Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The only Buddhist republic in Europe (video)

;; Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly

Northwestern climes for Central Asian Buddhists
Kalmykia is in the steppe region in the south of European Russia. It is the only indigenous European Buddhist republic. A 2011 international Buddhist festival took place in a magnificent temple in Kalmykia's capital, Elista. Vajrayana monks, practicing in a Tibetan-Bhutanese-Mongolian style, are preparing a sand mandala.

Ethnic Kalmyks are traditionally Buddhist (BBC)
The monastery is a palace that may serve as a temporary abode for a semi-enlightened deity. Colored marble sand is applied to the canvas through a cone-shaped tube. Follow the monks' path on RT.  Buddhists came to Europe long ago, traveling from its origins in Afghanistan and ancient India along the Silk Road.

Moving up through Central Asia from Bamiyan (possibly in the vicinity of the real Kapilavastu, Siddhartha's hometown, a great center of Buddhism with its towering mountainside statues after the conversion of the Sage's extended family, the Shakyas), Buddhism came to Tajikistan, and into Europe.

Buddhism traveled West out of India through Central Asia and geopolitical Middle East (TSO)
Central Asia or the -istan region (BBC)
The area was Buddhist as it first established itself in the West, partly as portions of Greek and Persian and Bactrian empires, prior to reaching the Great Walled empire of civilized China. The Czarist Russian empire extended down to Afghanistan, the roadblock in its imperial dreams as the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). The -istans replaced allegiance to Moscow. But the industrious bands of merchants traveling up and down the Caucasus mountains dividing the Eurasian continent, socially separating Europe and Asia. Siberian shamanism blended with Esoteric Buddhism, establishing a long history of the Dharma on the continent.
visited Tajikistan's National Museum of Antiquities in Dushanbe in 2011 to view the famous terracotta Buddha statue, discovered in the 1960s among the ruins of a temple called Ajina Tepa at Kurgan Tube, about 100 km south of Dushanbe. The reclining figure is the Buddha entering final nirvana. It dates back to the 6th or 7th century AD and measures 12.8 m long and 2.7 m high. Because of its immensity and fragile condition, it was cut into 92 pieces before being transported to Dushanbe. The restoration of the sculpture was long and difficult but completed in time for the opening of the National Museum in 2001 during the course of Tajikistan's 10th anniversary of independence celebrations.

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