Шедруб Линг
Buddhism in the Urals in our days

Buddhism in the Urals in our days

The Buddhism has begun its revival in the Urals since the early 1990-s, when rather large communities interested in studying of the Doctrine of Buddha formed in Ekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk. By the middle of the 90-s it was divided into the groups belonging to specific schools of Tibetan Buddhism: there were Karma Kagyu School and "Dzogchen community" of Namkhay Norbu Rinpoche. In the late 90-s – early 2000-s, thanks to the visits of Yeshe Lodoy Rinpoche and Geshe Jamp Thinley, several Buddhist communities, guided by Gelug School, appeared in Ekaterinburg. Nowadays, apart from Shedrub Ling, there are following Buddhist associations in the Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk regions:

Kagyu

The largest Buddhist community of the Urals consists of several local communities and groups belonging to the Russian Association of Diamond Way Buddhists of Karma Kagyu Tradition whith Karmapa XVII Tkhaye Dordzhe as spiritual leader. Lama Ole Nidal, the main Karma Kagyu preacher in the West, regularly visits the Urals with lectures and initiations: for the first time he has visited the capital of Sverdlovsk region in 1993. Ekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk Dharma Centers are the oldest in the Urals, they were formed at the very beginning of the 1990-s and were registered as local religious organizations at the beginning of the 2000-s. There are also small Karma Kagyu groups are in Kamensk-Uralsky and Ivdel. Both centers have their own premises, unlike all other Buddhist groups in the cities of the Urals. There is also a Retreat (seclusion) Karma Kagyu Center which is under construction on the bank of the lake Argazi since 2008.

Besides Karma Kagyu, there is another Dharma center, belonging to the line of Kagyu: the Padmapani Center, founded in 2015 belonging to Drikung-Kagyu School. Its spiritual leader, Sonam Dzhorpkhel Rinpoche, occasionally visits Ekaterinburg with teachings. Another Drikung School lama who often comes to the Urals is Igor Lopatin.

Nyingma

The Ekaterinburg Dzogchen-practicing group exists since 1992 and is guided by the international Dzogchen community. The similar group is in Chelyabinsk. As well as to local Karma-Kagyu groups, they are also visited regularly by teachers-instructors for educational purpose. Their spiritual leader is the Tibetan teacher Namkhay Norbu Rinpoche.

In 2005 a group of the direction Rim? “The way of Bodhisattva” has been formed in Chelyabinsk, and it’s the most active of all the Buddhist communities of the Southern Urals. The Rim? movement adhers to non-sectarian approach to Buddhist practice and invites  teachers of the various schools and traditions, including those which don’t belong to the Tibetan Buddhism. Nevertheless, “The Way of Boddhisattva” is guided mainly by the Nyingma school.

In different years the Ural region was visited by such Nyingma lamas as Patrul Rinpoche, Dzatrul Rinpoche, Lkhagpa-Lama and Sonam Dordzhe (Oleg Pozdnyakov). Apart from their disciples, there are also a few followers of Lama Dandaron tradition.

Gelug

In spite of the fact that for several centuries the Gelug School prevails in the "historically Buddhist" regions of Russia, in the Urals its community is the most decentralized one among all other communities of Tibetan Buddhism. This results from the fact that such organizations as the Buryat "Buddhist Traditional Sangha of Russia", " Buddhists Association of Kalmykia" and others are focused first of all on the work in their own regions, and on interaction with local ethnic diasporas outside these regions. So, for example, in 2006-2010 BTSR founded the "Ural Buddhist Commuity of Ekaterinburg" which focused on work with Buryat students of the Ural Universities, however this organization quickly collapsed. Another example of BTSR interaction with the Urals residents is the group in Nizhny Tagil which periodically invites Tsultim-Lama (Anton Shcheglov), the regular lama of the St. Petersburg Datsan.

However the majority of the Gelug groups of the Urals are connected not with Buryat or Kalmyk, but with Tibetan teacher who occasionally come for lectures and initiations. The first lama who visited Ekaterinburg in 1997 was Yeshe Lodoy Rinpoche; he gave his blessing for foundation of the “Lotos” Center, which, however, hasn’t existed for long. In 1995 in Ekaterinburg a small group of disciples of another Tibetan lama, constantly living in Russia, Geshe Jampa Tinley, was formed and later has received the name "Vajrapani". The peak of its activity was in 2007-2009, back then their teacher often came to the city; now it consists of only several people.

Besides Yelo Rinpoche and Jampa Tinley, in the 2010-s the Urals was visited by such Gelug geshe-lamas as Ngavang Tukdzhe, Jampa Donyod, Sharab Danzan, Yeshe Tabgye and Kentrul Rinpoche. However no groups of their pupils have been formed. Special mention should also be made of the visits of Geshe Jampa Dagpa, a resident teacher of the FPMT Moscow center "Ganden Tendar Ling", in 2016-2017. His visits have strengthened the FPMT educational groups, formed earlier in Nizhny Tagil and Kachkanar ("Lama Tsongkhapa ", on the basis of Shedrub Ling).

Other schools

Besides the Tibetan Buddhism schools, there were groups of adepts of Zen (Soto and Rinzai) and Theravada Buddhism in Ekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk at various times. Without communication with larger centralized organizations, these groups haven’t existed for long, were few and have quickly collapsed. Also courses of meditation (vipassana) on Satya Narayana Goyenka system are regularly held in Sverdlovsk region.

The largest Buddhist community of the Urals consists of several local communities and groups belonging to the Russian Association of Diamond Way Buddhists of Karma Kagyu Tradition whith Karmapa XVII Tkhaye Dordzhe as spiritual leader. Lama Ole Nidal, the main Karma Kagyu preacher in the West, regularly visits the Urals with lectures and initiations: for the first time he has visited the capital of Sverdlovsk region in 1993. Ekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk Dharma Centers are the oldest in the Urals, they were formed at the very beginning of the 1990-s and were registered as local religious organizations at the beginning of the 2000-s. There are also small Karma Kagyu groups are in Kamensk-Uralsky and Ivdel. Both centers have their own premises, unlike all other Buddhist groups in the cities of the Urals. There is also a Retreat (seclusion) Karma Kagyu Center which is under construction on the bank of the lake Argazi since 2008.