On August 18, 2023, the Indian Ambassador to Russia, Pavan Kapoor, delivered an inspiring address underscoring India’s unwavering dedication to upholding and spreading the principles of Buddhism across the world. Kapoor’s remarks were made in the presence of Pandito Khambo Lama, the senior lama of a Buddhist monastery in Mongolia and Russia, during the International Buddhist Forum held in Buryatia. This significant event brought together dignitaries, scholars, and practitioners to celebrate and explore the profound spiritual connections between India and Russia.
Highlighting the Rich Spiritual Ties
Ambassador Kapoor emphasized the ancient spiritual ties between India and Russia that stretch back millennia in his address. Kapoor’s statement resonated deeply with the attendees as he acknowledged the shared heritage and cultural affinities fostered by these spiritual connections. This profound bond has woven Buddhism into the fabric of both nations’ cultural identities.
Shared Spiritual Heritage
Kapoor’s Twitter update captured the essence of his address, stating, “Spoke about the spiritual roots of Buddhism and the shared heritage this provides among countries, including Russia. Also mentioned are GOI (Government of India) initiatives to promote Buddhism.” This acknowledgement underlined the importance of Buddhism in Russia, where it is one of the four officially recognized religions. The echoes of Buddhism reverberate throughout Russia, particularly in regions like Buryatia, Tuva, and Kalmykia, where approximately 1.5 million Buddhists reside.
Buddhism’s Universal Values
Kapoor’s words echoed the profound teachings of Buddhism, emphasizing compassion, wisdom, peace, and harmony. He highlighted how Buddhism has been an integral part of Indian society for centuries and continues to be a beacon of these principles globally. Kapoor recognized the enduring power of spirituality in bridging geographical and cultural gaps, cementing the Indo-Himalayan and Russian Buddhist traditions as living testaments to this transcendent potential.
Ambassador Kapoor took pride in sharing India’s substantial efforts in nurturing the spirit of Buddhism. He highlighted the establishment of the ‘Buddhist Tourism Circuit,’ linking significant pilgrimage sites associated with Buddha’s life. Additionally, Kapoor unveiled an ambitious project in Lumbini, Nepal, where the foundation stone for the ‘India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage’ was laid in collaboration with the Nepalese government. This initiative reflects the deep commitment to preserving and propagating the legacy of Buddhism.
A Shared Path Forward
Kapoor’s address concluded with a call to action, urging attendees to draw inspiration from the shared heritage of Indo-Himalayan and Russian Buddhism. He encouraged them to utilize the wisdom embedded in this legacy to navigate contemporary challenges. Kapoor’s sentiment underscored the timeless relevance of these teachings, symbolizing the unity and enduring connection that transcend borders.
Beyond the podium, Ambassador Kapoor engaged in discussions with Aleksey Tsedenov, the head of Buryatia, encompassing potential collaborations in culture, tourism, and the economy. Expressing his gratitude for organising the International Buddhist Forum, Kapoor’s interactions emphasized the potential for India and Russia to cultivate multifaceted partnerships inspired by their spiritual heritage.
In a world seeking harmony and understanding, Ambassador Kapoor’s address served as a beacon of hope, reminding us of the universal values embedded in Buddhism and the transformative power they hold in shaping societies and fostering global unity.