Kalmykia :- The only Buddhist republic in Europe

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Kalmykia…The Only Buddhist Republic in Europe
Edited from the Inner Dream Kindergarten Program broadcasting on DMC

The Location of Kalmykia
Amongst different nations in this world Russia is one of few countries which are located in Europe and Asia.  After changing its governing system to republic, each state adopted its own state-religion either Christianity or Islam. 
The National Flag of Kalmykia
However, Kalmykia is the only republic in Europe which adopts Buddhism to be the state-religion.  The Kalmyks’ ascendants were Mongolian who had emigrated from Siberia, so it is the reason why Kalmyks are Buddhist.  Also, they keep their Buddhist customs up to now. 
Kalmykia has enacted a law that Buddhism is the state-religion.  The Kalmyks’ faith in Buddhism is reflected on their flag which has an image of blooming lotus at the center – the symbol of the Lord Buddha’s enlightening wisdom.  Nowadays, there are about 300,000 Kalmyks living peacefully on their land which is larger than many countries in Europe such as Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Denmark. 
H.E. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the first president of Kalmykia
The person who has brought prosperity to this Buddhist republic is H.E. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the first president of Kalmykia.  H.E. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is 48 years old.  He graduated from the Moscow State Institute with the degree in Political Science of Foreign Relations.  Later on, he became a successful businessman and involves in politics.  He has taken the position of the President of Kalmykia when he was 31 years old.  His life is concerned with Buddhism since he was young because his grandmother has named his nickname as “lotus” in Russian.  Moreover, he does not smoke and drink and he also is the leader of the Buddhist restoration in Kalmykia as well.  He has spent millions of his money to build 46 total temples around Kalmykia for over ten years. 
The Buddhist Temple

Kalmykia has been named as the center of international chess.  Mr. President is very much interested in chess and won the Kalmykian national chess championship at the age of 14.  He pushed forward to add chess as a subject in the schools.  He became the president of the World Chess Federation in 1995 at the age of 33. 
Kalmykia - The center of international chess
From time to time, although he had much work load during his 17 years as the president, but he has foreseen the significance of youth and tries to develop them. 
This year, as he was informed about the congregation of one million youth who would get together to change the world at Dhammakaya Temple in Thailand.  He had never visited Thailand and never seen any youth project that would attract numerous children to do good deeds like this before.  When Mr. Anan Asavapokin invited him to join this event, he accepted to participate in the congregation and was willing to deliver a world class keynote speech to V-Star students. 

Mr. Anan Asavapokin invited H.E. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov to participate in this event
The President visited the exhibition
Before the congregation he had an opportunity to visit the chapel at Dhammakaya Temple, many kids were there waiting for him and waved the Thai and Russian flags as well as greeting him in Russian.  This denotes the warm between us.  Mr. President also said that everyone here including the children not only physically welcomed him, but also expressed their warm hospitality through their eyes which really touched him, especially when the little girl said thank you in Russian.  Then, he proceeded to “Change the World Pavilion” at the Dhammakaya Meditation Hall.  Once he had a chance to experience the exhibition and the activities of V-Star students, he acknowledged that this is the right way to educate children about the Law of Karma.  He also believes that the power of goodness can change the world.
The President was waiting for stamping his V-passport
“I am delighted and very interested in this.  When I go back to the Republic of Kalmykia, I will ask my minister of education to make this happen.  It is very good for children to record their friends’ good deeds.  When children return home from school, parents usually brag about their kids.  What V-Star kids are doing now is looking at the good side of their friends and using that to teach themselves.  What all you are doing is the greatest thing.”
The President took a photo with Mongolian V-Star children
In the evening he witnessed the historical event and delivered a speech to one million students who gathered together at the Dhammakaya Cetiya as well as DMC viewers worldwide.  His speech was so powerful in inspiring and encouraging the audiences.

The congregation of one million youths on V-Star Day
“When I see V-Stars gather together at the Meditation Square, I am very much impressed and excited.  It is a wonderful event that over a million children come together at the Meditation Square and do more than just simply look at each other.  These kids, who are in their early ages or in their teens, have the same thought of changing the world for the better.  The power that arises from the Meditation Square here will show that the world is changing because we have gathered here to work together to think optimistically and creatively in changing the world.  Therefore, the world will change to the better with certainty.”
The Budda Image as the gift for the President
The event at Dhammakaya Temple had impressed him so much that he wishes to share it to youths in Kalmykia.  He planned to introduce the V-Star project to the minister of education.  He said the event is a memorable scene.  The children not only gathered together, they also joined together with a single vision which is to change the world.  And this energy will change the world to be a wholesome world.
We are one family
It was not just the congregation of numerous people that we should be proud of, but the bridging from heart to heart in order to change this world by promoting world peace through inner peace.

Mr. President’s speech on V-Star Day

Dear friends,

I am happy to greet you with this famous Kalmyk song as the hottest Buddhist hello from the people of the Kalmyk Republic who I am honored to represent here. As a politician I am deeply impressed by this unprecedented endeavor for World Morality Revival. I am greatly thankful for the invitation to participate in this auspicious event for Thailand and the whole world.

As I can see and feel the strong enthusiasm of this capacity student rally of yours I am getting more and more certain, that the bright future in Thailand as well as around the world is a real thing.  I am highly fascinated by your passion to change the world for the better.  The habits, based on Buddhist meditations, public morals and ethical teachings will definitely bring about clear thoughts, good speeches and good actions from any individual and create a deep sense of right and wrong in any society.
As students you are all certainly going to play an active role in this moral process which supports the creation of positive habits among the young people on a daily basis through continuous training in your future professional activities.
I come from Kalmykia the only Buddhist republic in Europe and as a Buddhist I am speechlessly fascinated by the rich Buddhist culture of Thailand.  I am captivated by the level of the genuine Buddhist moral and ethical awareness of your countrymen which I could only dream of 17 years ago for my countrymen when I became the President of Kalmykia.  Within these 17 years I have come to the firm understanding that the moral values of a Buddhist culture can guide and protect our young people throughout their lives.  It is a great honour for me to stand here before you and rejoice with you in this big and exciting event.
It is always a pleasure to meet young people like you especially students, because they reawaken the strongest and most pleasant emotions of having once been a student, too.  I wouldn’t like to be too formal today because I still feel myself young both in soul and body.
Russia is the largest country in the world and it’s multinational. I represent a small nation called the Kalmyks. We are situated in the South of Russia between the Caspian and the Black Seas.  Russia used to be a totalitarian socialist country with no opportunity for business. When the social changes of the 90-es of the last century came I became a businessman and one of the first Russians to be called self-made millionaire. I think being a Buddhist doesn’t contradict to being a businessman.
On the contrary when I came into power I saw the necessity of re-cultivating and re-instilling in the minds of our youth the unshakable guiding awareness of the Buddhist teachings and public morals which had been brought down by communism in our former Buddhist Kalmyk land.
And for my own money which I had made as a businessman I started building our first Buddhist temples and stupas, Christian churches and Muslim mosques since our republic is multicultural.  As a result we are proud to state that our republic has been the most peaceful place in the Northern Caucasus with no ethnic or religious conflicts and social riots so far.
We are well aware that to change the habits of heavy alcohol abuse, idleness and of some of the other socially amoral behavior of some part of our youth for physically healthier and morally higher standards is neither an easy nor quick task.  And the understanding of the necessity for changes made me think of the timeless.
Since the very beginning of coming into power I have been doing my best to lay a firm foundation for generations to come. Of course it is too early to speak of any results today but I could tell you, analyzing the present status quo in our republic, about the work we have done and our future plans to follow up the social goals we have chosen.  On our invitation His Holiness Dalai Lama the 14th visited Elista, the capital of our republic, to take part in the opening ceremony of the first Buddhist temple.
The People of Kalmykia were strongly fascinated by his teachings. We hope he will come and pray with us more and more times raising moral standards in our youth through his teachings. 
Today we can proudly say that we have ended up step by step with the biggest Buddhist temple in Europe. The western European encyclopedias place us, the Kalmyks, as the youngest Europeans.  Four hundred years ago we came as nomads from Asia to Europe. 
So let’s come together and change the world for the better, since you are all V- Stars. The bright future is in your own hands.  We are one family.

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