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Buddhists look to trading bank

Buddhists look to trading bank

A PROPOSAL to establish a trading bank by Cambodia's Buddhist community was one issue discussed at a historic three-day seminar on Buddhism held recently.

The 180 participants also agreed to form a National Assembly of Buddhists, introduce fixed terms of employment for monks and chairmen of pagodas and establish a supreme Buddhist court.

The proposals were put forward by the NGO Buddhism for Development in Cambodia as a way to revitalize and better-organize the Buddhist structure.

The seminar also considered a proposal by The Venerable Heng Monichenda, president of the NGO, to establish a "Buddhist bank".

"The plan is good but the seminar did not agree on it, just supported it," said Om Khem, director of the Buddhist Institute, which operates under the umbrella of the Ministry of Cult and Religion, which organized the conference.

The ministry would investigate the practicalities of such a bank, he said, and issues such as who could invest money in it and how the money would be used.

In a bid to achieve better financial management of Buddhists' money, the ministry had already formed financial committees for each pagoda to control their own budgets.

"They can spend money that they earn or save on what they want - such as to build abbeys or schools - so we [the ministry] don't need to control them."

The seminar also focused on how pagodas and monks could help to develop Khmer society.

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