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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Amoghavajra returns to China - and the Paralympics

Amoghavajra, new chairman of the FWBO's Ipswich Buddhist Centre, has for many years been an enthusiastic practitioner of wheelchair basketball. Besides playing, he is also an ‘international classifier’, or grader, of wheelchair basketball players and an adjudicator on the sensitive questions of how to classify players with varying degrees of disability.

As a result of this he has been invited to China to classify players in the Basketball Paralympics - an event that has, for the hopeful competitors, been many years in the planning. Amoghavajra is especially excited to be going to China because of her ancient connections with his namesake, the Indian Buddhist monk Amoghavajra. “At last Amoghavajra is returning to China”, he says…! He goes on to say -

“I'm at Manchester at the moment classifying for the Paralympic World Cup - it's going very well although a huge culture shift from last week at Padmaloka on sadhana retreat!!

“I did consider the possibility of not taking up the invite but bringing to mind the hugely positive impact on disabled people in China I decided that I would definitely accept. Chine has not devoted many financial resources to assisting its disabled people but by hosting the Olympics part of the deal is to also host the Paralympics. This means that they have to back their disabled athlete programmes and provide them with direct support but maybe more importantly with wheelchair accessible social infrastructure that benefit a much wider range of disabled people - thereby benefiting many people”.

After the Paralympics he hopes to spend some time visiting China's ancient Buddhist sites - a personal journey that will undoubtedly be a test of China's disability-friendliness away from the Olympic spotlights.

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