“Living” Buddhist Monk Inspires Buryats

This is the story of  what has happened to Pandito Hambo Lama Itigilov’s body after he passed on in 1926 while meditating.  (Pandito Hambo Lama is an office that passes on to another person after the death of the current lama, similar to Dalai Lama. It is the highest ranking lama in Russia.) In September of 2002, at the Ivolginsk Temple outside of Ulan-Ude,  his body was exhumed. It is open for viewing at certain times, and has created somewhat of a fever among Buddhist followers in Buryatia. These events have refueled an interest in Buddhism here in Siberia, and Buddhism is extending its reach into places where it has had little or no influence before. Even among Western Buryats, who followed Shamanism and beginning in the 1700’s began to embrace Christianity, a temple is being built, in their leading village Ust-Orda.

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