Maybe I am wrong but it seems that most people don’t realise that historically there are Buddhist regions in Russia. Of course Russia is a vast land, and it shouldn’t be a surprise.
But as it happens, until the modern era, the farthest west Buddhism managed to establish itself is in Kalmykia, a part of Europe on the shores of the Caspian Sea; and the farthest north it went was to Buryatia, which is above Mongolia on the shores in Lake Baikal.
In both cases the type of Buddhism established was derived, with local variations, of course, from the Tibetan tradition.
Heavily repressed during the Soviet era, these regions are now seeing a religious revival, and a renewed interest in their cultural heritage.
Here are two reports from Russia Today, the first entitled ‘Buryatia – Between Shamanism and Buddhism’, and the second on ‘Kalmykia, the Monk’s White Path’.
Both of the reports try to put a personal touch on the film by following journeys made in the country, which then gives the opportunity to explore the lifestyle, history and culture.
Unfortunately neither film is entirely satisfactorily recorded. The first has a number of adverts for the uploader’s own sites, and the second has ticker tape running through it.
I wouldn’t normally publish such material here, but I thought is so interesting I have gone ahead, and hopefully I may find better versions of the films at some point.
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