24 March 08
Return the Building to the Cult Ministry
I am so glad to note that we have scored great achievement in human resource training both in the secular and Buddhist worlds. Indeed human resources from the Buddhist world have also been an important contribution for the construction of the country. The building of the Ministry of Cult and Religious Affairs was after the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 used by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. We have a group here that picked up the news from various radio channels and reported to the meeting of senior officials and to me personally. A leader without information/news could not perform one's duty. However what I wanted to say here is that because of efforts made in keeping the building in good shape that it has now been returned for cult affairs.
Buddhism - State Religion
It is worth noting that Buddhism in Cambodia has been left undeveloped and destroyed only a short period of time in the country's history - the Pol Pot's time. However, the Kings of Cambodia have always placed a significant importance on Buddhism, though it has in the past been blended with Brahmanism. On May 18, 1955, Samdech Preah Karuna Preah Baat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk ordered the construction of the College of Buddhism, which later becomes the University of Buddhism.
It is worth noting also that human resources from the Buddhist teaching curriculum also contributed for services in the secular world. Samdech Chea Sim, who at that time took over as head of the National Front from Samdech Heng Samrin, has been the one with all the merit in getting Buddhism and other religions on their feet again. Now the number of pagodas have increased and the stories behind could be anything ranging from need for pagoda closer to villages to individual conflict, which happened as always in our history. Conflicts among Buddhist monks are always the most difficult to resolve and I think it would be more practical if I stay neutral and urge for appropriate ways for solution headed by monks of all levels. However I wholeheartedly support the real need for the construction of pagoda and it is alarming that more pagodas are built while less number of monks has been recorded.
In my thesis on political science that I defended with success in 1991, I have a chapter about the role of religion in the management of society in relation to other aspects. All religions never teach human beings to do bad actions but to be good man. Knowledge without moral has been shown in the making of bombs for use in terrorizing so and so, and those who build atomic bombs, drugs, etc. are not illiterate.
Buddhism - Social Moral Education
In the name of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Supreme Patriarch Samdech Tep Vong and other senior monks of all hierarchical positions for their giving the attention to building up moral in our society and I have seen that efforts have been made to solve many issues in the process of final-stage reform, take for instance the development of hierarchical position for the Buddhist monks. We have indeed taken effective measures now to get this done.
I hope that those of the monks who finished their studies at the Buddhist Teaching College should go on to the Faculty level because they could learn sciences, technology and their studies would in anyway help the country in secular development world as well./.