17 December 07
MY wife and I are so pleased that we join you all in celebrating this "Longevity Ceremony" for SPDL Luos Lay who turns 93 years old and enters his 94 years today. I would take this time to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to SPDL Luos Lay for his acceptance to take today as his anniversary and not the exact date of September 06 (1914) because of busy schedules. In 2004, we also missed his anniversary date because of tense schedule as well. Again with the communication helps facilitated by HE Pen Siman, SPDL Luos Lay agreed to move his anniversary date to today.
I would like to take this opportune moment to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to his pupils and followers in putting together a good program according to the Buddhist norm. I am so pleased that Samdech Supreme Patriarchs of the two Buddhist sects have taken their presences in this important event. This clearly shows the strong solidarity of Buddhism in Cambodia - Maha Nikaya and Dharmayuth. We wish on this joyous occasion longevity for SPDL Luos Lay so that he continues to see the Buddhist development in the country in particular and the national development as a whole.
HE Mayor of Phnom Penh Kep Chuktema has read already SPDL's brief biography and according to the compilation Samdech spent 82 out of 94 years for the Buddhist development. SPDL shared the ill-fate of Buddhism under the Khmer Rouge regime like other Buddhist monks throughout Cambodia. After disrobing him, the Polpotists attempted to take his life twice but every time there was always something to help evade the ill-fate.
You may know that there are many Cambodians whose lives have been saved because of this unexpected event. Thanks to the rapid offence by the liberation forces (National United Front for Salvation of Kampuchea - NUFSK) and the uprising of the Cambodian people against the Pol Pot's regime, the planned murder of Cambodian population was foiled. My wife also was facing similar situation because at that time Ke Pork (one of the KHmer Rouge's Commander) in the Northern region already ordered to take the people (my wife included) by ferry in that region to a prepared killing field. She survived because she asked to be on the second journey for our son had a pain in his ear. She then escaped.
Now we survive and after our senior Buddhist monks had all been killed, SPDL Luos Lay has been working hard and actively in the re-building of Buddhism. He takes up once again the life of a Buddhist monk. We are glad that the Buddhist development has been in full swing as we now have up to 60,000 monks throughout the country and there are 4,000 Buddhist wats/pagodas too.
The Buddhist followers and disciples have today come joining together in making this program possible and I would also like to take note that the event is so honorable to have the presence of Buddhist hierarchy of all levels. In one of the meetings I had with SPDL I was so enlightened by his broad wisdom of establishing an assembly of Buddhist disciples. SPDL is one of the Buddhist disciples who has survived through many reigns of head monks - Samdech Chuon Nat, Samdech Huot Tat, etc. This brilliant wisdom has always been with me as it helps formalize various procedural issues leading to management and sustaining our Buddhism.
I may recall that in the Longevity Ceremony that was organized in honor of Samdech Preah Moha Sangharaja Tep Vong, we were unanimous to build a corridor road at Sihanoukville. The road is named after Samdech Preah Moha Sangharaja Tep Vong. On this auspicious occasion I would like to share with all of us that we will have a new Buddhist temple built thanks to the contribution made by various disciples at this time - 243,200 US dollars and 105,350,000 Riels. I would ask HE Pen Siman to take up this matter which also includes road and drainage system improvement.
Taking this moment I would take the time to make one thing clear. There has been an inappropriate remark made by ill-willed politicians that "as the Government has been given a lot of money by foreign countries, they should not give our people between 10 and 20 kg of rice like this." It is our tradition that when someone goes to meet people in rural area they always bring with them something for them - for instance rice, sarong (a piece of cloth used to wear around the bottom half of the body) and sometimes a scarf (a piece of cloth that is handy in covering any part of the body - from the sunlight, etc).
They blamed us for making merit to the poor. I think those who obstruct these offers in good faith would face bad karma./.