The Impact of Buddhism on Cambodian Way of Life
Ven. Suy Sovann
Cambodia is a small Theravada Buddhist country in Southeast Asia. It is also known as the temple capital of Asia. It is full of surprises, and is a place that Buddhism has been well observed in ages. King Ashoka sent missionaries to the land of Suwannaphumi, which has sometimes been identified as the mainland Southeast Asian region of Mon (now a state in Myanmar, the state of Mon) and Khmer (now Cambodia) people.
Buddhist monks traditionally were called upon to perform a number of functions in Cambodian life. The monk traditionally occupied a unique position in the transmission of Khmer culture and values. By his way of life, he provided a living model of the most meritorious behavior a Buddhist could follow. He also provided the laity with many opportunities for gaining merit. For centuries monks were the only literate people residing in rural communities; they acted as teachers to temple servants, to novices, and to newly ordained monks.
Until the 1970s, most literate Cambodian males gained literacy solely through the instruction of the Sangha. Cambodian people keep Buddhism as righteous way of life which can lead them to peace and happiness in their own families and society. The Sangha and Temples have played important roles in Cambodian society as monks work as teachers, spiritual teacher, monks work as doctors when people get sick, monks work as lawyers when people get troubles, monasteries plays as hospitals for people, monasteries plays as schools for training, etc., These are the most important things to show us how strong the influence of Buddhism on Cambodian life. The language, way of life, literature and culture of Cambodia cannot be separated from Buddhism. This is to show us how much Buddhism takes care of our Humanities.
In short, the Impact of Buddhism on Cambodian Way of Life will show us how Cambodian people practise Buddhism as way of life through generations and how Buddhism helps Cambodian society to be a peaceful country.
Therefore, I hope this topic, the Impact of Buddhism on Cambodian Way of Life, can explore the Buddhist way of life practised in Cambodia as well as other Buddhist countries in the world. I want to explore how Buddhism can be practised in our daily lives. This is my aim as a Buddhist monk.
Keywords: History, Impact, Buddhism, Cambodian, Way of Life