Extempore Comments during the Inauguartion of Buildings in the Preah Sihamoni Raja Buddhist University (PSR-BU) in the compound of the Svaypope Monastery

CPP Gets Their 2013 Elections Candidates List Ready

Revered Samdech Preah Moha Rajadhibadei Tep Vong and Samdech Preah Abhiserei Sokuntheadhibadei Bour Kry, and all Buddhist monks, I am so pleased to come to put into official use the buildings of the Preah Sihamoni Raja Buddhist University (PSR-BU) today. I had a high fever last night and could not sleep well because of the coughing. As I am speaking now, I sense that my body temperature is around 39 degrees celsius. I would seek your understanding if my talk today could not go smoothly. Anyway, I have made it a try. As my wife is also in similar health state, she cannot make it today as planned.

I may cancel some of tomorrow’s program as I have already made an appointment with a doctor. As for this afternoon, I may have to keep the program on since it is a very important matter. I will keep my speech short anyway. Just now Samdech (Budshist Patriarchs) wished me to gain success on the July 28, 2013. Samdech do not say directly what it would be but I understand what they mean. This afternoon I will lead the meeting on the compilation of the list of the CPP’s members of the National Assembly-to-be as Samdech Chea Sim could not be present. Maybe other political parties are doing the same. The CPP will draw a list of candidates for the coming general elections.

Buddhist and Secular Harmony – Key for Virtues, Morals and Ethics

As far as the construction is concerned, I have a great pleasure to have learnt the detail from the report of Samdech Preah Abhiserei Sokuntheadhibadei in relation to the effort. I agree in full to the construction of those necessary buildings here in the PSR-BU. I may recall that when I was here to celebrate the birthday anniversary for Samdech Preah Abhiserei Sokuntheadhibadei, there was a request made to me as far as this construction project was concerned. The construction was at the time 15% done, and I was of the opinion that since this Buddhist University bears the King’s name, I could not ignore construction process at all. I was so happy to accept the request and was of great pleasure to help finish the construction as a token of gratitude and respect to HM the King as well as to Samdech Preah Sangharaja.

According to the report by Samdech Preah Abhiserei, it is clearly visible that there is inseparable human resource development relation between the Buddhist and secular worlds. As long as the secular world is making progress, the Buddhist world is too. The Buddhist world also helps in people’s education to perform good deed and when people are holding on to good deed, it will make the state management easier too. If people perform sinful actions, the state would have tremendous difficulties in its management in society. I see the complimentarily indispensable role of the Buddhist and secular worlds.

Under Pol Pot’s time, the regime was so extreme that there was then only secular and no Buddhist or religious world. There was no moral education but killing. For us now we have Buddhist teachings, which are serving as law to measure human actions as far as merit or sinful actions are concerned. Combining the two – Buddhist and secular worlds, there is a great contribution to the management of the society and in the building up of virtue, moral and ethics, which are important parts of people’s development and progress.

Twenty-Five Students from PSR-BU Helped in Land Measuring and Titling

In other words, human resource development could be achieved not only from secular university but also from Buddhist universities as well. While learning the Buddhist teachings in the Buddhist University, students also learning other subjects that are included in the curriculum of the university in the secular world as well. We would say that those who go through the Buddhist University acquire extra subjects acquire in addition to other subject and that is the Buddhist teachings. As for this University, even the computers that Samdech Preah Abhiserei has requested, I also have them brought here today.

By the way, this is the first donation and if there is more in demand, please let me know because I am no stranger to this. I used to live the pagoda boy life too. I know the people’s need very well. As some of the rich people come to pagoda for their merits, the majority of them living there – only men – are from poorer families. I am so grateful that Samdech Preah Abhiserei allows 25 students from the PSR-BU to participate in the land measuring and titling mission in accordance with existing policy. I would take this opportune moment to express my sincere appreciation to their heroic efforts in the missions. Some of them have already returned and some are continuing their good works.

I would like to take this opportune moment to seek understanding from the University that some of those youth-student volunteers who have returned from the mission have to have extra study on some subjects. I am grateful that the teachers involved have been so kind to help them. Because they have spend time in the field helping our people with their land measuring and titling, I am sure they could have failed to fulfill some of the tasks obliged by the University. Therefore, they would find your assistance helpful.

More Assistances Offered

Samdech Preah Abhiserei already mentioned that the costs of construction is 488,417 USD, and 15% of which, or 72,000 USD, Samdech has shared. I will cover the rest. As I clarified earlier, I must find the way to help finish the construction as it is attaching to the name of HM the King as well as to the on-going efforts of Samdech Preah Abhiserei. Leaving the project to depend solely on money raised from religious activities would take the construction a long time to be ready. It is on that note that I am willing to cover the rest 85% or 416,917 USD for the project.

There is also a request letter from Samdech Preah Abhiserei for 50 computers, 5 printers, 5 photocopiers and 20 LCD projectors, which has total costs of 48,800 USD. I already approved the request. There is no use of having a building without the teaching and studying tools. However, I have noted one thing that we should not repeat it next time. Look you have younger people sitting on this side, which is in shady condition, while elder people have to sit in the sun. People whose task is to arrange the seats should be more considerate in their work.

Also today, Samdech requested for a hall of 24 meters by 24 meters with the total costs of 150,000 USD. I approve the request. I have brought the money here and Samdech may work it out to keep it safe for the construction. Thieves would not distinguish monks from parishioners. The reason I am bringing the money right away is because we will have the next elections soon and there will be this busy time for the formation of the Royal Government. If I were to give a chunk of money at a time, it could be a daunting task if Samdech needs money and I would have no money then.

I would take this opportune moment to devote the merits made by our collaboration in constructing this hall and the PSR-BU, for the soul of of Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod, whom we said final goodbye about two weeks ago, for HM the King and the Queen Mother and the two Buddhist Patriarchs. I have a strong hope that if there will be truly the next world I would want to be the pagoda boy again.

Thanks to Institutions Involved in the Cremation

Now I would address a few issues in relation to the royal funeral (of Samdech Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod). On behalf of the Royal Government and my own, my wife and I would express our sincere thanks to HM the King as well as the Queen Mother for their heartfelt letters, which you already have heard, sent to me thanking for the organization of the whole event. Their Majesties also expressed in those letters their thanks to all institutions involved.

I am so proud of the works that we have done altogether – the National Assembly, the Senate, the Royal Government, other legislative and executive institutions, the judicial institutions, the armed forces and the Buddhist monks in the whole Kingdom of Cambodia. What we have done is indeed giving the highest honor to the King Father in his final departure. The works that we have done to pay respect as his grateful children have gone through smoothly and in order.

We could as well consider it as Cambodia’s luck. It is a miracle that from the day he passed away to the final cremation, nothing of misfortunate nature happened. It was truly the miraculous power of Samdech Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod for Cambodia. I really believe in this miracle. I would like to take this moment to express my deep thanks on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia to the Buddhist monks in the whole Kingdom, the armed forces as well as the sub-national level authorities and the people inside and outside the country for their participation in saying the final goodbye to Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod.

I would also thank the different commissions involved, the deployment of the over ten thousand members of the armed forces and the live broadcast by all TV and radio stations. I am so proud of our nation. In the whole mourning period, they put on only two songs – (1) Goodbye Cambodia, composed and sung by the former King Father and (2) Blood of Gratitude, written by me. They also put off all commercial advertisements, music, concerts, etc.

Minister of the Royal Palace Plays Key Role

I would like to take this moment to express my deep thanks to Samdech Kong Sam Ol, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Royal Palace, for his indispensable organizational skills to help me put the events in order. Take for instance we were quite concerned about the funeral procession where the coffin would be moved on and off the carriage. We were worried that while doing so, the coffin might not be in stabilized position.

With the skill of Samdech Kong Sam Ol and direct leadership from me, the whole things went on smoothly. I would say that if we did not have Samdech Kong Sam Ol, we would face an impossible task to handle. I have brought that to the attention of HM the King and the Queen Mother, while Samdech Krom Preah (Norodom Ranaridh) also made this remark.

Water and Soil from Kulen Mountain, Cambodia’s Honor and Gratefulness

I wish to clarify on some things. I would like to inform you again that the water used to extinguish the pyre fire and to wash the remains brought in from Kulen Mountain, an long-standing tradition that we must hold on to.  We had to organize water-asking ceremony at the Mountain of Kulen and bring the water to Phnom Penh. We also brought soil from Kulen Mountain too for placing underneath the coffin for cremation. That is the story. In addition to that, we also have a meaningful procession. As Deputy Head on stand-by of the funeral organization commission and Samdech Kong Sam Ol as permanent Deputy Head, we have statues of many kinds of animal, selected for their meanings. In the old days, human labor force pulled those animal statues but now we use vehicle to carry them along with the procession.

Everything proceeded in tandem. Despite the exaggeration made in the press, Deputy Prime Minister HE Keat Chhon has set aside the required amount for the need of the preparation of the event. I told Samdech Krom Preah that even if the cost would be ten times more (the Royal Government) would still have to make it happen to show our gratitude and respect to the great works for the nation by Samdech Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod and for the country’s honor too. We could not afford to be too common.

There has been some opinions brought forward that Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod’s will was to keep his body lie in state for just a short time. As far as this matter is concerned, I would remind that Deputy Prime Minister HE Tia Banh was with me in Beijing and he could be a reference. Tracing back a bit, on the day that the King Father passed away, 15 October 2012, we issued no circulation. The King Father’s will was not to keep his body for too long since that would cost more for the state budget. I then proposed that we could not afford to be too common on this because the event would involve the country’s honor and reflect our gratefulness to the great favor HM did for the country.

I suggested that the body of the King Father should lie in state at least three months. You may notice that our first circular states the body of the King Father will lie in state not less than three months. After making necessary calculations involved, the construction of the crematorium had only over two months – starting from November 7 to do the job. The construction was underway day and night until we had the crematorium in place. We now leave the crematorium as it is so that our people can come to visit but we also will have to discuss when to remove it before the Khmer New Year comes.

Pyre Lighted Five Times

Everything went perfectly well. However, there has been rumor on the cremation day with regard to some scenes people saw on TV screen. The rumor goes from street to street, one coffee table to another, etc. The press has also written about it. It is in this development that I have the need to clarify what happened or the story will go without end. I am begging their pardons – HM the King and the Queen Mother, for the necessity to clarify and reveal in the presence of the two Buddhist patriarchs about the miracles during the pyre lighting at the cremation time.

How does the story go? First, people were pondering why it took too much time for the cremation to happen, why the artillery salute and the fireworks were not on as the clergymen already gave a signal. What took it so long? I am sure some of the people present on this forum also do not know what happened. According to plan, everything proceeds at once altogether – lighting the pyre, the Buddhist monks chanting their mantra, the clergymen giving their sound signals, the fireworks around the crematorium lighting up and the artillery salute starts. However, as was witnessed by the two Buddhist patriarchs, it took us about fifteen minutes later to be able to fire the artillery salute. What was the story?

As I am talking about this again I have a pilomotor reflex as it is indeed a great miracle that I am sure was born out of the great power of the former King Father. It was our plan to finish up before 6 pm. At ten minutes to six, after the flower laying period was over, HM the King, the Queen Mother and those involved had to go up to the pyre deck of the crematorium. The technicians then moved the coffin to change the head-side from the west to the east so that the lighting would start at six o’clock sharp. As we removed the cloth that covered the face, we had to cover up one of the cameras. The issue here is why it took longer than expected for the artillery salute to start. I should now reveal to you that it took us five times to light up the pyre before it finally got on. It was truly a miracle.

However, according to my observation, from the start, Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod would not “move” if it was not the time. While we move the coffin out of the palace, there was a time I noticed and said to Samdech Kong Sam Ol that why the soul banner holder were marching on but the funeral procession did not move yet. The fact I noticed this is because I had come across this once with HE Chea Sophara when it was my late mother’s case. As the coffin arrived before the time set by the funeral mortician, the electricity was off and came back only at the time set. I do not compare my late mother to that of the King Father. I just want you to see the miracle.

It Was the King-Father’s Power Miracle

I may as well go into detail so that you could easily understand. As the covering cloth removed, I was standing right at the foot side alone. The Queen Mother, HM the King stood on the southern side of the coffin facing north while the Buddhist patriarchs stood on the northern side of the coffin facing south. Samdech Krom Preah then joined me later at the foot side. Samdech Kong Sam Ol handed me the candle with long handle that I had to present it to HM the King. I knelt down presenting him with the candle. Both HM the King and the Queen Mother lighted the candle from the “sun ray lighter.” The Buddhist patriarchs then gave their sermons while the royal clergymen gave their sound signals and the candle lighted for about two centimeters. For some reason nobody knew, the candle was off.

For the second time, the candle burned about three centimeters, but it was off again. It is a miracle. It was clearer as the third time come. We poured alcohol from top to bottom of the pyre lighter. The Buddhist patriarchs were there at the time. The light went up but fell off soon after to extinguishing. HM the King and the Queen Mother then moved to the southern side of the coffin standing facing north and invited the two Buddhist patriarchs to light up the pyre with my help. It was even before we torched, the light again went off. One may interpret this according to one’s belief and judgment but to me it is a miracle.

For the fifth time, I begged forgiveness from Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod and said that I had no other choice. HM the King and the Queen Mother were also this time at the foot side to the north and the two Buddhist patriarchs were at the foot side to the left, where I was also standing. I then lighted the pyre from Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod left-foot side or the southern side of the pyre. The lighting went into flame. Anyone may interpret what you see and hear. Finally, I was the one to get the pyre on fire to the end. I bring this up to end the rumor and interpretation that went along accusing those in charge of technological setup, lack of coordination between artillery salutes and the religious rituals, etc.

HM the King and the Queen Mother said to Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod that Their Majesties only followed his will. The two did not seem to be able to light the pyre. In response to their gestures, to my analogy, the soul of Preah Borom Ratanak Kaod prevented the lighting up. As for the parts that involved the two Buddhist patriarchs and me, and then I finally did it alone, it is open for anyone’s interpretation. If I have missed any points, the two Buddhist patriarchs may want to give more in detail. There were many people present at the time that I think this incident would not be a secret. In short, there was great miracle from the merit of HM the King Father at that night.

It was beyond anyone’s interpretation. Though I was in tears and Samdech Krom Preah too, I heard it loud and clear. I said to the Queen Mother that the King Father did not want to leave his children and the Queen Mother responded: “HM waited for Samdech Prime Minister (to light up the pyre).” It was true and the Buddhist patriarchs here could have heard it too that evening. The Queen Mother then said there did not seem to hear the artillery salutes. I then gave a sign for the salutes. Again, this is the truth. I wish that there would be no more baseless interpretation. No matter whom you would ask you would get the same story. I do not know why I became the one in the end to be able to get the pyre on fire.

I was not to be the one, and the first to do so. I did not know what I had done in the past life that in this life I have always been at the side of HM the King Father to the end. On 14 November 1991, I accompanied the King Father from Beijing to the Royal Palace and finally I was the one that organized the funeral and lighted up the pyre. It was also my first time to pick the remains from a cremated body – whether it is from the Royal family or simple citizen. When my grandmother died, I was a monk. So I did not have chance to pick her remains. As for the grandparents on my mother’s side, I was busy visiting India. They died one after the other in just one week. I am now inherited the task to defending the throne and HM the King.

Begging Pardons for Shortcomings

I am begging for forgiveness for all of my actions from HM the King and the Queen Mother. Their Majesties said to me “Samdech do not make any mistake.” I would have to beg for forgiveness in one other incident about artillery salutes. There was a protocol that, firstly, we had to wait until the Queen Mother and HM the King left the place, and secondly, they had to wait for my carriage to leave the place too. However, as the funeral procession had gone on and the coffin carriage went farther, though my carriage was right there near the artillery team, I ordered the salutes while the Queen Mother and HM the King were close by. I had the necessity to get that done and could not follow the plan.

In another instance, we could not hold the funeral procession to start only after the preaching completed for we had more preachings along the procession road or we would not get to the crematorium in time. That was why after the monks finished their sermons, the clergymen had to do their rituals all along the departed procession. As far as my clarification above concerning the retard of the artillery salutes, I would seek forgiveness from their Majesties as I have the necessity to do so for there have been various interpretations that I felt the need to clarify them./.

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