09.06.2009 – 11.06.2009, Russia

His Holiness Gyalwa Karmapa visits St. Petersburg

Press conference, Teaching, Visit

Gyalwa Karmapa visits St. Petersburg

Agenda:

June 9:
Arrival in St. Petersburg, Reception in the Karma Kagyu Center

June10:
Meeting with the Vice Mayor of St. Petersburg and Chief of Religious Department
Official Welcoming and Presentation of the Russian Karma Kagyu Centers
Visit of Datsan, One of the Oldest Buddhist Temples in Europe
White Tara Empowerment at the Yubileiny Concert & Sports Palace, 1700 people

June 11:
Blessing of the Karma Kagyu Center
Visit of the Eremitage, Meeting with the Indian Consul
Interviews for TV and Press
Departure to Elista in Kalmykia

On June 9, 2009 H.H. the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism set foot on Russian soil for the first time in his life. At the St.Petersburg airport he was warmly welcomed by Alexander Koybagarov (President of Russian Karma Kagyu School Buddhist Association) and many others.

The 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, accompanied by Lama Ole Nydahl, Tenam Nendo Rinpoche, an entourage of senior monks, and an international group of students, were brought to the Karma Kagyu Buddhist Center in St. Petersburg where a large number of his Russian followers joyfully welcomed him.

On the morning of June 10, the Gyalwa Karmapa was officially received in Smolny by the Vice Mayor of St. Petersburg, Alexander Ivanovich Vakhmistrov and the Chief of the Religious Department, Lubov Musienko.

Immediately after visiting the local dignitaries, His Holiness was invited to a welcoming tea in the Sky Restaurant of the Peak Shopping Centre. There, the Sangha of the Russian Diamond Way Centres gave an overview of the enormous efforts they have made since 1988 with the support and encouragement of Lama Ole and Hannah Nydahl, to build up 74 Buddhist centers and groups all over Russia. In particular, they presented their activities in St. Petersburg, Karelia and North-West Region.

From there, the Karmapa was guided to Datsan, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Europe (built in 1906) where he was sincerely welcomed by Khenpo Djampa Donye.

In the evening of June 10 at the Yubileiny Concert & Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, the Gyalwa Karmapa gave a White Tara Empowerment to 1700 people, of which 472 used the special opportunity to take refuge for their first time. Prior to the empowerment, His Holiness taught about the meaning of refuge and empowerments.

On June 11, the Gyalwa Karmapa blessed the Karma Kagyu Buddhist Centre in St. Petersburg. Afterwards, the Karmapa visited the Hermitage Museum where he met with the Indian Consul of St. Petersburg, Mr. Abhay Kumar. In a small group with the Indian Consul, the Department Head of Oriental Art, Julia Elikhina, guided the Karmapa through some rooms of the Hermitage, where she showed him many beautiful pieces of Tibetan Art, highlighted by a Thangka painted by the 10th Karmapa that is kept in the Chamber of Treasures.

Back in the Buddhist Centre, the Karmapa gave some interviews for several TV stations and other media (STO, MIR, 5th Channel, Argumenty i Fakty).

In the afternoon of June 11, the Karmapa departed from St. Petersburg with more than 100 disciples on a flight to Elista, Kalmykia.

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