Cambodians flock to Buddha-shaped nests

Cambodians flock to Buddha-shaped nests

HUNDREDS of devout Cambodians have flocked to see five unusually shaped

termite nests that look like seated figures of Buddha, witnesses said

Sunday.

The iconic insect homes appeared on the cement floor of

56-year-old Kuong Keo Ry's house near Phnom Penh, shortly before a

traditional death festival held in October when she was mourning her

late husband.

"I am happy that my house has been chosen. After other

people and I pay respect to the Buddha-shaped termite nests, we all

feel content and happy," the widow told AFP by telephone.

She said

she first became curious about the nests in October because she would

sweep them away every day -  but that the wood-munching bugs would

rebuild them overnight.

Paying respects

Over the past month around 50 to 60 people had come to her house every day to view the nest Buddhas, Kuong Keo Ry said.

A journalist who went to see the termite Buddhas told AFP that he was "thrilled" by them and that they looked very realistic.

"This is like a big miracle to me," said Sok Samnang, who hosts a Cambodian television show.

"One

night after we put jasmine ornaments around the five Buddha shapes,

they grew and became higher. Right now each of the Buddhas is

approximately 50 centimetres (19 inches) tall and looks exactly like a

seated Buddha," he said.

Cambodian Buddhist scholars have said that the  Buddha shapes represent apparitions of deities.

"I've

never seen anything like this before in my life. This is absolutely

amazing," said devout Buddhist San Son, 60, who visits the nests

regularly to pray.

"I believe the termites are trying to bring us a message from God."

Buddhism

still permeates all aspects of traditional Cambodian culture, despite

attempts to eradicate it by the former Khmer Rouge regime during the

1970s.

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