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The first Estonian Buddhist Brotherhood
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In 1982, Vello Väärtnõu established the first Estonian Buddhist Brotherhood in Tallinn. He gathered around him a group of people who were interested in practical Buddhism. Under his guidance, the Brotherhood established a living and practical Buddhist and Nyingma tradition in Estonia.
Under socialism, it was forbidden by law to build cult objects (stupas, temples etc.), and translating and copying texts were very risky. Those who attempted to translate or copy risked being punished by the authorities. The same was true of practising Buddhism but, despite these limitations, the small community was very effective and skilful in its actions.
The establishment of the Brotherhood was only one step in Väärtnõu’s far-reaching plans, which included the creation of the Nyingma Monastery in Estonia, where an opportunity for Buddhist education was to be offered for the purpose of creating educated Buddhists in Estonia. The plan included sending people to study in Asia and bringing educated lamas and Buddhist scholars to Estonia.