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A busy monk's life

A busy monk's life

1926: Born Takeo Province, later reduces his age by three years to attend

Catholic School, according to a longtime friend.

1943: Initiated into Cambodian Buddhist Order.

1953: Studied at Nalanda University in Bihar State, India.

1969: Received doctoral degree from Nalanda University, title "Maha Ghosananda"

bestowed. Entered hermitage of Thai meditation master Achaan Dhammadaro.

1979: Met first influx of Cambodian refugees entering Sakeo camp following

expulsion of Khmer Rouge regime from power.

1979: Established temples in refugee camps on the Thai-Cambodia border.

1980: Represented Khmer nation-in-exile as consultant to the United Nations

Economic and Social Council.

1981: Founded Buddhist temples in Cambodian resettlement communities in North

America, Europe and Australia.

1983: Met Pope John Paul II in Rome to discuss religious basis for world peace.

1988: Becomes a Supreme Patriarch (in exile) of Buddhism in Cambodia.

1988-1991: Led contingents of Buddhist monks to United Nations-sponsored Cambodian

Peace negotiations, proposing a compromise and reminding national leaders that "Peace

is our common goal."

1992: Received the title Samdech Preah from then-Prince Sihanouk in Phnom

Penh, popularly known as Samdech Song Santepheap (Lord Monk of Peace) in Cambodia.

1992: Led the First Dhammayietra Walk for Peace and Reconciliation for one

month through northern Cambodia during the United Nations Transitional Authority

in Cambodia (UNTAC).

1992: Step by Step: Meditations on Wisdom and Compassion by Maha Ghosananda

was published by Parallax Press, USA and has since been published in Khmer, Thai,

Spanish and Portuguese.

1992: Awarded Rafto Foundation Prize for Human Rights, Bergen, Norway.

1993: Led Second Dhammayietra through area of civil war before first Cambodian

elections, encouraging citizens to overcome fear of political violence and intimidation

and exercise their right to vote.

1993: Named honorary leader of Ponleu Khmer, citizens' advisory council to

the Cambodian Constitutional Assembly.

1994: Led Third Dhammayietra through the war-torn western province of Cambodia.

The walk was caught in crossfire between government and rebel forces and two peace

walkers were killed.

1993: Led contingent of highest-ranking monks to peace negotiations held under

the auspices of King Sihanouk in North Korea and to a second round of negotiations

later in Phnom Penh.

1993: Nominated: for 1994 Nobel Prize for Peace by US Senator Claiborne Pell.

1995: Nominated: for Nobel Prize for Peace for a second time by US Senator

Pell and an anonymous laureate.

1995 - January: Dedicated Disabled Persons' Center, Phnom Penh.

1995 - May-June: Led Fourth Dhammayietra for Peace and Reconciliation in Cambodia,

walking from the Thai border to the Vietnamese border. Continued calls for peace

negotiations and educating public about the dangers from land mines and unexploded


1995 - September: Led International Peace Day Ceremonies, during Cambodian

Festival of the Dead, for a ban on land mines.

1995 - October: Attended United Nations Review Conference on Conventional

Weapons to present the suffering of ordinary people due to land mines and plea for

a total ban on them.

1996: Nominated: for the Nobel Prize for Peace for third year in a row, by

American Friends Service Committee.

1996 - February: Led Ban Mines Week parade in Phnom Penh.

1996 - April: Attended United Nations Review Conference on Conventional Weapons,

Geneva, to again plead for a total ban on land mines.

1996 - May-June: Led the Fifth Dhammayietra for Peace and Reconciliation in

Cambodia, focusing on deforestation and the link between the military, illegal logging

and the on-going civil war. Drew a link between healthy forests and the life of the

Buddhist order. Members of the Peace Council joined the walk.

1996 - December: Met with members of the Khmer Rouge to arrange a route for

the 1997 Walk for Peace and Reconciliation in Cambodia. Was patron of conference

on Buddhism and Peace in Battambang, Cambodia, which was organized by the Buddhism

for Development group and was attended by representative of different militant forces.

1997: Nominated: for the Nobel Prize for Peace for a fourth time, by an anonymous

former Nobel laureate.

1997 - March-April: Led the sixth Dhammayietra through areas of Cambodia which

were, until a few months before, under the total control of the Khmer Rouge. The

walk successfully concluded at the Angkor period ruins of Banteay Chammar.

1997 - May: Invited by the Dalai Lama to co-lead an ecumenical service for

Tibet at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

1997 - June: As a patron of the organization, he attended the International

Network of Engaged Buddhists conference in Kanchanaburi province, Thailand, which

brought together Buddhist social activists from throughout Asia and around the world.

1997 - August: After the coup in July he led the first mass event calling for

an end to the use of violence in Cambodian power struggles.


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