Rev. Zenji Nio,
Humanitarian, philanthropist, motivational orator, Buddhist expert
Dubbed by Times of India as "an eminent international-level thinker and the only contemporary expert from the oldest lineage of Buddha" and by Emmy-winner Charles Adler of Global News as "the only North American ever to be knighted as a genuine Samurai... and one of the most inspiring speakers we've ever come across", Zenji Nio is the only person ever to represent the Samurai Buddhist heritage at the world's top forums -- from the Olympics & Paralympic Games (where he served as Spiritual and Motivational coach to a record number of medalists) and US Congress -- to Israel's highest awards ceremony - "Righteous Among the Nations" and the world-famous Simon Wiesenthal Center (where Nio led the first ever Multifaith Commemoration of the Holocaust). Nio has also received commendation messages from Ambassadors, Diplomats, Major Generals and Cabinet Ministers of Japan, Canada, USA and India as well as been invited for meetings with Prime Ministers, and senior advisors to Presidents Obama and Clinton among others. His Indo-Japan Samurai Center is the fulfillment of a dream of Nobel-laureate Rabindranath Tagore and Japanese scholar Okakura Kakuzo.
Hailed as "a spiritual rock-star" by India's Foreign Secretary Akhilesh Mishra and as "an orator who gives you goosebumps" by Indian Ambassador Dinesh Bhatia, Nio was also awarded the "Eminent Buddhist Thinker" award by Nagpur University and became the only Western-born Indian to speak at Deekshabhumi before millions at an event organized by India and Japan with senior representatives from all Buddhist nations. Nio is also the only Indian-origin person to lecture to every Buddhist nation, and alongside the world's top experts - from Oxford and Harvard to the world-famous Shaolin Temple of China and Royal family of Thailand. Hitavada newspaper profiled Nio alongside Harvard Professor of Buddhism as "a world-renowned expert in Japanese Buddhism who travels the world promoting peace - when he speaks, the world listens" and a UN report called Nio a "major Buddhist figure" and "authentic voice for Buddhist majorities of Japan and Asian Tiger Nations". Nio is also one of the only Buddhist experts in the world who recites, from memory, the original Buddhist texts of India in Sanskrit, and is familiar with the extinct Indian script of Siddham that is revered in Japan. As a result, he has also received rave reviews for lectures at most of the major Hindu organizations and charities of North America.
As Okakura Tenshin was also the Head of Japanese and Buddhist Art at the prestigious Museum of Fine Arts, Nio organized and curated what the media dubbed "Canada's biggest ever Asian art exhibit" -- sponsored by the Government of Canada and inaugurated by India's Ambassador Akhilesh Mishra and Canada's Minister of Immigration & Citizenship -- and praised by the Lt. Governor on behalf of the Queen, a Parliamentary Committee and Japanese diplomats. Nio's Samurai Museum & Temple at the Toronto Panam & Parapan Am Games -- the biggest sporting event ever held in the Americas -- was dubbed by the National Post as "the biggest attraction in the Athlete's Village" and Nio was called "the most sought-after chaplain". Nio is thus launching the world's first Samurai Buddhist Museum and Temple to feature rare artifacts and artworks from various Samurai Buddhist saints, as well as all Buddhist civilizations from Gandhara to Japan -- and he has also lectured at the National Museum of India.
Nio's inspirational speeches have been praised by numerous Cabinet Ministers, Mayors, Padma Winners and Diplomats -- and he has been profiled by a UN-linked charity as "India's only ever Samurai" alongside Indian luminaries from Olympic medalists to Bollywood superstars. He has used his unique platform to help raise millions for India's poorest children, and is also in talks with experts from NASA's famed Apollo 13 Mission on ways to address India's Water Crisis. In addition, Nio has also served as the Buddhist Expert for various bodies and councils for the Government of Canada -- including the RCMP and Ministry of Justice. He is presently organizing the biggest online Conference to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji - an enduring symbol of Indo-Japan Friendship that PM Modi & PM Abe called "the world's most important alliance"