Lecture Series of CAN CAMBODIA
– Saturday, 15 October 2011 on “Engaged Buddhism in Cambodia: Challenges and Controversy” by Ven. Dr. Hok Savann, www.hoksavann.org
According to the lecture by Ven. Dr. Hok Savann, Cambodian Buddhism and Cambodian Society is inseparable. Thus, Buddhacakra (Buddhist dimension) and Anaacakra (secular dimension) must be lifted up equally. Buddhist laws and the universal human rights law is the same. Buddhist belief and Buddhist thought is considered a tort law or traditional law which is required the enforcement of secular law (national constitution and sub-decrees) to duly serve society.
Cambodian Buddhism is very substantial for legality, unity and social engagement. Without durable legality, unity, and social engagement, Cambodian society is hardly advancing. However, the respect of the rule of law must not happen only among lower citizens, the upper administrators must be duly obeying it as well. For instance, the lower thieves who stole chickens and ducks have immediately been punished but the thieves who are sitting on office chairs are immune of punishment.
Ven. Dr. Hok Savann doesn’t support the participation of Bhikkhu monks to vote or to choose secular leaders in each national election. Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka have become members of parliament but the image of Buddhist monks in the assembly are not appropriate at all among those lay law-makers and the practices of the assembly.
Regarding to Ven. Luon Sovath whose Buddhist top administrative banned from the temple is not due to the Viniya of Buddhist Sangha order. Ven. Luon Sovath’s activities and involvements with those victims of land grabs and forced evictions are not offending any chapter of the Viniya. It is just a social norm that Cambodia has never had monk like Ven. Luon Sovath. If the top administers of Buddhist Sangha accused Ven. Luon Sovath of violation of Viniya, they have to sit down and point out what parts of Viniya has he offended? Banning from the temple is an absolute order which Buddhist temples are owned by the laypeople; and it could not solve the problem. Otherwise, it is showing the not-independence of Buddhist Sangha administrative in Cambodia.
In conclusion, Cambodian Buddhist monks should not spend too much time in chanting mantra or building luxurious temples, they must pay attention to produce human resources and explain the laypeople on the daily basic needs to improve living standard; outreaching to the youth who are young seed of society.