In addition to the prepared text, Samdech Techo Hun Sen made the following impromptu recommendations during the closing session of the 21st Buddhist monks/officials congress.
… As a Buddhist follower, I would like to share with our Buddhist monks/officials a number of recommendations as follows:
(1) The Buddhist commission at all levels must adhere strictly to the regulations in force in the Kingdom of Cambodia …
(2) The Buddhist commission of all levels should cooperate with one another in accordance with the Buddhist teachings and hierarchy aimed at strengthening unity and solidarity in the Buddhist institutions giving good example and model for parishioners, while contributing to the education of morality for the society.
(3) The Buddhist commission of all levels should improve cooperation with the Ministry of Cult and Religion …
(4) The Ministry of Cult and Religion and the Board of Buddhist chief monks should pay attention to improving the knowledge of all levels of Buddhist teachings …
(5) The Ministry of Cult and Religion and the Board of Buddhist chief monks should pay heed to the expansion of Buddhist awareness service though programs like the “Buddhism in Connection with Society” aimed at anhancing the parishioners’ efforts to perform good actions and to hold on to truth in society, while evading all bad actions.
Please allow me in this instance to share with you some ideas in relation to this issue. On behalf of the Royal Government as well as on my behalf, the Ministry of Cult and Religion as well as the Buddhist chief monks commission deserve our praise for initiating and conducting this very useful program. I have a strong hope that the “Buddhism in Connection with Society” program, which consists mainly of numerous Buddhist teachings and interpretations, will continue to make further contribution to our society.
The development of information technology has created various issues relating to flow of culture or some irregular events. However, we should learn to make use of the information technology for heightening awareness of the Buddhist teachings. These days we have various media means like TV and Radio stations which help in the performance of this sacred mission. On this note I shall encourage that aside from radio and TV services, these records should be posted in the world wide web media like Youtube.
We should try to make it available in Youtube, at least 1/10 of what is available out there as songs and musics. Not everyone could listen to and/or follow the Buddhist teachings as they have to move from place to place. It is also true that a number of people living far away from Cambodia but they could have the means to access internet to download it. It is in this knowledge that I propose to the Ministry of Cult and Religion to work with the Ministry of Information and related institutions to make a wider circulation of what we already have produced. Once again I find the “Buddhism in Connection with Society” program very useful and insightful that I now become one its followers.
The point here is if we only produce but not circulate it to a wider audience and on internet, it remains a disappointment. Though I am a busy man I still find time to listen to the Buddhist teachings on TV as the program is on at different time set – one in the morning and another at night. After the teaching and interpretation, there always has been a beautiful poem narration that I like it a lot. I would urge HE Min Khin and Lok Chumteav to go on supporting and developing this work for the benefit of the society. You may find your meal tasty too if you happen to listen to the Buddhist teachings before meal time.
I am delighted that everyone is listening to the Buddhist teaching now. However, between Buddhist teaching and me, it seems we are not separated. I am going to invite Samdech Am Limheng to perorm the religious rites to do away the bad omen early this year for fear that I do not have time for it at later part of the year. I also approved request kindly brought to my attention by HE Min Khin about the idea of conducting Buddhist rites along some of the roads where there have been frequent accidents. Well there is nothing we can do but to use the Buddhist power to chase away bad spirit. However, drivers should not depend solely on the Buddhist sermon. They should also drive with respect of the traffic rules.
On this note, as I already mentioned on February 14 at the inauguaration of the Buddhist achievements in the Preah Sihamoni Raja Buddhist University, there has been inseperable relation between Buddhist and secular world, but in fact the two are complement to one another. If the secular world experiences prosperity, its contribution to the Buddhist world would be remarkable. The Buddhist world also responds with educating human being to perform good deeds and merit. In the course of doing so, people would not go in bad way. This means Buddhism helps the secular administration with the task. There would be less number of prisoners too because more and more people are performing good deeds. That is a mutual role of Buddhism and secular world.
(6) The Ministry of Cult and Religion and the Board of Buddhist chief monks should pay more attention in training wise men/women and their roles and duties in the Cambodian tradition aimed at maintaining strict obedience to the tradition.
I would, relating to this topic, thank the Ministry of Cult and Religion and other institutions involved for organizing training sessions for wise men/women. Earlier, the problem of wise men/women (lacking knowledge in what they are doing) was real. However, responding to my concern expressed on various occasions, numerous professional seminars and training sessions have been organized. Even then I think that we still have the need for more wise men and their training. In Cambodia, within the season that it is known to be good for marriage ceremony, we lack wise men to lead the conduction of ceremony.
The other day, returning from Koh Kong I went to a wedding ceremony. I missed the hair-cut session. I got to the session of blessing light circulation (បង្វិលពពិល). I noted that in the past, at the hair-cut session for the newly-wed couple, a pair of senior couple would do it with one of them holding the scissors and perfume and the other would act as if he/she is trimming the hair of the wedded couple. Now I saw they have someone to hold the scissors and perfume for them so that the senior blessing couple could both do it together. I think that is incorrect by tradition. Please do not make such an about turn.
It is on this note I would urge the wise men/women and the parents of the wedded families to discuss about what they are doing first. One should not impose his/her way on another or on the wedded family. We cannot afford to go on with the module of “everyone knows on his/her own, while instruction depends on from the pagoda you come.” There must be certain coordination. One should not force another to accept what one used to perform by one’s own knowledge. As we have lost so many instruction manuals, it is best that the wise men/women, as I already said, should sort out their differences on how the ceremony should be conducted before it is actually proceeding.
In addition, there is also a different nuance between traditions in one place to another. For example, in some tradition, when one of their parents dies, people in that tradition turn to dancing and enjoy the feast. They argue it is their duty to see them off in a happy manner. If people in a different culture weep in this case, it would be wrong to the culture of the former. Take for instance, according to the new rule, it is not necessary for the bride to be present in the areca palm flower procession to the bride’s home by the groom families. If the wedded families do not know this there could be a lot of arguing to make.
Also according to the new rule, except sitting in couple session that the groom would sit on the right-hand side of the bride, in every other session the groom would stay on the left-hand side of the bride. However, it has been a usual practice that the groom is on the right-hand side of the bride. To change this abruptly would be troublesome. I advise you do not perfom rigid conformity to the formalities but we also have to have serious wise men/women to conduct the various sessions in ceremonies of tradition.
On the sixth point of the communiqué, the Buddhist monks/offials nationwide congress requests for the Royal Government to assist in the formation of a unique sample for all Cambodian statues of the Buddha, so that issues of different styles and decorations could be averted. I think that is a correct idea and is closely relating to the wise men/women. The issue of wise men/women can be readjusted from now and will take a shorter time than this issue relating to statues. Each statues would be there not one or two years but, like those left from our ancestors, hundreds or thousands of years. I agree with the proposal and I instruct the Ministry of Cult and Religion to cooperate with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts so as to create a model form.
(7) The Ministry of Cult and Religion and the Board of Buddhist chief monks should pay attention to improving the efforts to study, research and collate all scriptures, manuals and glossaries on Pali for the sake of expanding our people’s wider knowledge.
(8) All Buddhist monks should make further efforts in studying the Buddhist teaching and disciplines as a field of Buddhist merit for the parishioners.
(9) All parishioners should continue to unite in building, conserving and developing society according to the Buddhist teachings, evading from nepotism which could downgrade the people’s faith, donation and Buddhism as a whole./.