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On Wednesday the Royal Hospital School welcomed Buddhist Monk, Chewang Guru, and Hindu religious teacher, Pundit Ji, who came to talk to pupils on the topic of ‘Religion and Conflict‘. Both work as spiritual teachers in the British Armed Forces providing support and guidance for troops. They gave talks to the Sixth Form but also ran more informal sessions with a group of Year 8 pupils.

Chewang Guru

Chewang Guru became the first Buddhist Spiritual Teacher attached to the UK Ministry of Defence in 2007. Before gaining this position, he trained at the Shechen Monastery from the age of nine and went on to be appointed a teacher eventually awarded with the certificate of ‘Holder of Definitive Teachings’ (the equivalent to an MA) and PhD in the teachings of Buddhist Doctrine.

During his time with the MoD, he has travelled and given spiritual guidence to the Armed Forces in various Battalions and Regiments, Companies and Squadron’s. This has included travelling to Afghanistan in 2010 to promote mutual understanding and harmony within the multi-faith environment. As a result of his contribution to the MoD, HRH Prince Charles honoured his work with the Appreciation Medal on 28 January 2011.

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Chewang Guru with Year 8

Pundit Ji

Pundit Ji was appointed as a Nepalese Hindu Religious Teacher for the Brigade of Gurkhas in 2007. Since this appointment he has served tirelessly in providing spiritual, pastoral care and moral support for Gurkha soliders, their families and local communities. Throughout his life he has worked as a university lecturer in Anthropology and has carried out research into the celebration of Gurkha religious festivals by immigrant Nepalese.

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Pundit Ji talking to Year 12 on Hindu beliefs and his role in the MoD

Teacher of Religious Studies, Charlotte Anderson, said “It was an honour to welcome these spiritual and knowledgeable men to the Royal Hospital School. Their talks were fascinating and prompted interesting discussion into the nature of religion within modern society. We thank them for their time and enlightenment”.