Posted by: John Chadwick | April 30, 2011

Folk Festival Welcomes Tibetan Buddhist Community and its Leader

Folk Festival Honors the People of Kalmykia

Buddhists from the Republic of Kalmykia greet American Buddhists Joshua and Diana Cutler at the New Jersey Folk Festival.

For Telo Tulku Rinpoche, a golden-robed Buddhist lama, Rutgers Day 2011 provided a key moment of recognition for his people – the Buddhist community of Kalmykia, an autonomous Russian republic on the western shore of the Caspian Sea.

The New Jersey Folk Festival on the Cook/Douglass Campus honored the culture of the Kalmyks, who are the descendants of tribes that migrated to Europe during the early part of the 17th century.  Kalmykia is the only European nation to of Mongolian origin and the only one whose national religion is Buddhism.

There is a Kalmyk Diaspora community in New Jersey with about 3,000 people.

“Having this festival dedicated to the Kalmyk people, we overcome many barriers and misunderstandings about one’s culture, identity and tradition,” said Tulku, the spiritual leader of the Kalmyks. “Being here today,  we present our culture, our beliefs and tradition. The more that people absorb, the more we have understanding.

“And with understanding comes respect.”

The festival featured Kalmyk dance troupes, crafts, and a presentation that showed what an old shrine in the Kalmyk culture would look like.


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