Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Would-be Buddha on PM’s bad side

Would-be Buddha on PM’s bad side

A woman sits next to paintings of the self-proclaimed fifth and final Buddha last week at the Reachea pagoda in Kandal province
A woman sits next to paintings of the self-proclaimed fifth and final Buddha last week at the Reachea pagoda in Kandal province. Hong Menea

Would-be Buddha on PM’s bad side

Thean Vuthy’s claim to spiritual superiority has reached the ear of Hun Sen, and judging by the premier’s response – he demanded yesterday that the Ministry of Cult and Religion arrest Vuthy using the “American” style – he doesn’t like the sound of it.

Addressing a graduation ceremony at Koh Pich Center yesterday, Hun Sen became fixated on the somewhat obscure – until now – story of Vuthy, a monk in Kandal province who believes he is the next Buddha and whose pagoda was temporarily shut down by the authorities on Sunday. Vuthy’s whereabouts were unknown.

“Excellency Min Khin is tracking this case seriously. It’s unspeakable,” Hun Sen told the crowd, referring to the minister of cult and religion.

Officials from the ministry made the decision to shut the pagoda for one week and relocate its monks after finding jewellery and other “irregular” items, including elephant tusks and “tiger fangs”, in Vuthy’s
room during the weekend raid.

Vuthy first came to the government’s attention a few months ago when the ministry seized books, CDs and photos that touted his greatness on sale at the pagoda.

“The monk kneeled to salute a normal person who claimed [to be] a god,” Hun Sen said. “It is impossible. Even the King kneels to salute the monks, so why did the monks kneel to salute the normal person like that? It is hard to understand.”

The prime minister suggested that Vuthy be arrested like fugitives in the United States, where, he said, they are pushed to the ground, handcuffed and stepped on.

In response to the speech, Ministry of Cult and Religion spokesman Seng Somony said that authorities are still looking for the suspect. The ministry has said that Vuthy’s actions “seriously offend the values of our state religion”, but it’s not clear on what charges he could be brought before a court.

Police are looking for him, Somony said. “But we do not know where he is right now.”

MOST VIEWED

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading

  • Hun Sen’s China visit ‘a good opportunity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen’s visit to Beijing on Sunday to discuss economic and trade issues presents a good opportunity for the Kingdom to strengthen Chinese ties and counter punitive measures by the West, an analyst says. The prime minister’s four-day official visit to

  • Former chief bodyguard receives royal pardon

    The former chief bodyguard of late Senate president Chea Sim has received a royal pardon nearly eight years after he was sentenced to 15 years behind bars on several charges, according to a royal decree dated November 12, last year, and obtained by The Post on Wednesday.

  • PM warns EU and opposition on 34th anniversary of his rule

    HUN Sen reached the milestone of 34 years as Cambodian prime minister on Monday and used the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ring road around Phnom Penh to tell the international community that putting sanctions on the Kingdom meant killing the opposition. “Please don’t forget