Achar Hiem Chiev

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Posted by: | Posted on: May 31, 2012

In a reflecting study: Khmer Hero Bhikkhu Hiem Chiev and Venerable Luon Sovath at the present

Op-Ed: Engaged Buddhism

Biography of Achar Hem Chiev, a National Hero – ព្រះបាឡាត់ឃោសនាគ ហែមចៀវ វីរបុរសជាតិ

ឆ្នាំងបាយលោកសង្ឃ គឺនៅនឹងប្រជាជន បើប្រជាជនវេទនា អត់បាយ ប្រជាជនគ្មានសិទ្ធិសេរីភាព បើប្រជាជននៅក្នុងឋានៈ ជាខ្ញុំកញ្ជះគេ លោកសង្ឃក៏ទទួល អំណោយផលអាក្រក់ដែរ។ ដូច្នេះ លោកសង្ឃមានភារៈ ប្រោសសត្វលោក គឺត្រូវស្តីប្រដៅ ធ្វើឲ្យមនុស្សមានស៊ី មានស្លៀក មានសេរីភាព ក្នុងប្រទេសឯករាជ្យ និងសន្តិភាព ដ៏បរិបូណ៌។

ទឹកភ្នែកប្រជារាស្ត្រ គឺទឹកភ្នែកព្រះសង្ឃ

– ទឹកចិត្ត ព្រះអាចារ្យ ហែមចៀវ –
The monks’ rice pot remains with the people, if the people are miserable, have nothing to eat, if they have no freedom, if they live as slave, monks will also feel the hardship pinch. Therefore, monks whose duty is to save the humans, must teach and encourage people to find food to eat, to find clothes to wear, to find freedom for their country, to find independence and total peace.

Tears of the people are those of monks.

– View by Preah Achar Hem Chiev –


Biography of Achar Hem Chiev
 Posted originally by M. P.

Hem Chiev was born in 1898 to a modest farmer family in Oudong. At the age of 12, his father took him to study at Wat Ounalom under the guidance of Monk Chuon Nath who is one of his father’s friends. Young Hem Chiev studied well while serving monk Chuon Nath until the age of 16. Under his parents request, the young Hem Chiev decided to take the vow and became a monk at Wat Ounalom where he further expanded his knowledge of Buddhism under the guidance of monk Chuon Nath still.

At the age of 20, monk Hem Chiev was ordained as Bikkhu at Watt Langka. He then went on to pass the exam to enter the Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh.
According to Martin Stuart-Fox (2006), “[t]he Buddhist Institute did encourage Buddhist studies, but it also stimulated wider studies into culture and history, folklore and language, which rekindled cultural pride that fed into the rising tide of nationalism. The failure of France to protect either Laos or Cambodia from losing territory to Thailand in 1940-41 had a similar effect. Monks took the lead in opposing clumsy French attempts to introduce romanised forms of Cambodian and Lao scripts. In Cambodia, the monk Hem Chieu, a leader in this opposition movement …”
Achar Hem Chiev encouraged his students to study hard to liberate themselves from the yoke of the French colonial rule. He also started the movement to preach Buddhism in Khmer rather than in Pali.
As a member of the French opposition, Achar Hem Chiev kep contact with other Khmer nationalists at the time, among them: Pach Chhoeun, Son Ngoc Thanh, Chum Moung, Nuon Duong, and Sim Var. They all worked to find ways to free Cambodia from the French rule.
Meanwhile, Achar Hem Chiev kept on his Buddhist preaching, among the most notable principles he preached are:
  • Do not be a man of burden to the world (i.e. be useful in life).
  • We must bring well-being to the present first because if we now have well-being, there will be well-being in the future as well.
  • You must work, do not wait for fate.
  • You can cross hardship only if you are determined.
  • You can only depend on yourself (i.e. self-reliance).
  • You must not frequent bad friends, you should not frequent friends with low life, you should frequent good friends, you should frequent people with high ideals.
  • Unintelligent people will bring you actions that should not be brought up, they always bring you chores that are not of concern, they are people who are difficult to teach and bring back to the right path, when they are told about good behaviors, they become angry, they do not know about rules, if you do not meet them, or see them, it is best that way.
  • You should not depend on someone else to feed you in life.