Tuva Buddhists ask Russian Foreign Ministry to issue visa to Dalai Lama

Interfax, 1 November 2011

Kyzyl, Russia -- The Association of the Buddhists of Tuva (OBT) has sent an open letter addressed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, asking him to grant a Russian entry visa to the Dalai Lama.

The letter, posted on the website of the Center for Tibetan Culture and Information, has been signed by Kamby Lama (the head of Tuvan Buddhists) Nikolay Kuular and OBT administration Chairman Buyan Sandyk.

Over the past 20 years, since the only visit by the Dalai Lama to the republic, many temples, prayer houses, stupas and prayer wheels have been erected here, the authors said.

"For us it is very important that His Holiness Dalai Lama bless the recreated shrines of Tuva by endowing them with new spiritual force," the letter said.

Also, the republic is building Russia's biggest statue of Shakyamuni Buddha on top of the holy Tuvan Dogee Mountain and is planning to erect a new main Tuvan temple in the center of Kyzyl that will become a symbol of unity of all Tuvan Buddhists, the Tuvan Buddhist leaders said.

"It appears to us extremely important to have the construction site for the new main Tuvan temple blessed by our spiritual leader, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama," the letter said.

In March 2011, the Dalai Lama officially stepped down as the political leader of the Tibetan government in exile and "has since conducted his activity solely in the status of the spiritual leader of one of the greatest world religions," the authors also said.