ULAN-UDE: As I walked around the Buddhist spiritual center Datsan outside Ulan-Ude, I saw a dozen or so students.
Ochar, 16, stuck out though. He was the only one with Slavic features. He said his father was Russian and his mother Buryat.
I asked how he chose to study at the Buddhist university. He said when he was 14, he helped out at a celebration at Datsan and really liked the atmosphere. I asked him how his parents reacted to his decision.
“At first, my parents were against the idea. They wanted me to study at another place. But I stood my ground.” Ochar said he is in his first year of an eight-year Buddhist philosophy program.