Tributes have flooded in from all over the world after Rev Gyosei Handa the chief monk at the Buddhist Temple at Willen was tragically killed in a lawn mower accident yesterday (Tuesday).
The Rev Handa, aged 50, died at about 12.30pm while mowing the grass next to the Peace Pagoda in a tractor. The full details of the accident have not yet emerged.
Rev Handa was responsible for building the Buddhist Temple at Willen, which was completed in 2004. Dedicating his life to campaigning tirelessly for peace, he spent 12 months in the early 1980s walking across Asia to Japan.
He was also closely involved with bringing the Peace Pagoda to Milton Keynes, which was the first in the Western Hemisphere.
Rev Sister Yoshie Maruta, the chief nun at the temple who had known him for 30 years, said: "He was a really devoted man. He was never angry at anything. He was really compassionate. He was really dedicated to peace."
Dr Ajit De Silva added: "The one word I would use to describe him would be 'energy'. Where ever there was an peace activity anywhere in the world, from Russia to America, he would be there."
Buddhists from all over the world are due to visit the temple to pay tribute to Rev Handa.
* Picture copyright Doug Blane.
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* What a tragic loss for the world. Our thoughts and love are with Martua at this sad time.
We have had connections with Willen ( Stone Circle] and the Temple for several years, have attended some of the ceremonies, including the opening of the Temple, which was a great honour, and were pleased to be able to donate a quantity of ornamental trees to the temple in 2005.
Handa was a highly respected man, and his work and dedication were truly inspirational. His work here is done, and he leaves a huge legacy.
For and on behalf of the Outer Order of Druids (Exmoor] Steve Best, joint head of Order.
* Handa Shonin was a great man. Loved and respected. He gave constant support and strength to myself and my family through recent difficult times. I am eternally grateful to him. He will be deeply missed.