Shedrub Ling, the only Buddhist monastery in Russia’s Urals Federal District, located on the border between the European and Asian regions of Russia, was demolished in late March to make way for commercial mining interests. The destruction of the monastery in the remote and scenic area is a major loss for the local Buddhists.
Shedrub Ling (Tib: place of study and implementation) was a Buddhist monastery on Mount Kachkanar in the Sverdlovsk region of the Urals Federal District. It was founded in 1995 by Lama Tenzin Dokchit (Mikhail Sannikov), who studied at Ivolginsky and Tamchinsky datsan in Buryatia in the early 1990s. Lama Tenzin’s main teacher was Buryat Lama Darma-Dodi Zhalsaraev, who commissioned his disciple to build the monastery. Prior to its demolition, Shedrub Ling included two enlightenment stupas, a nirvana stupa, six additional stupas, a temple building, statues of Shakyamuni Buddha and Milarepa, retreat halls, a library, and living quarters.
The history of the monastery is full of difficulties. In the 1990s, the Buddhists agreed on the construction of Shedrup Ling with the government of the Sverdlovsk region. However, in the 2000s, repeated attempts to legalize ownership of the land on which the monastery stood failed. The reason for this was soon revealed when the mining company Evraz* announced its intention to develop this territory, despite the assurances of members of the Buddhist community of Shedrup Ling that there were no mineral deposits under the monastery. The Buddhist community has repeatedly tried to legalize its ownership of sites and buildings, but the Kachkanarsky Ore Mining and Processing Plant, whose quarries are located nearby, and the Forestry Department of the Federal District of the Urals claimed the rights to the land.
Information about the imminent demolition of the monastery first appeared in February 2016. In the same year, Evraz asked the Buddhist community to move to Mount Mokhnatka, about three kilometers from Kashkanar, and promised to help with relocation. Community members said they were not given the opportunity to transport their stupas. At the end of February 2016, the authorities of the Sverdlovsk region decided to postpone the demolition of the monastery and created a working committee to examine the preservation of the monastery.
In 2020, an agreement was signed between Evraz, the government of Sverdlovsk and the Buddhist community, under which the community would move to the village of Kosya by November 1, 2020, while maintaining access to the stupas according to the schedule agreed with the company. . But in November 2020, Lama Tenzin Dokchit reportedly refused to leave his monastery, and the community announced that they were canceling the agreement with Evraz.
The grace period during which the Shedrup Ling community could dismantle its buildings expired on March 16 this year, a deadline determined by the Kachkanarsky City Court on August 25, 2015. The demolition began on March 17, when Evraz pointed out that he did not plan to dismantle the stupas or the Buddha statue, but only the household buildings.
On the same day, the Buddhist community of Shedrub Ling said on its social media pages that information about the demolition had been taken down from the media in a bid to demolish the monastery “quietly”. According to the community, “Due to the global and national situation in Russia, it is very convenient to do this now.” The community also said they were prohibited from entering the area to visit the monastery, which they said contradicted previous agreements and assurances.
Community representatives said they never interfered with career development and filed a complaint with the Kachkanar City Court. Furthermore, they asked all supporters to write to the authorities and companies involved with the aim of stopping the demolition and saving the only Buddhist monastery in the Ural region.
On March 28, the community of Shedrup Ling posted a new appeal on Facebook, sharing that they were deeply saddened by the loss of their “child”. At the same time, they encouraged all friends and supporters to remember the law of cause and effect and not to insult or hurt other people.
Seeing these images of destruction, which are unfortunately so common in our daily lives, we are reminded not only of the law of cause and effect, but also of the ephemeral nature of samsara and the fact that, despite the destruction of Buddhist monuments and of sacred objects, as too often has happened in human history, the authentic faith in the Three Jewels of the Buddhist community can never be demolished.
* Evraz is a vertically integrated multinational steel and mining company incorporated in the UK and majority Russian owned.
Шедруб Линг (Shedrub Ling)
На Урале сносят единственный буддийский монастырь
“Нас туда не пускают”: на Урале начали сносить единственный буддистский монастыыр
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