The Ministry of Cults and Religions has dedicated this year’s International Buddhist Day to the crusade of King Norodom Sihamoni for the nation and Buddhism and to Prime Minister Hun Sen for supporting Buddhism and bringing peace to the country.
Observed on April 8 annually, International Buddhist Day was established in 2014 during the 6th Buddhist Summit conference by supreme Buddhist leaders from 41 countries under the theme “Buddhist Unity for World Peace” in Kobe, Japan.
This year’s honouree King Sihamoni was named Preah Sreylok Thomareach in 2015, a title bestowed upon him to recognise his status as a role model in practicing Buddhism.
The ministry said this day is to recall the noble crusade of the King, who it said has contributed to the dissemination of knowledge, culture and conscience to all people, especially young monks and Buddhists – the “backbone” of the state religion of Cambodia.
It also used the commemoration to advise the public to follow sacred Dharma and to disseminate it to others, and to encourage peace and humanity in all circumstances “to create a harmonious world”.
The ministry said the government has channelled the tenets of Buddhism in the development of the country in all fields, noting that Buddha had expressed the view that “nothing is better than having peace”.
“Prime Minister Hun Sen values peace and prioritises it more than anything. Peace to him is the best thing, giving hope and smiles to all of mankind. Without peace, there is no development, no respect for human rights and no democracy,” the ministry said.
It called on all Buddhist monks and nuns to cooperate with authorities at all levels to decorate shrines and pagodas with national, religious and royal flags, banners and slogans to commemorate International Buddhist Day.
Takeo provincial department of cults and religion director Choung Van said his department created a banner with various slogans to remind locals about the efforts of King Sihamoni and to encourage them to participate in the promotion of Buddhism both in Cambodia and the international arena.
“We have followed the instructions of the ministry, and in Takeo province, we have celebrated by displaying various banners in the pagodas,” he said.
He added that he agreed with the commemoration of King Sihamoni, who he said has the “greatest honour” on his name both in Cambodia and the Buddhist world, especially given his steadfast obedience to Buddhism which has led to the Kingdom being seen as a beacon for adhering to the religion’s teachings.