… Today I have a great pleasure to join with all of our people in the inauguration of a new achievement in the pagoda of Sovanmuni or Samraong Andet – the Buddhist hall. Let me take this joyful occasion to express my sincere appreciation to the head monk Rat Saroeun of the pagoda Samraong Andet for such an honored hospitality for my presence in this ceremony. The fact that I have proposed for a rescheduling of the inaugural program to one day earlier because tomorrow we will have the visit of the Prime Minister of Myanmar in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
… I am very thrilled to see that the efforts gathered under the leadership of the head monk Rath Saroeun has brought about this pagoda not only as a place for Buddhist teaching and prayer but also a beautiful place of serenity for our elders to learn and practice Buddhism here. I did not have a chance to travel across this area, though I heard about this place very much. What we all see as development in the pagoda proves that our people have strong belief in the Buddhism. According to the report of HE Kep Chutema, Governor of Phnom Penh, the pagoda had been in no-different state to other pagodas throughout the country after the fall of the regime of the genocide of Pol Pot.
… Under the wise leadership of Samdech Patriarch, and all levels of the local authorities, since the former People’s Republic of Kampuchea regime to the State of Cambodia, and to the second Kingdom of Cambodia, in the past 26 years the Cambodians have proven that they are willing to make efforts for development of the Buddhist world as well as those of the secular world. The two worlds are of inseparable relations, where the lack of development in one would lead to impasse of the other. Having said so I would argue that the development in the Buddhist world would allow us to measure the development in the secular world in part or the living condition of our people, because as long as the people are getting better in their living standard, their contribution for the development of the Buddhist infrastructure is also gaining shape. When our people suffer poverty, the Buddhist development would also be in the desperate state.
… Take another angle into consideration, the Buddhist world contributes largely to the education of every individual to perform good deeds and this has a positive implication on the governance of the secular world. If we were to have many bad people then the effort to keep a society intact would be enormously difficult. In general acts of violence has decreased thanks not only to the efforts made by the police or the judicial system, but largely because we have the Buddhist teaching to the heart of everyone. Not only the people who reside and practice Buddhism in the pagoda, those residing outside have also benefited from the Buddhist teachings as well.
… On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and my own behalf, I would in this solemn occasion express my sincere thanks to the head monk Rat Saroeun as well as the Buddhist monks throughout the country for the fruitful and educational efforts they have done. We should also learn that pagoda is also a place where certain human resource is being produced in part because it provides shelters to students who could not afford a place to stay while pursuing their studies to places away from home. Take for instance thousands of students have been provided shelters by pagodas in Phnom Penh, and I myself was once benefited from such facility as well. Take for the pagoda of Samraong Andet alone we have here 183 (male) students, and 230 other pupil monks and 51 Buddhist nuns. Comparing to the military facility, this pagoda houses more people than in the military batallion.
… The Royal Government at all levels should offer support to the Buddhist activities in this respect, especially in accordance with Buddhist Congress’s resolution at the advice of Samdech Patriarch to establish the Fund for Assisting Children in all pagodas as many have been accepted to reside in the Buddhist facility in pursuance of their studies. For me what I have achieved through hardship and effort-making is vary valuable. Take for instance, a friend of mine back in the old days share a piece of tobacco, which was scarce in those days, with me and I considered that more important and valuable than the triple fives (555) cigarettes these days.
… In 1979, back to those days, the pagoda was in shortage situation. There was no currency in those days and all they offered to the Buddhist monks was rice. That was why in those days we always compare our situation to defend the country with one hand and to develop it in another. Just now I have a request from Samdech Patriarch about sending some senior monks for study at the Royal School of Administration (RSA). Though I have not got a reply from the Royal School of Administration, still I may respond that the RSA would accommodate three monks for each course, after which they could go to work in the Cabinet of Samdech Patriarch and the provincial Buddhist administration.
… Thanks to the initiation from the Governor of Phnom Penh and in contribution for traveling from-to the pagoda and the main road of 1,200 meters. May I take this solemn occasion to also wish everyone here and the Cambodian people all over the country a prosperous Khmer new year and the five Buddhist blessings.