The Nizhny Novgorod Buddhist Center, located at the very beginning of Gorky Street, was founded in 1992 by Ole Nydahl, the first recognized European lama of one of the main schools of Tibetan Buddhism - Karma Kagyu. Next to the old wooden hut, where the first joint meditations took place, a modern three-story cottage built at the expense of the community rose. The Village talked with the center’s parishioners about the connection between the past and the future and how important it is not to be stupid.
I am 40 years old, and I have been practicing since 19, that is, most of my life. People come to Buddhism in different ways, and almost everyone has their own interesting story. Mine is pretty sad. When I was 15, my cousin committed suicide with whom we were very close. After his death, I seemed to have fallen out of real life. I didn’t see any sense, everything is dust and ashes. Why work, start a family and do something at all, because all this will die, will fall apart. In search of answers to questions about death and the meaning of life, I went around all the local spiritual communities. I found the answers in a small one-room apartment near the Moscow station, where the first Nizhny Novgorod Buddhist center was organized in the 90s.
These were wild times. In the afternoon, the office of one businessman was located in the apartment, to which the bandits would drop by, then the riot police would descend, in the evening they would go through meditation. Now, of course, everything is completely different. We have a beautiful house, in total about 200 people practice here.
There is no hierarchy inside. There is a person who manages the economic part, but that’s all. We are all friends and we make all decisions together.
We do not have a god; we ourselves determine what is happening.
All that we did in the past is ours now,
and what we do now is our future
What I like about Buddhism is that practice does not interfere with being a modern person.
We do not want to hear simply - "no." We want to understand why not? For example, Christianity says: do not kill, but does not explain why. And in Buddhism, everything is very clear: if you kill, you will have a short life full of disease. I do not want to kill after that, even insects. If you will steal - if not in this, then in the next life you will be poor, and you will always be missing everything. Do you want to take drugs? It’s your business, consider that instead of buying money for coal, which need to heat the house, you burn money yourself. Taking drugs, you burn positive experiences within yourself, which for a very long time could bring joy, happiness to everyone around.
We do not have a god; we ourselves determine what is happening. All that we did in the past is ours now, and what we do now is our future; and we decide whether to plant cacti or flowers in our gardens. Everything seems to be very simple.
freelancer, 12 years in Buddhism
Everyone can come to the Buddhist center. No special invitations are needed for this. We have introductory lectures for new people, and all the meditations that take place in our center every day are absolutely free and safe. If, on the whole, the person who came here is comfortable, then you can stay and start learning something, talking with the others.
In Tibetan Buddhism, there are many lines and schools, between them (unlike, for example, Christian denominations) there are no contradictions, because the goal of all Buddhists is the same - enlightenment, that is, the full potential of their minds. Different schools exist because there are different people with their habits, trends and characteristics. The methods are different, but lead to the same result.
People who are willing to take responsibility for their own life without shifting it to a god or government who feel
what's inside, in themselves, the whole world - these are Buddhists
For example, there is the Nyingma line - this is working with anger. Those who practice the methods of this line are distant from each other, they like to free themselves from things and attachments.
The Gelugpa line, to which the Dalai Lama belongs, for example, works with confusion or stupidity, therefore the methods of this school include a lot of details, practitioners study a large number of books, texts in order to understand more.
The Kagyu line is characterized by a desire and what we all like: to be together, to sit together at a table, like our house - we want it to be beautiful. This is the basis of our practice.
When a person embarks on the Buddhist path, in principle, he simply chooses for himself what suits him best. Not something better, higher or lower, just what the soul lies to.
It seems to me that, despite the difference in characters, habits and age, people who like freedom and people who are ready to take responsibility for their own life without shifting it to a god or government who feel that inside themselves, the whole world - these are the Buddhists.
Here we are not talking about Buddhism 24 hours a day. We can do some projects together outside the center, be interested in completely different things, go to the movies together. We all have work, non-Buddhist friends, and everything happens as it did before, only this circle of communication also appears. It is quite precious, we call this community “sangha” (in Sanskrit). This can be translated into Russian as "friends on the way." Here friends are also one of the methods of practice, we all rejoice each other, meditate and eat together, have parties - this helps us not to lose interest, to cope with difficulties if they arise. This center was created in order to benefit from it, to receive help and, accordingly, to give it to someone. We always adhere to common sense, there is no such thing that we go into a long hermitage, leave society, become urban crazy - go out into the street and immediately start shouting that we all know about this world, buy a book - this is completely wrong.
Buddha said that we are not missionary, we do not need to prove anything to people. If a person has a connection and the need to find out something, he will come and begin to ask.
Here friends are also one of the methods of practice, we all encourage each other, meditate and eat together, have parties - this helps to cope with difficulties if they arise
photographer, in Buddhism ten years
In 2007, my wife and I went to Buryatia to see Khambo Lama Itigelov, who, having gone to his last meditation, ordered to bury him and get him out 75 years later, which was done. His imperishable body can now be seen in the Ivolginsky datsan in Buryatia, near Ulan-Ude. A unique phenomenon, so it seemed to us then. But among the realized masters, this is far from rare. So, it was enough with a hand to touch his knee to feel the warmth of a living body. I still remember this feeling. Before that, I was familiar with Buddhism from books - in the same place, in Ulan-Ude, we met our first Master, talked, took refuge, and so our practice began. Having learned Buddhist teachings, I realized that it gives comprehensive answers to all my questions that did not give other directions of philosophical or religious thought, however, I would not call this a religion even now. This is the same feeling when in the books and speeches of teachers you find, as it were, confirmation of those thoughts and questions that he asked himself. You find that everything is already formulated, everything is said, here it is - take and apply, living knowledge, and not dry philosophical postulates.
Having learned the Buddhist teaching, I realized that it gives comprehensive answers to all my questions that did not give other directions of philosophical or religious thought, however, I would not call this a religion even now
I came to Buddhism very simply. Let's just say: I had no other choice, the synonym for Buddhism is common sense. If you start to ask questions about how it all works, what we see, what we feel, then no matter what the teaching is, the explanations usually do not hold water. When I read the Buddhist texts, I realized that everything is logical there, everything is consistent with everything, so I did not have much thought about how I feel about Buddhism.
Everyone knows that among Christians the main book is the Bible, among Muslims the Koran, and among Buddhists? Do not know? I didn’t know either. It is now that I know that there is a collection of Buddha's writings written by his closest disciples, and it has 108 volumes; it has not yet been fully translated into Russian. What were my chances of finding this book without knowing that it was? None. But I met with a brochure that many people interested in Buddhism read, there was such a green collection. In my opinion, it was called: "Buddhism." That is how teaching came into my life.
Tantra (as it was originally meant) means nothing but “weaving”. When practice is woven into everyday life so much
that there is no longer a separation between life and practice
There is such a very famous word: tantra. When we hear him, not being Buddhists, what do we represent? Some secret sex techniques and so on. True?
In fact, this is a concept a little distorted by Europeans, because tantra (as it was originally meant) means nothing more than "weaving." When practice is intertwined with everyday life so much that there is no longer a separation between life and practice. Work on yourself is ongoing. What does it mean? When we are calm, we don’t act under the influence of disturbing emotions: anger, jealousy, greed and other heresies that arise in our mind. Why do these emotions interfere? Under their influence, we commit actions that in the end will not bring anything good, to us in the first place. Naturally, when our mind is calm, when we feel at home in any situation, nothing like this happens.
It is important to understand that a Buddhist does not mean Buddha. Of course, everyone has a buddha nature, the so-called buddha-dhatu, that is, the ability to achieve enlightenment, but until we reach it, we are on the way. This means that we can squint. Imagine a headline in an evening newspaper: "Shock! Buddhists are forbidden to blunt." But we are stupid. And the practice is to notice exactly where we are blunting, to make some adjustments to our perception and our behavior. And another point: that we are meditating, that is, when we are sitting cross-legged, with our eyes closed and muttering some mantras - all this, of course, looks very Buddhist. This is the so-called formal practice. This, of course, is important, but the informal side is more important - just the very “weaving”, when, in fact, all of life becomes practice.