Lidzhi Amikov, Building Stupas
Lidzhi talks about stupas and religious statues that he helped to build. Lidzhi built his first stupa in the village of Malye Derbety in 2002. He came to Buddhism via his mother who read mantras every day and had Buddhist images in their house. In 2001 when his mother passed away, Lidzhi asked a Tibetan lama Geshe Dugda what to do. The lama told Lidzhi to read prayers for 49 days in honor of his mother, light candles and continuously chant om mani padme khum. Lidzhi read this chant 10,000 times. The next year Lidzhi went to Elista to ask Geshe Dugda for a blessing to build a stupa. With the lama’s blessing secured, the stupa was built in a couple of months and opened during the traditional holiday of Zul. After that, Lidzhi built another stupa with Geshe Dugda’s consent and blessing. Lidzhi also participated in the building of a statue of the Kalmyk deity Tsagan Aav in Tsagan Nur. In his projects Lidzhi was helped by his sons. Lidzhi also recalls how he helped build a stupa in the village of Solyanka in Volgograd oblast’. In the past in that place stood the winter palace of the Kalmyk Prince Tseren-David Tundutov. The Prince was buried in that place. Today only a part of the foundation is left from the palace. Lidzhi was asked to help in the construction of the stupa dedicated to the Prince by Nina Sandzharykovna Ulanova, who is a relative of the famous Kalmyk writer Nomto Ochirov. Lidzhi and Nina met when they were on pilgrimage in India. In the beginning, Lidzhi could not understand why he was asked for help. Later he discovered that on his maternal side he was related to the Prince. Both the mother of the Prince and that of Lidzhi belong to Bargs arvn. It is a convention in Kalmykia that relatives should participate in the construction of a stupa that is dedicated to a common ancestor. The stupa in question was built quickly in a couple of months on donations from various people, including Russians who gave them building materials.