Telo Tulku Rinpoche
Honorary Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Mongolia, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, President of Diluva Hutughtu Foundation in Mongolia

Telo Tulku Rinpoche (Erdne Basan Ombadykow) was born on 27 October 1972 to a Kalmyk immigrant family in the United States. As a 4-year-old boy, he expressed his wish to be a Buddhist monk. At the age of 6, in 1979, he got a chance to meet with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in New York, who recommended sending him to Drepung Gomang Monastery in India to get proper Monastic education as a Buddhist monk. He spent 13 years in Drepung Gomang studying Buddhist philosophy under the guidance of illustrious Tibetan Buddhist masters. In September 1980, while beginning his studies in the monastery, he was recognized by the Dalai Lama as a new reincarnation (tulku) of Telopa, a great Indian saint.

In 1991 as a young monk he came to his ancestors’ motherland, Kalmykia, in the Russian Federation. He was among the entourage members which accompanied the Dalai Lama during his first visit to Kalmyk Republic in the Russian Federation. Shortly afterwards, in 1992, Telo Rinpoche was elected as the Shadjin Lama (Head Lama) of Kalmykia by the Kalmyk people and was entrusted to lead the process of spiritual restoration of one of the three Buddhist regions in Russia, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. As the President of the Buddhist Union of Kalmykia, he has supervised and helped to rebuild and construct over 37 Buddhist temples and 120 stupas, including the main temple in the capital city, the Golden Abode of Buddha Shakyamuni, which is the biggest Buddhist temple in Russia and European territory. Telo Rinpoche’s efforts are about preserving the Kalmyk Buddhist mentality and culture along with basic secular human ethics like compassion, love, kindness and non-violence.

Over the years, he made special efforts to strengthen religious and cultural ties between traditional Buddhists in Russia and the Tibetan community led by the Dalai Lama. He continues served as the Shadjin Lama of Kalmyk Republic since being elected and successfully restored the pure tradition of Monastic community and have restored the trues Vinaya (Monks discipline) amongst the monks.

In Mongolia he is highly revered and in 2013 he established the Diluva Hutughtu Foundation in Mongolia in memory of his previous reincarnation and the Foundation is engaged in various education activities and translations of books and organizing various lectures, events to promote human values through Educating the heart and mind, Secular ethics and SEE Leaning as well as “Cognitive Based Compassion Training” Telo Rinpoche’s activities are directed towards the revival of Buddhism. His energy, purposefulness and goodwill help people understand and grasp the wisdom of Buddhist philosophy. Telo Tulku Rinpoche regularly gives teachings and talks for the general public and young people in Kalmykia, Moscow, Mongolia, India, USA and other countries His multiple articles and talks have been published in various academic journals.

Telo Tulku Rinpoche has initiated international events and projects that involve participation of scholars and monks not only from Russia, but from Mongolia, India, USA, Thailand, Sri Lanka etc. A number of events were organized together with representatives of the monastic community of various Buddhist countries and communities. Being the Shadjin Lama (Head Lama) of Kalmykia he makes a great contribution towards strengthening the intercultural and interfaith dialogue in the republic.

In 2014 Telo Tulku Rinpoche was appointed as the new Honorary Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Russia, Mongolia and CIS countries at the Tibet Culture & Information Centre (Office of Tibet) in Moscow, Russia. After serving 6 years as Honorary representative of H.H. the Dalai Lama, he was reappointed for another term of 4 years in 2021.

In January 2023, he resigned from his position as the religious head of the Buddhists in Kalmykia after the Russian government’s listed him as a “foreign agent”, likely as a result of his speaking out against Russia’s war in Ukraine, but he continues working as the envoy of the Dalai Lama to Russia from abroad.

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