Ivolginsky datsan

Ivolginsky datsan

Ivolginsky datsan ( _ru. Иволгинский Дацан) is the Buddhist Temple located in Buryatia 23 km from Ulan Ude, near Verkhnyaya Ivolga village.


The datsan was opened in 1945 as the only Buddhist spiritual centre of USSR. In the course of time the little "Khambin's sume" changed into the Monastic centre with a residence of Pandido Khambo lama, the leader of all Russian Lamas.

It was there that the residence of the Central Spiritual Buddhist Board of the Soviet Union (Buddhist Traditional Sangha of Russia has been located since 1995, as well as that of Pandido Khambo lama, the head of the Russian Buddhists. Spiritual activity of the datsan is manifested in temple rites, medical practice, Buddhist education traditional system. Buddhist university «Dashi Choinkhorling» was opened in 1991 attached to the datsan.

Treasures of culture

Wonderful samples of old Buryat art – picturesque thangkas, sculptures, ritual subjects are gathered and preserved in the Ivolginsky datsan. One of the monastery's treasures is a rare collection of old Buddhist manuscripts written in Tibetan language on natural silk and a greenhouse with a holly Bodskhva tree. Being a cultural and religion monument the Datsan is protected by the State. The Datsan Centre consists of such temples as Sockshin-gugan, Maidrin-sume, Devazhin and Sackhjusan-sume. There are also a library, hotel, the philosophic faculty - Choyra, building of the Buddhistic University - Dashy Choinhorlin, museum of monuments of Buryat art, sacred tumbs-suburgans, some service buildings and houses for lamas there.


In 1927, the 12th Pandito Hambo Lama of the Ivolginsky Datsan, Dashi-Dorzho Itigelov, told his students and fellow monks to bury his body after his death and to check on it again in 30 years. According to the story, Itigelov then sat in the lotus position, began chanting the prayer of death, and died, mid-meditation. The monks followed Itigilov's directions, but when they exhumed his body 30 years later, they were amazed to find none of the usual signs of decay and decomposition. On the contrary, Itigilov looked as if he had been dead only a few hours, rather than three decades. Fearful of the Soviet response to their "miracle", the monks reburied Itigilov's body in an unmarked grave.

Itigelov's story was not forgotten over the years and on 11 September of 2002 the body was finally exhumed and transferred to Ivolginsky Datsan where it was closely examined by monks and, which is now more important, by scientists and pathologists. The official statement was issued about the body – very well preserved, without any signs of decay, whole muscles and inner tissue, soft joints and skin. The interesting thing is that the body was never embalmed or mummified.

ee also

*Buddhist monasteries in Russia
*Buddhism in the Russian Federation

External links

* [http://culture.e-baikal.ru/forumeng/burcult Site of the Buruatian Ministry of Culture]
* [http://www.baikal.eastsib.ru/places/ivolginsky.html Ivolginsky datsan]
* [http://www.neplaneta.ru/hamba_lama.shtml Hambo Lama Itigelov]
* [http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=3,1756,0,0,1,0 Hambo Lama Itigelov at the Buddhist Channel]
* [http://www.datsan.buryatia.ru/ Official home page of the Ivolginsky datsan]

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