Lords of the Rings star embraces Buddhism

by Nabanita Sircar, The Hindustan Times, December 6

London, UK -- Another Hollywood star Orlando Bloom is to become a Buddhist. The Lord of the Rings star, 27, took part in an hour long ceremony at a centre to commit himself to the faith, according to a Mirror report.

Orlando, who jealously guards his private life, joined 60 other fledgling Buddhists at the Soka Gakkai International Buddhist movement HQ at Taplow Court Mansion in Maidenhead, Berkshire. A visitor was cited: "He looked really happy. He looked comfortable and quite excited."

Bloom was presented with his Gohonzon, a scroll with Chinese and Sanskrit characters on it. Dressed in jeans, a camel coloured sweater and shirt, he accepted his scroll from centre director Ricky Baynes. An onlooker said: "He shook Ricky's hand like the other people getting their Gohonzons and looked calm."

"When everyone had theirs we all clapped and cheered. Afterwards we all had a cup of tea together and Orlando went to the gift shop. People were queuing up to get his autograph and have their picture take with him. He was very friendly and didn't seem to mind."

Orlando said his Gohonzon would take place of pride in his home. It is likely to be kept in a wooden shrine, surrounded by candles. He would chant the holy Japanese mantra nam-myoho-renge-kyo to the scroll twice a day. He must also read and recite two chapters from the Lotus Sutra holy scripture.

Orlando, who played elf Legolas in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, has never publicly spoken about his religious faith but has often been seen clutching Buddhist prayer beads.