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Buddhist message shown on silver screen

AS she spoke, Kim Leng's voice cracked. She paused for just a moment and continued.

Then she broke down in tears.

"Everywhere I have been I have met many orphans," she sobbed, " [I

see] many widows, many cripples... now I ask the leaders of Cambodia to see the sorrow

of the people and stop the war."

Leng, a Buddhist nun, was speaking to around 900 people gathered at Chatomuk Theater

for the premier screening of The Serene Life - a Khmer language film which outlines

a Buddhist vision for peace and conservation of the environment.

Featured in the film is Noble Peace Prize nominee Maha Ghos-ananda who urges the

audience to reflect on their own behavior in order to achieve peace in Cambodia and

around the world.

"...peace begins with concentration... in calmness we can see the anger, worries,

hate and ambition as causes of quarrels but not peace. [In calmness] we can have

peace in our minds and we can help those around us find peace..."

Production of the film was supported by UNDP (Carere), Oxfam UK, the Friends of Moral

Rearmament and Germany's Konrad-Adenauer Foundation.

The Foundation's permanent representative in Cambodia, Peter Schier, said his organization

had supported a revival of socially active Buddhism in Cambodia since 1986.

"The Foundation wants to contribute to the strong revival of a Buddhist value

system of morals and ethics, a value system which has been nearly destroyed since

1970," he said.

"The German experience tells us that war only leads to self destruction... the

argument that we have to make war to achieve peace reflects the logic of people who

are neither Christian nor Buddhist."

The film's British director, Alan Channer, said The Serene Life hoped to show its

audience that the individual, by his or her own actions, could help create peace.

"I think it [the film] is saying that each Cambodian can wake up and be true

to their own heritage and naturally achieve peace."

The film's premier also saw the distribution of books published with the assistance

of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and written by Battambang monk, Heng Monychenda,

in which Buddhist teachings are applied to everyday life.

Preahbat Dhammik is a moral guide for Cambodian leaders, in which they are urged

to carry out their responsibilities to the nation according to Buddhist philosophy.

The second, Married Life, is aimed at strengthening the family unit by advising on

the responsibility of husbands and wives to each other and their children.

"The book will be given to teenagers and young people - those who have lost

the example through the loss of their own parents through the turmoil of the past

twenty five years, " Monychenda said.

Both the books and the film are to be distributed through The Ministry of Cults and

Religion and the Buddhist Institute.

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