សម្តេចព្រះមហាសុមេធាធិបតី Jotannano ជួន ណាត សង្ឃនាយកគណៈមហានិកាយ បានតម្កល់ព្រះបរមសារីរិកធាតុលើព្រះរាជរថបុស្បុក ហើយក្បួនហែជា មហោឡារិក ក៏ចេញពីមុខព្រះបរមរាជវាំង កាត់តាមវិថីនានាក្នុងរាជធានី រហូតដល់ព្រះសត្យមុនីចេតីយ៍ ដែលមានរោង ពិធីសុទ្ធតែជាអាគារឆើតៗ សណ្ឋាន ដូចព្រះវិហារល្អៗ គួរឱ្យកើតសទ្ធា និងសេចក្តីជ្រះថ្លា រំភើបក្នុងហឫទ័យនៃទស្សនិកជន។ (រូបថតថ្ងៃទី១២ ខែឧសភា ឆ្នាំព.ស.២៥01 គ.ស.១៩៥៧)
The late His Holiness the Great Dr. Jotannano Chuon Nath in the procession of the Buddha’s Relics in B.E.2501 A.D.1957 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia Courtesy ថាច់ ស៊ឺង
Courtesy ស្នេហ៍ពិតស្នេហ៍ស្មោះ ស៊ូស្លាប់ដើម្បីជាតិមិនលក់ជាតិព្រោះតែតណ្ហា
These Buddhist monks are camping out at night at the Freedom Park or Democracy Square on December 15, B.E.2557 A.D.2013 in Phnom Penh. They want the government to respect election law. Respecting election law is respecting human rights.
Cambodia has been in a political stalemate due to last National Election on July 28, B.E.2557 A.D.2013 where only two political parties claim to have won the elections.
Seventy years ago this month, a Cambodian monk died in a French penal colony off the coast of Vietnam.
<<Portrait of Hem Chieu at Wat Dambauk Mean Leak, a pagoda in his native village of Dambauk Mean in Ponhea Leu district in Kandal province. By Michelle Vachon, The Cambodia Daily December 9, B.E.2557 A.D2013
Had the monk lived, he might have been a major force in Cambodia’s independence movement.
As an enduring symbol of that struggle, Hem Chieu’s death in December B.E.2487 A.D.1943 of either dysentery or cholera on the penal colony island of Poulo Condore remains potent to this day.
The arrest of Hem Chieu on July 17, B.E.2486 A.D.1942, spurred the first large demonstration against French rule in Cambodia, and “was a watershed in the history of Cambodian resistance to France,” historian David Chandler said.
“To a large extent,” the demonstration “marked the passage of Cambodia into modernity,” French historian Henri Locard said.
Pach Chhoeun, who led the demonstration to free Hem Chieu, was then the editor of the pro-independence newspaper Nagara Vatta.
A French military tribunal in Saigon found both men guilty and condemned them to death. Their sentences were later commuted to life imprisonment. While Hem Chieu would never leave Poulo Condore, Pach Chhoeun would survive his incarceration and find freedom in B.E.2489 A.D.1945.
Born in B.E.2442 A.D.1898, Hem Chieu was the son of the Ponhea Leu district chief in Kandal province. Sent to Phnom Penh by his father to study with Buddhist patriarch Chuon Nath, he was ordained at 20 at Wat Langka and graduated from the School of Advanced Pali Studies in B.E.2465 A.D.1921.
In the B.E.2474s A.D.1930s, the French authorities—who were running the country under the B.E.2412 A.D.1863 Protectorate Treaty—had established the Buddhist Institute and were supporting the school of Pali as a means to move the clergy away from Thai influences and to inculcate a strong Indochinese religious identity.
Thailand had held many northern provinces of Cambodia for centuries, and the lingering Thai influence over its colonial possession was a natural source of irritation for France. Part of the French strategy involved sending monks to preach Buddhism to Cambodian soldiers, police officers and the public.
Hem Chieu, who had previously been involved in efforts to expand pagoda-based schools in the Kampot area, was one of the monks sent to preach.
Also at that time, a dispute was raging in the Buddhist clergy between traditionalists and modernists, Mr. Locard said.
The modernists believed that the King and political leaders should have no authority over religious institutions, whereas the traditionalists recognized the King as the leader of the church to the extent of having him select texts to be read at pagodas.
The French Vichy regime—which controlled the King and the Royal Palace—supported the traditionalists and their worldview.
Hem Chieu believed in the separation of religion and state, and in Cambodians’ right to run their own country.
“He was a reformist, a modernist in his approach to religious institutions, and a modern regarding politics. And he lumped this together,” Mr. Locard said.
A charismatic speaker who preached without using formulas, “He was the ideologist of the time, [telling people]: ‘Wake up, you are not children. Take charge of your destiny, fight, take initiative,” Mr. Locard said.
Asked how Cambodians could win against the French colonial power, Hem Chieu would turn to the teachings of the Buddha and say that, by joining together, they could win independence.
The “modernists” associated with the Buddhist Institute were also in contact with the high school Lycee Sisowath’s student association and with Pach Chhoeun and his Nagara Vatta newspaper, which included Son Ngoc Thanh.
An attorney who served as deputy director of the Buddhist Institute, Son Ngoc Thanh seemed to have been the only one who favored the use of violence against the French, willing to employ hired killers to deal with them, Mr. Locard said.
Hem Chieu strictly advocated nonviolence.
The independence movement had the misfortune of taking shape against the backdrop of World War II while France was led by the Vichy government, which supported Nazi Germany and its ally Japan. As the war raged in Europe, the Vichy regime put in place its own people in Indochina, naming Admiral Jean Decoux governor general.
As Mr. Locard learned while researching France’s military archives, the French military tribunal’s charges against Hem Chieu and Pach Chhoeun ranged from making anti-French remarks to planning an uprising to end France’s dominance over Cambodia. They were also accused of deploring the high cost of living, and using witchcraft to make Cambodian troops invisible.
Hem Chieu anticipated his arrest in B.E.2486 A.D.1942, Mr. Locard said, and had written down detailed plans for a demonstration that should take place as soon as a monk was arrested.
Hem Chieu’s guidelines stated: “If one of us is arrested, we must spread the news, with the utmost urgency, to all the pagodas to come and protest in front of the relevant authorities…. Let us show solidarity and declare we shall not let a monk be condemned. But while you demonstrate, it is absolutely forbidden to carry any kind of weapons.”
The French having heard rumors that the anti-colonial movement was planning action, Hem Chieu was apprehended at his pagoda by a French official and Tea San, who was then minister of the Interior and of Cults.
Hem Chieu was disrobed immediately and forced into layman’s clothes so that the procedure for the arrest of a monk would not apply to him.
The word spread and, using Hem Chieu’s blueprint for a demonstration, on July 20, B.E.2486 A.D.1942, about 500 monks and as many laypeople marched in the streets of Phnom Penh, heading for the residence of the leading French administrator near Wat Phnom. Their goal was to ask for the release of Hem Chieu.
Pach Chhoeun, who led the march, was let inside the gates of the residence, but then immediately arrested. A fight broke out between guards and demonstrators, and policemen used batons. Because the hundreds of monks who attended the demonstration carried parasols, the event is often referred to as the “Umbrella War.”
Pach Chhoeun and Nuon Duong, a former monk who ran a bicycle shop and was one of the demonstration’s organizers, were sent to the penal colony along with Hem Chieu. They would be released in B.E.2489 A.D.1945. Son Ngoc Thanh, who had helped set up the demonstration, did not take part. After hiding in the Japanese police compound, he fled the country.
In the eyes of the French authorities, Mr. Locard said, “Hem Chieu had committed the ultimate crime: to question France’s sovereignty and authority.”
“This absurd military trial of Khmer nationalists is a sorry epitaph for French colonialism in Cambodia,” but typical of the repressive Vichy government, he said.
As for Hem Chieu’s death, it gave the country a heroic figure but deprived it of a remarkable man who may have helped shape Cambodia’s future over the following decades. Courtesy the Cambodia Daily
CERTIFCATE OF DOCTORAL DEGREE DIPLOME DE DOCTEUR ES-LETTRES
May 28, B.E.2511 A.D.1967
H.H. the Great Dr. Jotannano Chuon Nath receives Doctoral Degree in Khmer Literature Courtesy វចនានុក្រមសម្តេចសង្ឃរាជជួនណាត
Justice and Peace elude Cambodia and her citizens since B.E.2497 A.D.1953 when Cambodia becomes independence from colonial France. After French domination for almost 100 years, brief enjoyment of independence, civil war, communist regime supported by China, communist regime supported by Vietnam and the former U.S.S.R. and Vietnamese invasion and occupation, a brief United Nations intervention to end the long-lasting conflict, Cambodia and her citizens have not enjoyed genuine democracy, justice, and peace.
Photo courtesy យុវជនខ្មែរទៀងត្រង់
I hope you will excuse my brief intrusion before Venerable Somnieng’s year-end letter, but as chairman of the LHA board, I have an important message to share. Because Buddhist ascetic principles require monks to eliminate their attachment to material things, in the following letter Venerable Somnieng expresses his gratitude for your great support of LHA, but does not ask for its continuance.
So I just wanted to remind you that if Venerable Somnieng and his fellow monks are to achieve their plans to expand LHA’s six programs and improve the services they provide, your sustained generous support is vital. At the end of the letter, you will find it convenient link to the ways you can make donations .
Thanks again for your generosity and continued support. On behalf of the LHA board, I wish you a joyous holiday season.
Chairman, LHA Board
Dear friends, It’s been a year of joy, challenge, and achievement for Life and Hope Association. So I hope you will excuse my final newsletter of 2013 being a little longer, but I want to highlight a few things we have been able to accomplish with your great support over the past 12 months.
In March, the eighth class of LHA Sewing Training School (STS) students graduated after completing their 10 month class. The skills they acquired are allowing them to escape lives of poverty, difficulty, and exploitation in which all of them had been trapped.
Their places were taken by 28 girls in the ninth class which will graduate later this month, bringing to 217 the number of lives that the sewing school has changed since it began in 2006. We offer our grateful thanks to the Park Hyatt Hotel for its ongoing support of this program.
During the year, our Sustainable Community Program (SCP) continued to work with children and families in the poorest and most disadvantaged villages. The Food for Education program sponsored by Rice for Cambodia provided 70 families and their 440 family members with extra food so that their children could attend school rather than working to provide added income.
SCP also had 15 new Peace Houses built by monks and volunteers during 2013. Thanks to this program, a total of 59 families that have renounced domestic violence, drugs, alcohol, and gambling, have been able to move from derelict hovels into new homes.
SCP also continued to help families and communities become self-sufficient and self-sustaining by offering vocational training and helping establish small businesses through micro-loans.
In September, 12 girls from our Program Advancing Girls Education (PAGE) graduated from high school, with seven of them obtaining scholarships to attend universities. Of the 49 girls who have entered PAGE since 2008, 24 have graduated from high school. No PAGE girl has ever dropped out or failed to graduate high school. There are now 17 in university, and six more will start next month. And our first PAGE girl just obtained her BA!
To select girls who want to return to school, Venerable Loeurm, Ms. Sreyserey Ratha (project coordinator), and 10 PAGE girls traveled to remote communities to interview 49 applicants from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds committed to continuing their education. In October, 12 new girls moved into the PAGE houses and returned to high school to complete their studies.
As several young people transitioned out of Children’s Development Village (CDV) orphanage over the past year, we welcomed 7 new children to CDV in 2013. However, we keep in touch with all our CDV graduates, supporting their continued education and ensuring their successful transition to independent living.
Peanh Phary, a CDV graduate who completed high school while serving as a Temple Boy, recently returned to CDV as an assistant to the program coordinator “big brother” to the kids. Three PAGE graduates have also joined the CDV staff as teachers, house mothers, cooks and “big sisters” to the 40 children who live at CDV.
In LHA’s Foreign Language School (FLS), monks and volunteers continued to offer daily English classes, providing hundreds of students with a skill that gives them access to jobs in hotels, restaurants, and tourist related businesses. Tuition is inexpensive or completely free for those who cannot afford it.
Finally, last month, LHA’s Buddhism and Social Programs (BSP) continued its community outreach mission by providing emergency relief to 317 families displaced by Cambodia’s devastating floods. Each family received food, living supplies, and some cash to help them through the emergency.
My thanks once again to all of you for your generous and loving hearts, and for helping to change young lives forever.
With peace and love,
Executive Director | Life and Hope Association | Wat Damnak | Siem Reap | Cambodia
Address: Wat Damnak (Damnak monastery), SangkatSalakomreuk, Siem Reap, Cambodia,
US Tax-deductable Donations: Via Omprakash click here or Give2Asia click here Australian Tax-deductable Donations: Make cheque to “Rotary Australia Overseas Aid Fund, Project # 55/2009-10 (LHA) and mail to Rotary Australia, P.0. Box 807, Strathfieldsaye Vic. 3155. Bank Transfer – click here for LHA’s full remittance details Please email us to advise of your donation.
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