Forty-six novice monks and laymen, aged between 10 and 13 years old, fell unconscious while meditating in Angkor Wat on Wednesday evening during an ordination ceremony, officials said yesterday.
Chea Kimsan, director of Siem Reap’s heritage police, said that more than 100 newly ordained monks and laymen had been meditating for almost two hours when the fainting happened.
“Our team cooperated with monks and medical staff and sent [some of] the monks and laymen to Siem Reap Provincial Referral Hospital,” he said.
According to Monysovann pagoda chief monk La Insak, who was in charge of first aid during the ordination, Siem Reap provincial monks had arranged to ordain aspiring monks and laymen aged over 15 years old. But, he said, many people brought their children to the three-day ceremony.
“The ordained people need to skip dinner, join the march for peace and meditate . . . to remind them of the good deeds and bad deeds that they have committed in the past,” Insak said.
“All the monks and laymen who were faced with hunger [and] got up early, especially the children . . . were too tired from the march and meditation. They started to cry out and after that they fell unconscious.”
Insak told the Post that out of the 46 monks and laymen who fainted, 25 were hospitalised.
Dr Muong Narin, deputy director of Siem Reap Provincial Hospital, said waking up at 4am to march thousands of metres before meditating for long periods of time caused a drop in blood sugar levels, which led to the mass fainting.
“After getting treatment and drinking some beverages, such as Coke and milk, [they] are getting better,” Narin said.