The Treasury of Lives

Datsan Gunzechoinei, a Geluk Buddhist temple located in St. Petersburg, Russia, was completed in 1915 (construction began in 1909). Agvan Dorjiev, the Russian-born Buryat diplomat and close confidant of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama spearheaded the construction of the Buddhist monastery and is considered its founder. Although the Russian Orthodox Church opposed construction, the Tsar approved the plan. The construction was sponsored by the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and the Eighth Khalkha Jetsundampa, as well as by donations from Buryat and Kalmyk laity. Although the temple was badly damaged and liquidated of its religious objects during the purges, it was re-established as an active Buddhist community in the late 1980's. His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama visited Gunzechoinei in 1987. 

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