Moscow’s first Buddhist temple, symbolizing Russia’s religious diversity and promoting friendly inter-confessional and inter-ethnic relations, will be built in Russia’s capital by 2017.
A first in Moscow, a Buddhist temple is being constructed under the premise of promoting acceptance of diverse religious beliefs and facilitating relations between various ethnic and religious groups. In the spring of 2015, ground will be broken for the construction of the temple; it’s expected that the temple will be complete by 2017. With a variety of other religions represented, the Buddhist temple is not expected to draw much anger or surprise from Moscow residents. Currently, the capital of Russia is home to mosques and synagogues, and Catholic and Orthodox churches.
The new Buddhist temple is set to contain many amenities, including a hall for meditation, its own library and cinema and a statue of Buddha, about five meters in height. The finished temple will be three stories and offer Buddhist staples like traditional Tibetan medicine and acupuncture. On days of special celebration, visitors and parishioners will have the opportunity to sample cuisines ranging from Vietnamese to Mongolian, as well as Buryat and Tuvinian cuisine; these offerings will be provided free by the temple.
The Buddhist temple will be constructed using money from sponsors and donors; the cost is expected to be around $5.8 million, or 250 million Russian rubles. While there were some initial protests from Moscow residents to a Buddhist temple in Moscow’s Otradnoe region, the reasoning behind the protests did not center on the practice of Buddhism. Rather, residents were reticent to see a temple constructed, which might touch off clashes among religions already represented in the area. Officials in Russia, however, are disinclined to believe that confrontations between various religions are likely because of the experiences of other nations in Europe, where several representative centers for differing religions are often housed in a single building without causing undue confrontations.