Morality and its effect on social development in Cambodia was discussed at a workshop
hosted by KSIA (Khmer Students and Intellectuals Association).
Held at the Cambodian Institute for Human Rights on Dec.8, presenters included the
Venerable Maha Gossananda - leader of the pre -election peace march from Siem Reap
to Phnom Penh and Ourn Noeurng, community leader and secretary of the Cambodian Buddhist
Association of Minnesota, USA.
Also attending was Dr. John Morrison, a volunteer worker with Moral Re-Armament (MRA),
an international NGO working in Cambodia. He was joined by students and representatives
of ministries and associations.
The Ven. Gossananda and Ourn Noeurng spoke of basic Buddhist moral truths, the Panchit
Seila, comparing it with the four absolute moral standards of MRA.
The seila are "don't lie, don't steal, don't commit adultery, don't kill, don't
A lively debate included discussion ranging from a belief that the seila is lost
on the younger generation to a rejection of absolute values being applicable to every
Delegates queried if Cambodians struggling to survive would be concerned with moral
issues and others thought everyone should look at themselves before denouncing politicians
for being corrupt.
All who attended had lost family during the Khmer Rouge years and many were returnees
from the border camps.