Ven. Luon Sovath: My first intention in coming to Australia is by the kind invitation of Cambodian-Australians to attend Pchum Ben Festival here. As you know, I am marginalized by the Cambodian Buddhist leaders to banning me from staying in any temple there. With this banning, I cannot fully practice Buddhism and my opportunity in participating with Pchum Ben Festival doesn't have in Cambodia. Second intention is to seek for assistance from all Cambodians and main stream people to write letter, petition including other campaigns to request Cambodian supreme patriarch to drop those directives that have banned me from staying in the temple.
Virak Oum: Kona heard Preah Dejkun mentioned about the banning by the supreme patriarch by the directives accused Preah Dejkun on the incitement, let returning back to the background of this banning, why the supreme patriarch issued such directives?
Ven. Luon Sovath: Po (yes), it is because of my social engagement in helping the people (farmers) who were facing with violence committed by the local authority in a land grabbing. But when I preached about non-violence and threatening or other unwholesome deeds, and as I am a monk, I have no material means to help them but to preach and to spiritually guide them. Hence, the authority was mad at me, later on there were directives from the supreme patriarch accused me of incitement and politic, and ordered all temples not to accept me to stay.
Virak Oum: According to the video clips broadcasted online by the International Human Rights Websites highlighted some violent acts of some monks towards Preah Dejkun, are those acts appropriate in Buddhism?
Ven. Luon Sovath: Po (yes), actually in Buddhism if we look at scriptures especially Lord Buddha, He gave up secular power as the emperior to live a simple life and instructed people to love peace, practice Dhamma for enlightenment, and non-violence. I became a monk in accordance with this example and the Dhamma discourses in the scripture. I was ordained by the genuine preceptors and I have practiced the right Dhamma, not by other excuses. But look at those monks, they acted violent towards me and their acts were not independent. They worked in accordance with the signals of others. Those accusations occurred without durable to the Buddha Dhamma, the Vinaya and the state law. The acts as well as the directives were solely issued by the private individuals, not by the Bhikkhu monk assembly in accordance with the Buddha Vinaya. By those interferences of secular authority and the individual decision-making of the Bhikkhu monk, it led to violence over me and banning me from the temple which are not durable to the Buddha Dhamma and the national law.
Virak Oum: Up to now, are there any organizations giving support?
Ven. Luon Sovath: Po (yes), what I have been carrying out, there are huge supports from individual Cambodian and NGOs in both domestic and international arena. especially those victims of abuses and bad treatment from the authority. Only the supreme patriarch and authority who are not giving me any support. In contrast, they have accused me of involving with politics or committing incitement.
I would like to proclaim that my activity is purely following the Buddha Dhamma. I don't incite people to hate this group or love that group. I have never destroyed national assets or taken those public wealths as personal property, or I have never committed any crimes by killing or abusing innocent people. Why they accused me as a political monk? In contrast, the few Buddhist top leaders have become a monk by the ordaining from whom? What goals did he primarily set up in becoming a monk? And what has he done for Cambodian Buddhism nowadays?
If we debate on the term "politic", in developed countries, top leaders have encouraged their citizens to involve in politics, more they talk and involve in politic, the country leaders will admire them. Those participations can help improve the country. Politic or Nayobay comes from Naya and Ubay means "strategy leading to progressive". In Cambodia, people are explained in a wrong concept and as an evidence, Nayobay in Cambodia was devastated by the previous regimes and some bad leaders, that these lead to the inactive involvement of the Cambodian citizens. Many people scar when they heard the term "Nayobay". During the war and genocide, Cambodian innocent people were entrapped by the violence and murdering. But up to now, this image is still haunting them. The Cambodian top leaders are still using this term to threat and discourage the Cambodian people.
I would like to ensure that Nayobay is the leadership that can lead to advancement and development. And if it can lead to advancement and development, why we are so scaring of it? And we should not accuse each other or color each other any more. Who is the top leader of Nayobay? If we look at by taking as a good example is the Buddha. He was the leader of human being and Devas. His Nayobay is non-violence, peace, unity, compassion and enlightenment. His Nayobay is to sacrifice and embrace detachment. Some of Cambodians have also accused me of doing Nayobay. Of course, do I have attached to any position, wealth and power status? In reality, in sending our children to school is allowing them to learn about Nayobay. In developed countries, citizens can debate on all issues including politics, economic and social and the leaders encourage them to do so. But in Cambodia, debating about politic, economic or social are not encouraged at all.
Virak Oum: So after visiting here, Preah Dejkun will go to Cambodia?
Ven.Luon Sovath: Po, I will travel to Sydney to seek more support in writing letters to request supreme patriarch to drop those directives and accusation. I would like to appeal everyone to support whatever you can to find justice and development for Cambodians. From Sydney, I will return to Melbourne to stay there few days. I will leave Australia to Cambodia on October 20th, 2011.
All Buddhists must practice the Buddha Dhamma together in a right thought, right view, right speech, right action and right dedication.
(Unofficial translation by Pheak)