top of page

Comments from the world's top athletes, experts & media about Rev. Nio


Quotes from major national and international media outlets that covered the Pan Am & Parapan Am Games:


Nio has travelled the world studying Buddhist techniques. His practice combines Eastern philosophy with Western motivation. Nio also has given motivational speeches alongside the likes of Canadian Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Alexander, Finance Minister Joe Oliver, Defence Minister Jason Kenney and others. Quickly, the Pan Am Buddhist Chapel became the biggest attraction in the village and, despite the fact many of the countries have strong Catholic roots, several Latin American delegations sought Nio’s spiritual guidance.- The National Post

The Buddhist chaplain who helped guide athletes to medals at the PanAms helped to deliver six more medals at the Parapan Ams -Vancouver Sun

"Nio worked throughout... When the centre shut down at 11 p.m., he would coach athletes outside on benches until well past midnight." -

As was at the Pan Ams, Nio worked with many Latin American athletes. Again he showed his teachings can transcend any language." - CP 24 News

"Most of the athletes who participated in the Pan Am Games in Toronto have thanked a spiritual leader Zenji Nio for counselling which helped them bring laurels to their respective countries." - Mexico Star

"Zenji Nio teaches the same meditation techniques used by such American sport-stars as Kobe Bryant". - EFE America News Agency

A few more mentions...,7906212.html


Quotes from Sports Canada - the Official Sports Division of the Government of Canada that reviewed the Pan Am Games:


"Zen Nio is making an impact on the athletes that visit him beyond what I have ever experienced at a Games before". - Kristen Brawley.


"Hooray for Canada to be the first to do this - Zen is a beautiful calming spirit and the athletes are so lucky to have him." - Jen Allen.


"Gold Medal! Words cannot describe the change in energy, the palpable difference I felt. A phenomenal accomplishment! - Mary Daizen.


Quotes from Medical Professionals of the Poly Clinic at Pan Am Games:


"Wow - as a psychologist I know first hand what having the guidance to tune inwards can do for athletes. This meditation allows athletes to connect body, mind and soul in a manner that is rare and essential to good health and success! Thank you Zen!" Dr. Heather Wheeler, Humber River Hospital


"I was overwhelmed with a sense of calm and thought everyone at the Games could benefit from a visit to Zenji Nio" - Dr. D. Misener, Poly Clinic.


"A beautiful oasis for athletes - a wonderful reminder of balance not only in sport but in everyday life."- Dr. Jennifer Bryan, Toronto General Hospital


Quotes from the World's Top Athletes who participated in the Pan Am & Parapan Am Games:


"Working with Zen Nio has been a revelation. I've learned that medals with no soul have no value. Appreciation and gratitude are the way to grow in life - otherwise life itself will remind you, what it is to have nothing." - Demita Vega, Mexico


"I really enjoyed the experience and was with my team so I could see that everyone was enjoying it as well. It brought great balance to the team and we could see the results on the field. Everyone was focussed on the points Zen had made and so we shined together as a team. Zen was there cheering for us - it was like he was a part of the team. Zen never imposes religion on anyone but makes everyone very comfortable. Hopefully we can work together more because he helped me realize that as an athlete I really need to focus on the mental and spiritual aspects as well." Beatriz Futuro, Brazil.


"Working with Zen was a life-changing experience -- we will use his teachings in other Games too including the Olympics". Yael Castiglione, Argentina

(Along with her team-mates she recently took time from her busy schedule for a pilgrimage at the iconic Asakusa Kannon - the biggest temple in Tokyo).


"The contact I had with Buddismo in Vila Panamericana was very good for my performance and the group, I practice Buddhism and when I entered the room and saw those images of the Lotus Sutra, it only increased my faith and I gained more energy to play the Pan American Games. I know Zen as a very positive and genuine person and he introduced us to all images and their meanings. What I liked was that our entire team went to talk to Zen and this experience has only strengthened the group. Zen received us very well, and guided us on a visual meditation. I realized that it only gave more confidence to the group and in the end we all came out smiling and with a lighter feel, taking the weight off the competition and gaining more confidence, feeling strong to compete in search of a medal and by the grace of all our efforts, we won!" - Angelica Gevaerd, Brazil.


"Thank you very much Zen for your kindness and positive energy and for showing us how to meditate and bring out our better selves. This has been a wonderful experience for each of us" - Argentina Athletics Team (signed by the individual members).


"My experience with Buddhism was like a reunion with my origins - it brought back the memory of my paternal grandmother for whom Buddhism was a way of life. Buddhism inspired her to be strong like a warrior - a great example for me. Buddhism reunited us." - Paula Ishibashi, Brazil.


"Before the competition I was scared, I felt fear. But what Zen taught me will stay in my heart for all of my life. I won the gold and the bronze medals and am so grateful and appreciative - thanks Zen, thanks Parapan Am Organizers!" - Guilermo Da Costa, Brazil


"A very valuable experience - I will take these concepts to the Games - Fearlessness, Focus, Fulfillment!" - Isadora Camillo, Brazil.


"I was never into religion but the mantra Namo Amida Kannon that Zen taught me was so powerful, I cannot describe it". E. Maldonado, Venezuela.

("Namo Amida Kannon" is the simplified Japanese version of the Sanskrit "Namo Amitabhaya Arya Avalokiteshwara Swaha" taught at Nalanda - the world's first and oldest international university where students from both Europe and Asia studied both science and Buddhist spirituality).


"Zen teaches about Kannon and the basics about Buddhism and he taught us to be focused in our games and be present on the field. We learned the mantra ‘Namo Kannon’, which helped us be connected with something bigger than us. This power puts all the fear and negative thoughts behind and gave me confidence to do what I wanted to do in the field and be a winner." Juliana Dos Santos, Brazil.


Quotes from Staff and Professionals at the Pan Am & Parapan Am Games:


"Meeting Zen was like finding a piece that was missing - thank you for completing this part of me."  Esther Faskha, Head of Panama Olympics Ctty.


"Zen is admirable by his capability to make athletes find the best of themselves - guide their mind to find the most focused way to achieve their goal" - Adrien Gaillard, Coach for Team Mexico.


"Zen's museum was amazing and I certainly found it peaceful, thought provoking and energizing.  Meditating in his museum was the key part of my day when I was at the Panams. I slept only a few hours the first week as my Physio schedule was very demanding but I was never tired.  The Panam Buddhist Museum and the energy there was an anchor for me." - Maureen Ryan, Bsc (PT) Bsc (Kin), Physio Therapist of Team Bermuda.


"Guan Yin (Kannon) has always been our vision of the Almighty God and we deeply believe in His/ Her power - which always brings peace and harmony into our minds." - Lai Kong, Official with the Canadian Delegation


"A very enlightening experience! Zen is an amazing instructor - filled with positive energy! Namo Lokeshwara (Kannon)" - Chirayu Desa, Pan Am Games


"I believe all athletes can benefit from Zen's center both in and out of the competition - an amazing new place where religion and god and beliefs aren't judged but embraced. I feel more happy and positive just by being here". David Roger, Poly Clinic of Panam Am Games


"Zen's passion truly does inspire me to think more positively in my life and to surround myself with good people. I hope to have that good vibe and karma just like Zen does" - Deborae Geonzon, Panam Am Games

Samurai Center & Panam Buddhist Mission

bottom of page