Buddhism and Secular – Inseparable Relation
I have started my career as a soldier so I understand very well about what can be done if there is an art of making people taking part. The art of sharing resources and knowledge when there is a need has proven success in the cause of rebuilding our country. The relationship between Buddhism and the secular world has proven very strong bond in the history of Cambodia. Cambodia was under the French colony like many countries, Africa also included. In Africa, some country speaks the language of the colonizers – French, English and/or Spanish.
In Cambodia, the Buddhism has saved this country from losing its own identity, language, religion and custom. In Vietnam for instance, France Romanized the Vietnamese ancient Chinese characters and I have learned Vietnamese during my detention in Vietnam. In the course of history that four of our Kings were under the French colony, our Kings always read and spoke in Khmer. Khmer language has in those days been used widely in the Buddhist monastery and the Buddhist monks taught Khmer language and alphabet to Khmer children.
Secular Development Leads to Buddhist Achievements, and vice versa
We have so many documents kept in the pagodas in Khmer language throughout the country up until we are now in the time of global integration. This is inseparable from one another between Buddhism and secular circles in the history of Cambodia. In the Cambodian history, in times of war, when the secular world had faced famines, wars and other turbulences, Buddhism also was sharing same ill fate. The destabilized secular environment in Cambodia, the Buddhist world, and all others Muslim and Christian – could not stand the crack too.
Choosing the right path is wise and what is even wiser is the fact that one knows how to keep what has in hand safe. It is indeed 10 years since when Khieu Samphan, Nuon Chea and Khmer Rouge leaders came to my house and I counted it as the date that now the Khmer Rouge fell completely. After the fall, peace prevails and we have pagodas in every corner of the country. When the country was in confrontation, it was impossible for Venerable Gusananda to preach religion to the Khmer Rouge.
The King on Banknote
We are going to celebrate the birthday of HM the King Preah Bat Norodom Sihamoni soon. It is indeed our best luck to have HM on the throne and stay as shade to us. HM the King leads Cambodia at the time we have two digit economic growths. As far as I know at the time of the birthday anniversary, HM would not order for any banquets but visit our people in need. It is indeed a model for us.
To commemorate this anniversary, the Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, HE Chea Chanto, under the instruction of the Royal Government of Cambodia, has ordered the printing of new banknote of twenty thousand Riels once again. The previous print was defect. HE Chea Chanto and I have selected the portrait of HE the King and the design process has gone on. I have requested for an audience with their Majesties the Heroic King Father and Queen Mother to present the new note and to seek their advice on the request to change the printed portrait of the former King by the current one.
We do not have the inflation as there are not much notes circulated in the market. We are trying to maintain the value of the Riel currency. About 70,000 employees in the country get their checks in US dollars. Therefore if the Riel currency is going high in value, in depreciation of the value of US dollars, they would face difficulties. We hope to have a good day – Monday perhaps according to the Cambodian belief – to launch the new note./.