalwa Karmapa visits Elista, capital of Kalmykia

Audience, Ceremony, Empowerment, Press conference, Teaching

Gyalwa Karmapa visits Elista, capital of Kalmykia

Agenda:

June 11:
Arrival from St. Petersburg, Reception by the Chief of Government Administration

June 12:
Official Welcoming and Presentation by the Russian Karma Kagyu Buddhist Centers

Meeting with the President of the Republic Kalmykia, Kirsan Nikolajewitsch Ilyumzhinov in the Presidential Office

Visit of the Stupa of Enlightenment and Blessing Ceremony for a New Temple
Visit of Churul, the Biggest BuddhistTemple
Gala Dinner
Press Conference

Chenresig Empowerment at the Uralan Stadion, 1800 people

June 13:
Receiving Visitors, TV-Interviews
Karmapakshi Empowerment at the Uralan Stadion, 2000 people

June 14:
Departure to Moscow

At the airport in Elista (the capital of Kalmykia), Gyalwa Karmapa was heartily welcomed by Mr. Andrej Zirkunow, the Chief of Government Administration, and by members of the local Buddhist association. As with many other dignitaries before him (H.H. Dalai Lama, Vladimir Putin ), the Gyalwa Karmapa was hosted in Kalmykias’ famous City-Chess complex. The Karmapa was officially invited to visit the country by the President of Kalmykia, Kirsan Nikolajewitsch Ilyumzhin. The Kalmyks, traditionally practitioners of Buddhism, came to this area in the 17th century from South Siberia.

In the morning of June 12, the Gyalwa Karmapa was given a warm welcoming reception in Chess City Hall, where Buddhist practitioners from Kalmykia and other neighbouring regions such as the Volga area, had the opportunity to present their activities to the Karmapa.

The Gyalwa Karmapa was then graciously received by President Kirsan Nikolajewitsch Ilyumzhinov in the presidential office. From there, the President escorted the Karmapa and his entourage on a tour of the city. Together they visited the Stupa of Enlightenment, built by Lamas of the Karma Kagyu Lineage and consecrated by Lopen Tsechu Rinpoche 1999. Gyalwa Karmapa blessed the Stupa and the site where a temple is planned to be built soon.

The President and Gyalwa Karmapa next visited Churul, the biggest Buddhist Temple in Elista.

Afterwards, they attended a Gala-Dinner in Café Restaurant Oriental where traditional food was served and folk music and dances were performed in the Karmapa’s honor.

Later that day in Chess City Hall, a Press Conference was held with Gyalwa Karmapa, President Kirsan Nikolajewitsch Ilyumzhinov and Lama Ole Nydahl. The film “From Youth to Mastery – Glimpses of the 17th Karmapa’s Life,” had been shown on Kalmykian TV three times before the Karmapa arrived in the country, which had generated a lot of interest from the people to meet him.

On the afternoon of June 13, the Gyalwa Karmapa gave the Chenresig Empowerment at the Uralan Stadion in Elista to about 1800 participants.

On June 14, the Gyalwa Karmapa received several visitors, including Lama Palden Sherab from Jki Boorool, a Nyingmapa monastery. In the early evening, Gyalwa Karmapa gave a Karma Pakshi Initiation at the Uralan Stadion; among the 2000 participants were the parents of the Kalmykian President.

At the end of the event the Kalmykian Sangha sincerely expressed their gratitude for Karmapa’s visit in both the Russian and Kalmyk languages. Although he didn’t understand a word, the Gyalwa Karmapa said the Kalmyk language sounded very familiar to him and that he felt very much at home being with them.

Report: Gunhild Jug and Julia Vorotnikova
Photos: Thule G. Jug and Gunhild Jug

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