Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tight leash for monks

Tight leash for monks

Tight leash for monks

Photo by: Sovan Philong
Monks line up in front of Angkor Wat during a Visak Bochea Day ceremony in April.

Buddhist monks will be allowed to watch boat races during the upcoming water festival – but only from a safe distance.

The Ministry of Cults and Religions says it has banned Buddhist monks from walking freely among the crowd during the three-day festival, which runs November 20-22, in order to preserve proper Buddhist morality.

“We are not prohibiting the Buddhist monks from taking part during the festival if the monks will gather and sit in one place that is not too close to the crowd,” said Dork Narin, secretary of state at the Ministry.

“In order to keep monks in [line with] good Buddhist concepts and to keep a neutral mind, we will not allow the monks to walk freely in the crowd because the monks could break the rules if they see a sexy lady or a couple kissing in the crowd,” he added.

Monks are expected to remain celibate, refrain from touching or being alone with women, and are forbidden to drink alcohol.

A committee has been set up to monitor monks’ behaviour during the festival, said Ten Borana, personal assistant to the Kingdom’s chief Buddhist monk Non Nget, who was unavailable for comment yesterday due to illness.

“We will bring the monks back to the pagoda where they are from and if the monks seriously break Buddhist concepts they would be punished,” Ten Borana said.
At least 20 Buddhist monks were disciplined at last year’s water festival for allegedly walking amongst the crowd and flirting with girls, he added.

Hundreds of wooden boats will compete in races during the festival, which will see an estimated 2 million descend on Phnom Penh. The annual celebration marks the reversal of the Tonle Sap River at the close of the rainy season.

MOST VIEWED

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Endangered animals found dead in Pailin

    An endangered gaur was one of “many” wild animals found dead in “dozens” of illegal traps in Pailin province’s Phnom Khieu Wildlife Sanctuary, said Chit Thy, a military officer working with rangers to protect the conservation area, on Wednesday. Thy, an officer in the 507