On 29 April, His Holiness the Dalai Lama's Representative to Russia & CIS, Nawang Rabgyal, gave a talk on the importance of the teachings by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Buddhists from Russian-speaking world in November 2009 and December 2010 in Dharamsala, and the cultural and spiritual contact and connection between Tibet and Russia.
Representative Rabgyal, while talking on the subject, further narrated: "According to historical records, there has had been long cultural and spiritual contact and connection for several centuries, about 400 years, between Tibet and Russia.The traditional Buddhists in Buryat, Kalmyk and Tuva Republics in Russian Federation follow the Tibetan Buddhism and they regard His Holiness the Dalai Lama as their supreme spiritual leader. The Buddhism began to spread to three Republics in the 17th century. Interestingly, the 7th Dalai Lama had sent letter and gift to Tsarina Catherin the Great, Queen of Russia, in 18th century through Zayab Pandita, the first Kalmyk scholar, who had studied in Tibet. Moreover, Russia was the first European country, which had diplomatic contact with independent Tibet in the beginning of 20th century.
The great 13th Dalai Lama and Russian Tsar Nicolai-II had exchanged several correspondences and gifts through Avang Dorjiev (Nawang Dorjee), the great Buryat scholar, who became the 13th Dalai Lama's Ambassador to Russian Tsar.The first Buddhist Temple (Datsang Kuntse- Chosling) in Europe was built in St. Petersburg, capital of Russia, in 1910 with financial contribution from the 13th Dalai Lama, Mongolian government and Buddhists in Russian Federation. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama first visited Russia (Soviet Union) in 1979 and it was followed by several visits during which He gave public teachings and initiations. Currently there are about 200 Buddhist centers and Datsangs in Russian Federation, which follow the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism."
Representative Rabgyal's talk was followed by screening a documentary film in Russian produced during the 2010 teaching in Dharamsala which is entitled as: MESSAGE FROM His Holiness the 14th DALAI LAMA TO RUSSIA. The Save Tibet Foundation distributed 25-paged booklet about teachings of His Holiness to Russian Buddhists in Dharamsala in 2009 and 2010 and forthcoming teaching on 19-21 December 2011. Moscow-base Tibet House also joined the Dzogchen Forum.