ONKS, nuns, and lay people with saffron ribbons pinned to their blouses and
shirts gathered to participate in a three-day ceremony for peace at the Preah
Sakya temple in front of the Phnom Penh railway station.
The Ceremony of
Prayer and Meditation for peace and reconciliation, held from 27-30 May, was
organized by the Dhammayietra Committee to coincide with the Pyongyang talks. It
was intended to encourage public participation in promoting peace.
entering the temple grounds monks sat at a large table with a shiny silver pot
on it for conscientious people to make charitable contributions for religion.
The monks were waiting to praise whomever contributes.
then thronged inside the temple rushing to light incense sticks and offer water
lily flowers to God. They sat down on the floor eagerly waiting to listen to the
monks preach to them.
Spiritual leader, Youshout Kemadaro, who led the
ceremony, briefly addressed the crowd of over 200 people. He said: "To have
peace in the country, every individual must have peace of mind first. This is
the efficient way to bring peace. We have no choice, but prayer."
the speech finished monks chanted for five intense minutes and then Kemadaro,
through his calming words, drew the people into a 15 minute meditation.
In soft voice he said: "Sit freely and relax but keep stable and quiet.
Put your arms on your laps and press your two thumbs gently against each
"Close your eyes and lips and do not glance at each other, sit
wide apart to avoid touching which may stir memories. Center your mind on
religion and peace."
After the meditation people prayed, chanted and lit
candles and then proceeded outside to hang saffron banners on roads and houses.
The banners said: "Our leaders love peace and we respect them" and "The
peace talks will lead to a sustainable peace."
A 21-year-old monk, Lim
Tim, told the Post the saffron color symbolizes purity of mind, peace and
Tim said: "I hope the talks bring peace because we have a King
who is a powerful ruler. I think the leaders from both sides will follow his
A member of the crowd, Khun Sareuon, said: "I came here to pray
for an end to the country's suffering. I wish for a country with no war, murder
One of the most prominent members of the public taking part
in the peace ceremony was Ken Nan who sports a half meter cone of fuzzy hair
which he has been growing for seven years and six months.
Why did he
decide to grow his hair into the impressive spire?
"Because I could", he
replies, "I will never cut my hair again."
Nan, a 49 year old cashier at
a Toyota service garage, says he is a devout Budhist who also observes Brahman
rituals and speaks fluent Khmer and French.