Buddhist Chaplain at Olympic Games
At the 2012 London Olympics, Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera of the London Buddhist Vihara will provide spiritual guidance to Buddhist athletes in Olympic Village at Olympic Park.
Appointed as Buddhist chaplain of this year’s Olympic games, Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera (born in the village of Bogoda) is the most senior Sri Lankan monk in the United Kingdom.
Many of the athletes visiting the Olympic Village Buddhist shrine come from traditionally Buddhist countries - Korea, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, and China. In a piece run by the BBC today, Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera points out, however, that not everyone who visits the shrine is Buddhist. No matter who finds their way to his shrine, Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera welcomes them all, discusses their problems, and suggests that they do a bit of meditation (which he says will help balance and relax their minds).
Speaking to the BBC, he said, “As they are under immense pressure, sometimes they are stressed due to their competitions, so following meditation technique, I do a chanting to confer blessings to them. My aim is to give them strength in their search of Olympic medals.”
Ven. Seelawimala Nayaka Thera is the only Buddhist monk in the Olympic Village. He was appointed as the Buddhist chaplain for the games in London after an arduous screening process. Expressing his gratitude for the appointment, he said, “I am very proud about that. As a monk, this is a great opportunity for me; being able to extend my religious services is a great privilege and opportunity for me. I am very fortunate.”
Speaking about his Olympics Chaplaincy appointment, Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala said, “I had already had a certain amount of experience as a hospital chaplain and I am not a newcomer to Chaplaincy services. I was also known to many members of the InterFaith Network, so my application to be appointed as a Buddhist chaplain was accepted.
I am looking forward to making a small contribution to the smooth and successful running of the Games and I consider this a great privilege and a rare opportunity to participate in this important global event. And I am sure it’s going to be an unforgettable experience, as well as an achievement, for me as a monk. As a Sri Lankan monk I am very honoured.
The Olympic Village is an amazing combination of imagination matched with technological skill. On 8th November last year I visited the Village with the Archbishop of Canterbury and other faith leaders.
Ven. Bogoda Seelawimala will conduct his spiritual and pastoral care from the allocated room for the Buddhists and conduct Mediation for the balance of mind. There will be separate rooms for each of the main world religions. And in the Buddhist room there will be a statue of Buddha brought from the London Buddhist Vihara, in addition to this,books and other information materials will be available to those who would want to find solace from the hustle and bustle of the Olympic arena.
London 2012 Olympics Faith Logo
Source: Buddhadharma News
Photo Credit: Buddhadharma News
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