Iran’s constitution recognizes Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian beliefs alongside the official state religion of Islam, and says that in general, the rights of non-Muslims should be respected. Courtesy Buddhadharma
Siem Reap, Cambodia— At first glance, the life of a Cambodian Buddhist monk does not differ much from the life of an ordinary person. They sleep, eat, shower, talk, and laugh just like anyone else.
Courtesy the Jakarta Post
But the orange robes signify that these people are dedicating their lives to meditation.
About 130 mostly young monks live in Wat Bo, a pagoda in the heart of Cambodia’s temple city, Siem Reap.
The monastery requires them to shave their heads at age 3, but the lifestyle is attractive for children from poor families because of the opportunity to eat adequately and have the chance to study.
Among the monks is Piseth, a novice who since childhood has dreamed of being able to help his family.
“I became a monk because I was poor,” he said. “I know that someday I will return to a normal life. I dream about teaching Buddhism and English to children who, like me, have been led to become monks because of poverty.”
Piseth’s day begins at four in the morning to the rhythm of a drum announcing the start of a new day. After a quick shower, he and the others walk barefoot through the streets of Siem Reap in search of food offerings to help alleviate their hunger.
In silence, the Cambodian monks walk up to two hours per day carrying a silver bowl, where the predominantly Buddhist population deposit their offerings.
The adversity of this daily journey is evident in the monks’ cracked feet, which are washed with joy on return to the monastery before breakfast.
The cornerstones of Cambodian Buddhism are bonzes (monks) and wats (spiritual centers).
In the late 1950s, some 100,000 of a total population of 5 million were monks. This very high rate was largely due to the ease with which children could enter and leave the sangha (Buddhist community).
Becoming a monk and leaving the sangha are matters of individual choice, although in theory all Cambodian males over 16 should serve as monks for a period.
The majority of young people do not intend to become ordained lifetime monks ( bhikkhu ) and normally participate in the sangha for less than a year. Even if it is temporary, for the families it is a source of pride to have a child monk.
There are two classes of bonzes at a wat — the novices ( samani or nen ) and the bhikkhu.
It is in the wats that the daily life of a monk is developed.
In Wat Bo, the mornings and afternoons are dedicated almost entirely to studying. Subjects such as math, English and the teachings of Buddha make up the curriculum in monk schools.
Out of all their subjects, English is preferred by most, Piseth confesses, although they do not have many opportunities to practice it.
“I speak a little bit of English but can rarely practice it,” said Heng Bunchea, 38, another monk of Wat Bo.
“Many tourists come to take pictures when we pray or when we rest at the pagoda, but very few sit down to talk to us and if we don’t talk to them, we will not be able to improve our English.”
The continuous daily study is disrupted only by the hour dedicated to eating the last meal of the day.
This is one of the five precepts of the Buddhist monastic asceticism, which also includes not participating in any form of entertainment like singing, dancing or watching TV, using personal ornaments, sleeping in a luxurious bed or carrying money.
As the hours pass under the scorching Cambodian sun, shadows of the trees that cover Wat Bo serve as makeshift schools where several groups of novices speak about the Buddhist teachings they have learned during the morning class.
Suddenly, the sound of the drum breaks the tranquility and it is time to pray in the temple.
Little by little, all the monks who live in Wat Bo arrive at one of the temples located on the eastern side of the monastery. One by one they stand in position with their feet facing the direction opposite the large Golden Buddha statue that dominates the interior of the temple.
Between flashes of the cameras of tourists, the youthful voices create an almost magical atmosphere.
“Our sutras are dedicated to Buddha, to the Dharma and to the sangha,” Heng Bunchea explained.
On one side of the temple, several women in white robes with shaved heads are following the chants with deep devotion. Although making contact with the monks is forbidden for women, their role in the monastery is fundamental.
Adult women, especially widows, live in the wat and play an important role in the daily life of the temple.
They generally observe the same rules as the monks and prepare the altars among other tasks in order to guarantee the perfect functioning of everyday life in the small wat.
The night soon begins to fall over Siem Reap. The sky seems to honor the diligent human monks with their shaved heads and their robes in the colors of the sunset.
“I do not understand why countries go to war, why people kill other people, or why they go crazy for money,” Heng said. “But I do know that this happens in the world we live in, so I dream one day to see the world enjoying santepheap [peace].” Courtesy the Jakarta Post
Richard Gere says his Buddhist faith is at the centre of everything he does and every decision he makes in his life.
The Hollywood actor is a firm believer in the Asian religion, which focuses on personal spiritual development, and says it is the guiding force that surrounds everything he does.
Hollwood actor Richard Gere. Courtesy Skynews
He explained: ‘It’s relevant to everything I do. Buddhism is the camel of my life. It’s there everywhere. I don’t think you have to be Buddhist to get it, quite honestly. I’m more interested in secular ethics, about what we all have in common. What is good? What is happiness? What is our duty to ourselves?’
The ‘Arbitrage’ star is happily married to former model Carey Lowell – with whom he has a 12-year-old son, Homer – but, at 63, he still doesn’t think he has reached sexual maturity.
Gere still has strong erotic urges and he channels of all this energy into his marriage to Carey, 52, but he tries to control it because Buddhism teaches that desire causes suffering.
In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, he said: ‘I haven’t quite got there myself. You don’t want to lose that energy but there’s an unseemliness at a certain age when you’re run by it, when you’re not in control, that’s really kind of foul.
‘That’s what we have to look at. How can I use desire in such a way that I might be proud of it at the end of my life? There is a way but you have to work at it. At some future date I will be there.’ Courtesy Skynews
The Cambodian constitution states that [Theravada] Buddhism is the religion of the state. In chapter 1, article 4, the motto of the Kingdom of Cambodia is: ” Nation, Religion, King.” In chapter 3, article 43, section 3, Buddhism shall be t he State religion.
<<A bowl of rice – no greed. Greed is one of the main factors that causes suffering in Cambodia and the Cambodian communities.
The Middle Way or Middle Path (Pali: majjhimā paṭipadā; Sanskrit: madhyamā-pratipad is the term that Siddhartha Gautama used to describe the character of the path he discovered that leads to liberation.
In the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism, the expression Middle Way is used by the Buddha in his first discourse (the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta) to describe the Noble Eightfold Path as a path between the extremes of austerities and sensual indulgence.
Later Pali literature has also used the phrase Middle Way to refer to the Buddha’s teaching of dependent origination as a view between the extremes of eternalism and annihilationism.
Noble Eightfold Path The term Middle Way was used in the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, the first teaching that the Buddha delivered after his awakening.[c] In this sutta the Buddha describes the middle way as a path of moderation, between the extremes of sensual indulgence and self-mortification. This, according to him, was the path of wisdom.
Monks, these two extremes ought not to be practiced by one who has gone forth from the household life. (What are the two?) There is addiction to indulgence of sense-pleasures, which is low, coarse, the way of ordinary people, unworthy, and unprofitable; and there is addiction to self-mortification, which is painful, unworthy, and unprofitable.
Avoiding both these extremes, the Tathagata (the Perfect One) has realized the Middle Path; it gives vision, gives knowledge, and leads to calm, to insight, to enlightenment and to Nibbana. And what is that Middle Path realized by the Tathagata…? It is the Noble Eightfold path, and nothing else, namely: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.
According to the scriptural account, when the Buddha delivered the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, he was addressing five ascetics with whom he had previously practiced severe austerities.[d] Thus, it is this personal context as well as the broader context of Indian shramanic practices that gives particular relevancy to the caveat against the extreme (Pali: antā) of self-mortification (Pali: atta-kilamatha).
Photo courtesy phramick.wordpress
Dependent Origination Dependent Origination (Pratītyasamutpāda) describes the existence of objects and phenomena as the result of causes. When one of these causes changes or disappears, the resulting object or phenomena will also change or disappear, as will the objects or phenomena depending on the changing object or phenomena. Thus, there is nothing with an eternal self or atman, only mutually dependent origination and existence.
But the absence of an eternal atman does not mean there is no-thing at all. Early Buddhism adheres to a realistic approach which does not deny existence as such, but denies the existence of eternal and independent substances. This view is the Middle Way between eternalism and annihilationism:
The understanding that sees a ‘person’ as subsisting in the causal connectedness of dependent arising is often presented in Buddhist thought as ‘the middle’ (madhyama/majjhima) between the views of ‘eternalism’ (śaśvata-/sassata-vāda) and ‘annihilationism’ (uccheda-vāda).
Anatman Dependent origination views human persons too as devoid of a personal essence or atman. In Theravadan literature, this usage of the term “Middle Way” can be found in 5th century CE Pali commentaries:
The Tathāgata teaches the Dhamma by the middle without veering to either of these extremes – eternalism or annihilationism – having abandoned them without reservation. He teaches while being established in the middle way. What is that Dhamma? By the formula of dependent origination, the effect is shown to occur through the cause and to cease with the cessation of the cause, but no agent or experiencer […] is described.
In the Visuddhimagga the following is found : ‘Dependent origination’ (paticca-samuppada) represents the middle way, which rejects the doctrines, ‘He who acts is he who reaps’ and ‘One acts while another reaps’ (S.ii.20) …”
In the Pali Canon itself, this view is not explicitly called the “Middle Way” but is literally referred to as “teaching by the middle” (majjhena dhamma).
Rebirth Conditioned arising also gives a rationale for rebirth:
Conditioned Arising is […] a ‘Middle Way’ which avoids the extremes of ‘eternalism’ and ‘annihilationism’: the survival of an eternal self, or the total annihilation of a person at death.
In Theravada Buddhist soteriology, there is neither a permanent self nor complete annihilation of the ‘person’ at death; there is only the arising and ceasing of causally related phenomena.
លោក ចាន់ ស៊ី ខ្មែរស្នេហាជាតិ? Chan Sy was born in B.E.2475, A.D.1932 in Kampong Chhnang Province, Cambodia during the French colonial eras.
Chan Sy or Chan Si. Photo courtesy Chham Channy, Khmerization
He joined the Khmer Viet Minh forces in 1950s B.E.2493?, left Cambodia in BE.2497 A.D.1954 after the Geneva Conference that recognized Prince Norodom Sihanouk’s government as the sole legitimate authority in independent Cambodia. A member of the Communist Party from B.E.2503 A.D.1960, Chan Sy was believed to have returned to Cambodia in B.E.2513 A.D.1970 after the coup that ousted Prince Sihanouk and placed the pro-U.S. Lon Nol in power.Chan Sy, who was opposed to ultra-nationalist Pol Pot, by whose partisans he was detained in B.E.2516 A.D.1973 and disappeared. He reappeared on the scene in B.E.2521 A.D.1978, with the forces of the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation, FUNKS, and with the Vietnamese that toppled the murderous Khmer Rouge regime in B.E.2522 A.D.1979.
After some months of military training in the Soviet Union, in B.E.2523 A.D.1980 he was appointed deputy defense minister and following year defense minister and vice-president of the Council of Ministers; the same year he also became a member of the Politburo of the Kampuchean People’s Revolutionary Party, KPRP.
When Pen Sovann was replaced as party secretary-general by Heng Samrin, Chan Sy took over the premiership. Considered a steadfast adherent to Vietnam’s Kampuchean policy, Chan Sy had made visits to Bulgaria and East Germany as well as to the U.S.S.R. In the Nation Assembly he represented his native province.
Chan Sy died in a Moscow hospital, the U.S.S.R., where he was being treated for a cardiac ailment, in December B.E.2527, A.D.1984. His death was reported by the Vietnamese information agency on December 31, B.E.2527, A.D.1984; he was believed to have died some days earlier. Courtesy Britannica Book of the Year 1985 (B.E.2528)
He died at age 52 by a lethal injection by the former Soviet Union’s agent or the Vietnamese (Op-Ed templenews.org).
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that Pacific Buddhist Academy — the only Jōdo Shinshū Buddhist high school in the United States — is now under new leadership. Rob Cody, who is currently the principal of Northbridge International School Cambodia in Phnom Penh, will replace Pieper Toyama, who helped found the school and will be retiring when the transition takes place in June.
The private, co-ed, accredited Pacific Buddhist Academy was founded in 2003 and is open to all, regardless of faith. It “offers a curriculum designed to foster Buddhist values of gratitude, compassion and respect for each individual, rather than the typical educational model focused on high-pressure tests.” You can learn more about them at www.pacificbuddhistacademy.org. Courtesy BuddhaDharma
អាចម៏ផ្កាយមួយប្រវែង៤៥ម៉ែត្ររំកិលមកកៀកផែនដីជាង២ម៉ឺនគីឡូម៉ែត្រ Buildings were damaged and more than 400 people suffered injuries, most of them minor, when chunks of space rock plummeted into the Russian Urals this morning. NBC’s Duncan Golestani reports.
Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest service. This type of government corruption is often achieved by the embezzlement of state funds.
Kleptocracies are generally associated with corrupt forms of authoritarian governments, particularly dictatorships, oligarchies, military juntas, or some other forms of autocratic and nepotist government in which no outside oversight is possible, due to the ability of the kleptocrat(s) to personally control both the supply of public funds and the means of determining their disbursal. Kleptocratic rulers typically treat their country’s treasury as though it were their own personal bank account, spending the funds on luxury goods as they see fit. Many kleptocratic rulers also secretly transfer public funds into secret personal numbered bank accounts in foreign countries in order to provide them with continued luxury if/when they are eventually removed from power and forced to leave the country.
Kleptocracy is most common in developing countries. Such incomes constitute a form of economic rent and are therefore easier to siphon off without causing the income itself to decrease (for example, due to capital flight as investors pull out to escape the high taxes levied by the kleptocrats).
Does this exist in the United States? Yes – the U.S. legal system has had success in eliminating mafia and other crimes. Stealing is against one of the five Buddhist precepts. Cambodia’s motto is Nation, Buddhism, and King.
All religions have some basic rules that define what is good conduct and what kind of conduct should be avoided. In Buddhism, the most important rules are the Five Precepts. These have been passed down from the Buddha himself.
1. No killing Respect for life
2. No stealing Respect for others’ property
3. No sexual misconduct Respect for our pure nature
4. No lying Respect for honesty
5. No intoxicants Respect for a clear mind Image courtesy Ly Kuch, text courtesy wikipedia
Donors Should Demand Free Speech, Independence for Legal Profession
Just when you thought the Cambodian government couldn’t think of any new ways to try to muzzle critics, it has imposed an election-year ban on lawyers giving radio and television interviews. This ban dramatically demonstrates the government’s aim to control the media and the legal profession, but more broadly makes a mockery of free speech in a democratic society. Brad Adams, Asia director
(New York) – The Cambodian government and bar association should drop their efforts to prohibit lawyers from giving media interviews without the permission of the national bar association, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 8, 2013, Information Minister Khieu Kanharith made public a January 31 instruction to radio and television stations not to invite lawyers to appear on programs without the approval of the Cambodian Bar Association.
International donors should quickly and publicly press the Cambodian government to reverse its latest move against freedom of expression.
“Just when you thought the Cambodian government couldn’t think of any new ways to try to muzzle critics, it has imposed an election-year ban on lawyers giving radio and television interviews,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “This ban dramatically demonstrates the government’s aim to control the media and the legal profession, but more broadly makes a mockery of free speech in a democratic society.”
The January 31 instruction notes that many radio and television stations have invited lawyers to appear on their programs to interpret and explain the law to the public, and to comment on government policies for legal and judicial reform.
It then says: “To avoid the negative consequences upon the people of such legal dissemination programming and to ensure that such dissemination has good consequences, the Ministry of Information instructs all radio and television stations that all invitations to lawyers and other legal professionals to speak as interpreters of the law must be invited via the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia.”
This instruction was coupled with a “letter of warning” from the Cambodian Bar Association, also dated January 31, which says that “from now on, lawyers must not give interviews or otherwise disseminate information related to their profession as lawyers via any media whatsoever without the authorization of the Bar.” The bar’s order would effectively prevent lawyers from making any statement through the print media as well as broadcast media without the bar’s approval.
The actions of the Information Ministry and the Cambodian Bar Association appear designed to prevent criticism of Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). Many lawyers have become outspoken critics of the government and courts, which are frequently used to imprison or intimidate critics.
Opposition political party figures, critics of the government, and those resisting CPP-backed abuses, such as land-grabbing, have been increasingly subjected in recent years to groundless prosecutions, judicial investigations, and unfair trials leading to wrongful convictions and prison sentences.
Under the new rules, lawyers will not be allowed to give unapproved media interviews on subjects such as the use of the judiciary against political opponents. Among them are the opposition leader Sam Rainsy, who is in self-imposed exile to avoid a politically motivated conviction, and Mom Sonando, the owner of a radio station that once gave much airtime to critical legal programming. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison on false charges of fomenting a supposed armed insurrection.
The rules are also likely to discourage lawyers from using the media to assert the legal rights of groups such as the estimated 700,000 Cambodians who have been adversely affected by land-grabbing.
The new instructions seem particularly aimed at lawyers working for Cambodian human rights organizations. Hun Sen and senior government officials have frequently attacked domestic human rights groups, accusing them of being members of the political opposition or of causing instability after they have documented government violations. The United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers provide that: “Lawyers like other citizens are entitled to freedom of expression, belief, association and assembly. In particular, they shall have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice and the promotion and protection of human rights…without suffering professional restrictions by reason of their lawful action.”
“The government treats critics as enemies of the state, but to provide effective representation, lawyers often need to speak out against government policies and practices that violate human rights,” Adams said. “The new censorship regime of the government and bar association attempts to gag some of the most effective and professional government critics.”
The Cambodian Bar Association was re-established in 1995 for the first time since the Khmer Rouge period, 1975 to 1979. By statute the legal profession is supposed to be “an independent and autonomous profession involved in serving justice.” However, the bar association has been under de facto CPP control since 2004, when the party engineered an election of the bar president by overturning the victory of an independent candidate and installing a CPP-approved figure in his place.
This hotly contested election was part of a successful CPP maneuver to increase its control over Cambodia’s legal institutions at the direction of Deputy Prime Minister Sok An. Hun Sen and other party figures were later admitted as members of the bar association, despite their lack of legal education and qualifications.
The current bar association president, Bun Hon, is a former CPP appointee as undersecretary of state at the Justice Ministry who has spoken out in favor of Hun Sen’s political leadership. Sok An strongly backed Bun Hon’s election as president of the bar association and presided at his installation ceremony in November 2012. Bun Hon reportedly continues to serve as a member of the Council of Jurists at the Council of Ministers, which reports to Sok An and Hun Sen.
“Donor countries have spent a lot of time and money trying to develop an independent and professional legal profession, which had been destroyed during the Khmer Rouge years,” Adams said. “Particularly in an election year, donors need to speak out loud and clear about this attack on the independence of lawyers and free speech. They would never tolerate this kind of restriction in their own countries, and shouldn’t accept it in Cambodia, either.” Courtesy HRW
Donors Should Demand Free Speech, Independence for Legal Profession
Just when you thought the Cambodian government couldn’t think of any new ways to try to muzzle critics, it has imposed an election-year ban on lawyers giving radio and television interviews. This ban dramatically demonstrates the government’s aim to control the media and the legal profession, but more broadly makes a mockery of free speech in a democratic society, Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch Asia Director
As a Khmer citizen I feel ashamed that Khmer civil servants, policemen and soldiers have to beg money from shady tycoons in order to survive. I do not blame you. I blame the Hun Sen government who does not treat you with the respect you deserve. This corrupt government sells our country and our lands to private companies led by business crooks who plunder our national riches and exploit our people.
The future government led by Cambodia National Rescue Party, CNRP, will restore and guarantee your dignity. It will stop predatory corruption, which will allow it to raise the salary for civil servants, policemen and soldiers to a minimum of 1 million riels (250 US dollars) per month. It will also improve the education system for your children and medical care for your families.
After the Vietnamese invasion in 1978, the ‘withdrawal’ total ‘armed forces in Viet Nam “in September 1989, under pressure from the international community, is a sham intended to deceive the international community about its real intentions toward Cambodia. International verification the so-called serious withdrawal has not occurred or has been rejected by the Hun Sen regime. Full textRemède_contre_l’impérialisme_vietnamien
Law professor and Dean of Law School in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 1962 to 1973 Kampong Chhnang Member of Parliament
Born in 1925, Ph.D. in Law in 1957. His brief biodouc_rasy_1
A Dhamma Talk on Vipassana and mindfulness meditation by Vipassana Gossalaya Jotannano Hong Keo, Vipassana Buddhist Master during a 10-Day Meditation & Vipassana Retreats at the Buddhist Meditation Center, Wat Kiryvongsa Bopharam on the 11th Waxing Moon – 7th Waning Moon of Jeṭṭha B.E.2560 equivalent to June 15 – 26, A.D.2016 in Leverett, Massachusetts, U.S.A. in 2016.
ក្រុងសាវត្ថី Sāvatthī or Śrāvastī
Vipassana chanting by Meditation Master Ketodhammo Som Bunthoeun. Footages from 2016 Vipassana classes at the Buddhist Meditation Center – Wat Kiryvongsa Bopharam in Leverett, Massachusetts, USA.
SAMDECH CHUON NATH
Khmer literature and Dhamma talk by His Holiness Jotannano Chuon Nath, the Supreme Patriarch of Cambodia Buddhism. His Holiness was born on March 11, 1883; passed away on September 25, 1969
MAHA GHOSANANDA SERVICES
Extraordinary Funeral and Memorial Services for His Holiness Samdech Dr. Maha Ghosananda