Today my wife and I are so happy to join with all of you, charitable persons and Buddhist followers in the celebration of 86 birthday anniversary of Samdech Preah Moha Sume Thea Thibdei Non Nget, the Patriarch of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the inauguration of the residential hall and achievements in the Botum Vadei Buddhist monastery. I am feeling great that I could join with Buddhist followers to celebrate this solemn event after we did the same for Samdech Luas Lay and Samdech Hieng Lieng Ho. According to the report by HE Kep Chuk Tema, Governor of Phnom Penh, Samdech Preah Moha Sume Thea Thibdei Non Nget has been making numerous contributions in his whole life, except the part of life when he was under the Pol Pot’s time.
I could recall that after the national liberation that we had only one monk, Preah Kru (Guru) Long Sim, at the time of the establishment of the National United Front for Salvation of Kampuchea, until September 19, 1979, seven more were made monks, in which Samdech Preah Moha Sume Thea Thibdei Non Nget has been one of them.
Gradual development of Buddhism has led to its participation in the secular world, which I have said it already that Buddhist and secular worlds are compared to two wheels of a vehicle that one is for the other and vice versa. They need to be functioning together and helping each other. In fact development in the secular world would allow for better chance for the construction and development of the Buddhist world. On a reversal order, the Buddhist world contributes a great deal in educating morality of good deed to the people, in which this mutuality greatly helps in the management and construction of our country.
Among all, Samdech Preah Moha Sume Thea Thibdei Non Nget, the Patriarch, has had a great role in the construction effort as has been illustrated in the report by the Governor of Phnom Penh already.
As far as the Botum Vadei pagoda is concerned, I would recall that as the whole Phnom Penh city was left empty, there was no monk at all in 1979. Thanks to efforts made by Samdech Preah Moha Sume Thea Thibdei Non Nget the pagoda has gradually increased in size and also a number of old buildings have been replaced by new ones. My father and my mother-in-law have always exercising their Buddhist rituals here. I also notice that leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party mostly organize Katina and bring offerings to this pagoda. It may be said that Botum Vadei is the permanent Buddhist ritual place for the leaders of the Cambodian People’s Party.
Together with other Buddhist followers, I am so moved by the pride to have had such a mighty guru who are monks. Having said so I also would like to express my personal and our people’s thanks to efforts and contributions by other Buddhist monks in various ranks that help in the progress of our society from bare hands up to the present. I also would like to express my sincere thanks to the ceremonial commission who has brilliantly organized such meaningful and respectful events for three respected monks already. As I said not long ago that after Samdech Preah Moha Sume Thea Thibdei Non Nget we will organize similar celebration for Samdech Noi Jroek, the third level Patriarch, in December.
In 2001 we organized this event for Samdech Tep Vong at his 70 birthday anniversary and again in 2007 we did it for Samdech Preah Dhammar Likhet Luos Lay at the Sansam Kosal pagoda on June 19, 2008. We did the same for Samdech Preah Udam Muni Heng Lieng Ho at the pagoda of Preah Put Mean Bon and today in May 2010 for Samdech Preah Moha Sume Thea Thibdei Non Nget.
As of today we have completed constructing various buildings and achievements in the Botum Vadei pagoda which is 568 years old now as it was first built in 1442. Along with this Phnom Penh is 576 years old. The pagoda was originally called the “the Buddhist Monastery of Khpop Ta Yang” because there was an old man “Yang” who started it here. Later it was renamed to Botum Vadei Buddhist Pagoda. As of the moment of speaking previous wooden structure buildings have now been replaced with concrete ones.
As we have a strict policy of management of our forest and though it is impossible for our people to refrain completely from using wood, we have opted for other construction materials that are not harming or encouraging loggings. That is why to reduce logging we need to choose different alternatives./.