Moscow to get its first Buddhist temple

Buddhism is considered as one of Russia’s traditional religions, legally a part of Russian historical heritage. Source: Reuters

Buddhism is considered as one of Russia’s traditional religions, legally a part of Russian historical heritage. Source: Reuters

At the temple, which should be built by 2017, worshippers will have an opportunity to get acupuncture treatment and also try Tuvan and Vietnamese dishes.

Construction of the first Buddhist temple in Moscow will begin next spring. In addition to a prayer hall, the three-story temple complex will contain a meditation hall, library, cinema and a five-metre statue of the Buddha. The temple’s construction will be financed by money provided by sponsors and general donations. According to preliminary estimates, this construction project will cost 250 million roubles (around $550,000).

“Now we are beginning our fundraising campaign. As soon as a sufficient amount is collected, we will start construction of the temple,” says Dulma Shagdarova, Chairperson of the Moscow Buddhists Community. “The construction work will last about two years.”

The Buddhist temple will be built at 15 Novovladykinsky Drive, in the Otradnoye District in the north of Moscow. It will have a total area of 1,186.5 square meters.

The temple complex will have three floors. The ground floor will consist of a prayer hall, rooms for priests and a dining room for worshippers. On the second floor, they will place a conference hall, rooms for Buddhist teachers and a meditation hall. The third floor will be equipped with a library and cinema, where they will show documentaries about Buddhism. The medical centre and the cloakroom will be located on the semi-basement floor. A small stupa will be built on the roof.

“At the wellness centre, worshippers will be able to receive acupuncture treatments and take advantage of Tibetan medical services. In the dining room of the temple, visitors will have the opportunity to try Vietnamese, Tuva, Buryat, and Mongolian national dishes at affordable prices,” said Shagdarova. “During main Buddhist holidays, worshippers will be fed for free.”

In 2012, during public hearings on the construction of the religious centre, more than 400 area residents voted against allowing this project to be built. The main reason for the dissatisfaction shown by Otradnoye District residents was that besides the Orthodox churches, this area already has a mosque and a synagogue. Participants at the hearings expressed concern that such a variety of religious centres could lead to religiously motivated violence.

Nevertheless, Renat Layshev, Member of the Moscow City Duma Committee for Public Associations and Religious Organizations, believes that the capital city needs a Buddhist temple.

“Moscow already has mosques, synagogues, Orthodox and Catholic churches, and so the appearance of a Buddhist religious centre should not be a surprise to anyone. Besides, Buddhism is one of the oldest religions in the world, and representatives of this denomination have a right to their own temple, and not necessarily only in the Otradnoye District,” said Layshev. “For example, in Germany, several religious centres may be placed in one building. Catholics, Muslims, Christians and Jews use the same building, just come into it via different doors – and no religiously motivated violence ever occurs.”

First published in Russian by Izvestia

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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