Today I have a great pleasure to be with all of you and the Buddhist monks of all levels to officiate the achievements in the Buddhist pagoda of Prek Prang. On behalf of my wife I wish to express my sincere thanks to Holy Samdech Udom Pannha Doang Phang for giving her and me this honor to cut the ribbon in this very joyous occasion that lasts fifteen days starting from the first moon day of the month of Pisakha. It is indeed the first longest ceremony of its kind in the present day.
I wish to take this solemn occasion to express my respect and appreciation in the name of the Royal Government of Cambodia at the efforts made by Holy Samdech Preah Udom Pannha together with contributions made by generous persons in all these achievements in the pagoda that has a long history in the Cambodia. Before talking about achievements realized by Holy Samdech Preah Udom Pannha Doang Phang in this monastery I wish to recall a bit about achievements he had made in his native village of Roka Khnor where he led the construction of one of a pagoda at Roka Khnor and another at Kroch Chhmar district of Kompong Cham.
Achievements in this monastery of Kompong Prang have taken shape in a period of eleven years and at the cost of nearly two million US dollars. Constructions in this monastery have drawn on a long time in the history of Cambodia as mentioned by HE Governor of Kandal Mr. Khim Bo. The construction covered a vast area and took a lot of resources. Take for instance we have here a Buddhist statue stands facing west which not a usual phenomena for a Buddhist statue. But it originates from the idea that the King went west to the river for water – the Tonle Sap lake is at the west end of the pagoda and it was before a quay where former Kings went for bath. The place was in Khmer Kampong Hluong. The place has a close memory of the dynasty of HM the King Soriyo Puor and later of HM the King Ang Duong.
Indeed I am so joyful to learn that HE Chivoan Munnirak, the First Deputy President of the Senate and HE Sok Chinda my advisor, are practicing their monkhood in this monastery. I would in this respect express my sincere appreciation at the fact that Cambodia enjoys its harmony among different religions as we have here with us today for example Hakems of Islam. While in some countries conflicts among different religions take place, in Cambodia, not only does conflict among religions not exist but also some achievements are noticed being done with efforts by many religions together. Take for instance the Buddhist monastery in Kroch Chhmar district of Kompong Cham province Buddhism and Islam always make a peaceful coexistence.
It is with this incident that I believe if it were to be replicated to throughout the country it would do the country a world of good. Indeed there are different belief but it should not be an obstacle in the way of the country’s development or better living condition. It is indeed a positive point that we should try to expand it. In this world we noticed at the present day that one religion is attacking on another, one sect against another. There are different sects in all religions. Take for instance we also have two sects in Buddhism – Mahayana and Hinayana. If were to find a common point that culminates in harmonization of all religions for the sake of socio-economic development, we would see that we have a better time than fighting among different sects of one religion or different ones.
I wish to make an appeal for such a development to be achieved. It should serve as a good example of peaceful coexistence, harmonization, reconciliation, unity between Buddhism and Islam as I used to say that in Cambodia one could not tell who is the first in its birth between Allah and Buddha because the two religions were re-born at the same time on January 07, 1979 – the fall of the non-religious group of Pol Pot. Belief in any particular religion should not be an obstacle for our country’s development. Belief in a religion is an individual right. Though we incorporate in our Constitution that Buddhism is the state religion, we should not allow this become a problem for us. Let’s look into the respect of animism and Brahmanism. We do not have a specified religion for that but the respect for soul has been about 90% in our society. Although there has been a clear differentiation as to this or that belief, people have the rights to belief. The most important point is the fact that all religions never teach human to be devil.
The fact that we have chosen to respect Buddhism or other religions has indeed facilitated a lot in the state affairs and its management. We have also made clear to everyone that there is a clear inseparable relationship between Buddhist world and secular world. If the Buddhist followers are in hunger, the situation would indeed be a curse on Buddhist religion as well. Take for instance there would not be many people coming to this ceremony. The Buddhist parishioners are the one who support Buddhism. As long as Buddhism here draw a lot of supports from every where, people who have made better living in secular world would contribute their resources to the efforts of the Buddhist achievements. Buddhism also teaches people and its followers to perform good deed and other merits it would facilitate state management as well.
Take for instance 5,866 monks in 390 pagodas in a province would be messengers of good deed to a great number of people. This is where I see the correlation between state or secular world and religion or Buddhist world.
Samdech Hun Sen on that occasion offered a school building of six classrooms to the Junior College of Kompong Hluong, a school building of six classrooms to the Primary School of Tapeo in the commune of Koh Chen, and a 330 meter road at the request of the Junior College of Kompong Hluong.