Two Events in a Row
It is a great pleasure for me to be able to join with all of our people and Buddhist monks to celebrate two major events here in the pagoda of Tuol Sangke or Tuol Sovannaram. The first to celebrate today of course is the inauguration of the Buddhist temple and achievements here in the pagoda. We also celebrate today the 87th birthday anniversary of Preah Muni Kaosal Hul Sovan, the head monk of the Russei Keo district and chief monk of the Tuol Sangke pagoda.
My wife and I are so happy that we have been granted permission to celebrate the birthday anniversary, which Preah Monikaosal has requested a reschedule for the celebration to be held today along with the inauguration of the Buddhist temple and achievements in the pagoda. According to the report by HE Min Khin, Minister of Religious Affairs, from 1982, this pagoda has been under 29 years of leadership of Preah Moni Kaosal Hul Sovan.
The Pagoda’s Background
In his report, HE Min Khin has said to you all that the pagoda was built after the war in 1970 by local war displaced people. Out of the very hardship and dilapidated condition, after the liberation of January 1979, since 1982, Preah Moni Kaosal Hul Sovan has purchased more land to expand the pagoda compound. I could recall that in 1999, when I ordered the construction of a school here, with the knowledge that the pagoda was underwater, I had instructed land leveling too.
Under his leadership, the pagoda has made great achievements. The Deputy Prime Minister HE Hor Namhong and Madame have initiated four religious events (Kathen) to raise 224,779 USD to build a new temple that was built on January 10, 2002 and was completed on September 9, 2007. Various donations and contributions have also been made by dignitaries and senior officials.
Apart from the Buddhist world, Preah Moni Kaosal Hul Sovan has also has made secular contribution for the construction of a school building of twelve classrooms from his own coffer, and overseen more schools and offices of director built with help from generous persons. I wholeheartedly thank Preah Moni Kaosal for his efforts and leadership to make all this happen. I thank also the Buddhist followers and the pagoda parishioners for placing trust and faith in Preah Moni Kaosal and making contribution, according to the report I must say it has been spent and kept record in best possible transparent way, for the constructions.
I have mentioned yesterday about what faith can do to CRC’s fund raising activities. In the same manner, it is faith that brings about marvelous achievements. It is true that if the head monk as well as concerned persons, fails to ascertain people’s faith and trust, it is highly probable that these achievements are not here in existence. It is a two way development relationship that where development exists in the secular world, similar trend will be in the Buddhist world and vice versa. Again, things could be realized only when there is faith.
We also celebrate today the 87 birthday of Preah Moni Kaosal Hul Sovan and HE Min Khin has read you Preah Moni Kaosal’s personal background. It is a respectful value that Preah Moni Kaosal, after becoming monk when he was 19 years old to repay gratitude to his grandfather, never left the monkhood except under Pol Pot’s time, still, he strictly followed Buddhist teaching. Pol Pot did indeed put a stop to Buddhist and/or religious activities, but faith prevailed with every followers. It was in this fact that after January 7, 1979, Buddhism has made great achievement along with education. The country now has some 4,000 pagodas that were built and respected by the people.
In my discussion with HE Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in Charge of the Council of Ministers, and I, on issue of establishing in the near future the National Council for Language, and because of Preah Moni Kaosal’s profound knowledge, in my capacity as the Honorary President of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, I would invite Preah Moni Kaosal to sit in this Council.
Cambodia is in need of resources to improve its language use and development. We have been under shortage of language expertise as for every law written, there has to have a lexicon attached to it. We need to have a unified form of language use. I am sure his profound knowledge and his French language skill will be of great use and help in this task.
Please allow me to share with all of you the latest information in the border conflict with Thailand. Starting from April 22 through to May 3 and into this early May 4, it was the first night within the stated period that there was no gunshot at the Ta Moan and Ta Krobei temples areas. While shootings occurred every previous night, the Thai army told us they had been haunted. They claimed to have seen Cambodian people – women and children too – went throwing hand grenades at them. That was what the Thai army head said to the Deputy Prime Minister, HE Tia Banh, Minister of National Defense.
It has been rumored too that (Cambodians) have by the magic power sent over twenty thousand poisonous snakes to Thailand. It was said so on the Thai side because my wife had in the previous years went to the temple of Preah Vihear to celebrate religious rituals and they had taken it as Cambodia is making a spell on them. Again, last night was the first night there was no gunshot.
In order to build up trust and to verify the possibility who initiate the shot, our commanders at the border have found out a formula with Thai commanders to place soldiers together at several points. So when the trust is being created there would not be any more fighting. Cambodia seeks no war as it will only bring destruction, on soldiers and civilians alike. Upon receiving the news that soldiers from both sides are on good term with each other, the remaining 200 displaced families have left the camp this morning already. What remains to be done is for the President of the CRC to speed up construction and repair of those destroyed or broken homes.
We may understand it to be true but also this can have its twisted fact as they claim this has happened so that they acquire chance to open fire on us. So the formula that soldiers stay together could possibly be one of the best solutions to prevent unpredictable shootings. However, I am happy that our people can now return to their villages and homes. As the rainy season has now started our people could be prepared in time for cultivation./.