T he Venerable Samdech Preah Maha Ghosananda, supreme patriarch and the country's
most celebrated monk, has been nominated for the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his
efforts promoting peace and reconciliation.
The nomination was made by US
Senator Claiborne Pell, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
Meanwhile Maha Ghosananda announced a march in May to Pailin,
headquarters of the Khmer Rouge. He hopes it will encourage the guerrillas to
begin a re-afforestation drive in the area.
Speaking in Phnom Penh last
week, he said: "Soon, we'll have a Dhamayietra to Pailin to help our friends
reforest the area. This time we will be armed with trees."
The monk has
been given a royal mission by His Majesty the King Norodom Sihanouk to lead
efforts to preserve the country's environment.
Vast swathes of forest
land around Pailin have been devastated after the KR granted Thai companies
logging and gem mining concessions.
In his submission to the Nobel
Institute in Norway, Sen Pell wrote: "Maha Ghosananda has been the voice of
compassion during Cambodian's struggle for peace.
"From Jakarta to Paris,
his presence at the highest level of peace talks has offered faith and
encouragement to the Cambodian people and guaranteed humanitarian goals be
included in negotiations."
As well as playing a leading role in the
talks that led to the Paris peace accords, Maha Ghosananda struck a national
chord by leading a Dhammayietra from the Thai border to Phnom Penh in 1992.
He led a second Dhammayietra on the eve of last year's elections in
which thousands of monks, nuns and lay people marched on the capital from Angkor
Wat, crossing war-ravaged regions of the country.
rallying cry, which drew thousands to follow him, was: "Each step is a
meditation, each step is a prayer, each step will build a bridge."
Ghosananda is widely acknowledged as the spiritual leader of the Khmer. In his
mission to end the civil war he has preached the spread of compassion and taught
how non-violent methods can be used to solve problems.
teaching, the patriarch said "Hatred can never be appeased by hatred, Hatred can
only be appeased by love."
As well as preaching Maha Ghosananda oversaw
the building of temples in refugee camps along Cambodian-Thai border and in
countries overseas where there are Khmer refugee communities.
described the monk as a "dream keeper of Cambodia" and "Buddha of the
Battlefield." Internationally he is widely referred to as the "Gandhi of
Speaking alongside Maha Ghosananda at a panel discussion in
the capital, Ven Kim Teng called on monks and nuns to be "non-partisan
politicians" who should live closely with the lay community.
Ven Kim Teng
said: "Buddhism penetrates into all fields of life, education, health,
agriculture. Khmer society can not live without Buddhism.
come not just by throwing away arms. Peace comes from within the soul first, it
happens when our heart is calm."
Maha Gosananda became, in 1980, a
co-founder of the Inter-religion Mission for Peace in Cambodia and the Whole
World, which has launched ecumenical initiatives for peace world-wide.
received the Norwegian Rafto Foundation Prize for Human Rights in Nov 1992 and
an honorary doctorate for humanitarian services from Providence College.