RUSSIA FOR ITS FIRST BUDDHIST CULTURAL FESTIVAL

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MOSCOW, October 6 (RIA Novosti) - A maiden Russian festival of Buddhist culture will be held in Moscow, October 14 through 31, under the motto, "Tibet: Traditions, Art, Philosophy". Patronising the event is His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize winner. Organising the festival is Moscow's Tibetan House, established this year.

Russia is an excellent venue for the festival, with its three Buddhist autonomies-Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva, Elena Vrublevskaya, Tibetan House president, said to a RIA Novosti news conference that prefaced the event.

Founding fathers of the Tibetan House in New York City-movie star Richard Gere and Professor Robert Thurman of Columbia University-will be active in the Moscow festival. The professor's three lectures will give Muscovites a glimpse of Buddhist culture and customs, and the actor will address a news conference and offer a show of snapshots he has made.

Tibetan musicians will perform, and wood-carvers work in public. An astrologer will offer horoscopes and a physician his advice to anyone who likes.

The festival will concentrate on Tibetan figurative arts, while next year's on music and the theatre, and the next's on films about Tibet, say the organisers.

The festival will start a renascence of Russia's long-established contacts with Tibet, said Mr. Tashi, spokesman of the Dalai Lama in Russia and the other CIS countries. "I hope the Russian intellectual elite and public-at-large will have a chance to enjoy the cream of Tibetan culture," he added.

"The festival, I hope, will help each and every to regain peace in his soul, and promote the global peace cause," said Lobsang Tsering, monk of the Gyudmed monastery.

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