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Buddhist Monk Visits Charlottesville, Talks Compassion

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va (WVIR) -

A Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka is visiting Charlottesville this week to talk compassion and raise money for humanitarian projects around the world.

Unity of Charlottesville Church invited the special guest to share his knowledge and wisdom.

Central Virginia is one of the stops on Bhante Wimala's spiritual teaching tour across the country.

Besides speaking about Buddhist teachings, he is also working to bring relief to some of the hardest hit disaster areas overseas.

“When I arrived in certain areas, most of the islands are completely destroyed,” he said.

Wimala just returned from his second trip to the Philippines two weeks ago.

“There are thousands of families living in very difficult conditions - in tents, and some of these villages don't have toilets for example.”

Wimala spent 10 days in the disaster torn country, still recovering and rebuilding from the massive typhoon that hit last November.

“I arrive there and often I don't know what I will be doing,” he said. “But as I meet the families and interact with them and feel and sense them and see the conditions, whatever is presented to me is my project.”

In order to raise funds to support efforts like building homes, healthcare centers and public toilets, Wimala is hosting events in central Virginia with topics such as compassion.

“All my work is touch, feel, experience, be motivated and inspired by compassion and then the resources that you need will somehow flow in and that's almost like often miracles happen,” he said.

Unity of Charlottesville hosted a talk on the benefits of compassion and a seminar on the karmic connection Sunday.

“Unity is not just about tolerance, but really about acceptance, so we really encourage interfaith dialogue,” Reverend Don Lansky said. “We think that there is great wisdom and truth in all of these different spiritual traditions around the world.”

Wimala said, “We all need to learn to be less selfish and more selfless for the sake of our own happiness and spiritual and emotional well-being.”

Wimala will be leading events at the Unity of Charlottesville through Tuesday. He plans to travel back to the Philippines at the end of March.

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