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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Monks lead peace prayers during talks

Monks lead peace prayers during talks


ONKS, nuns, and lay people with saffron ribbons pinned to their blouses and

shirts gathered to participate in a three-day ceremony for peace at the Preah

Sakya temple in front of the Phnom Penh railway station.

The Ceremony of

Prayer and Meditation for peace and reconciliation, held from 27-30 May, was

organized by the Dhammayietra Committee to coincide with the Pyongyang talks. It

was intended to encourage public participation in promoting peace.


entering the temple grounds monks sat at a large table with a shiny silver pot

on it for conscientious people to make charitable contributions for religion.

The monks were waiting to praise whomever contributes.

The participants

then thronged inside the temple rushing to light incense sticks and offer water

lily flowers to God. They sat down on the floor eagerly waiting to listen to the

monks preach to them.

Spiritual leader, Youshout Kemadaro, who led the

ceremony, briefly addressed the crowd of over 200 people. He said: "To have

peace in the country, every individual must have peace of mind first. This is

the efficient way to bring peace. We have no choice, but prayer."


the speech finished monks chanted for five intense minutes and then Kemadaro,

through his calming words, drew the people into a 15 minute meditation.

In soft voice he said: "Sit freely and relax but keep stable and quiet.

Put your arms on your laps and press your two thumbs gently against each


"Close your eyes and lips and do not glance at each other, sit

wide apart to avoid touching which may stir memories. Center your mind on

religion and peace."

After the meditation people prayed, chanted and lit

candles and then proceeded outside to hang saffron banners on roads and houses.

The banners said: "Our leaders love peace and we respect them" and "The

peace talks will lead to a sustainable peace."

A 21-year-old monk, Lim

Tim, told the Post the saffron color symbolizes purity of mind, peace and


Tim said: "I hope the talks bring peace because we have a King

who is a powerful ruler. I think the leaders from both sides will follow his


A member of the crowd, Khun Sareuon, said: "I came here to pray

for an end to the country's suffering. I wish for a country with no war, murder

and robbery."

One of the most prominent members of the public taking part

in the peace ceremony was Ken Nan who sports a half meter cone of fuzzy hair

which he has been growing for seven years and six months.

Why did he

decide to grow his hair into the impressive spire?

"Because I could", he

replies, "I will never cut my hair again."

Nan, a 49 year old cashier at

a Toyota service garage, says he is a devout Budhist who also observes Brahman

rituals and speaks fluent Khmer and French.



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