Khmer expatriate Sophoan Seng, a master’s degree holder in political science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, currently Director of KEEN Investment Groups LTD and president of the Khmer Youth Association of Alberta, acknowledges that many people in Cambodia endorse the “filled stomach and stability” theory for different reasons.“However,” Seng, a former Buddhist monk in Siemreap for more than a decade, writes, “Buddhists who have learned and experienced deep understanding of Buddha’s teachings, see that the highest goal of Buddhism is ‘liberty’, not the ‘four necessities’,” i.e., food, shelter, clothing, medicine.
His ideas are similar to those of another former monk, Heng Monychenda, who holds a master’s degree from Harvard and heads the nonprofit group, Buddhism for Development. Seng points to Buddha’s teaching that “liberty” or “Nama,” — referring to a person’s mind or spirit — and the “four necessities,” or “Rupa,” — referring to body or physical appearances — must be equalized and balanced. As Monychenda explains, “Nama-Rupa” means that mind and matter must go together. “Mind affects matter and matter affects the mind,” i.e., spiritual and economic development should not be separated into two separate realms, he says.
CAMBODIA: “O Khmer euy Khmer, chous ach knong srae” – ឱខ្មែរអើយខ្មែរ! ជុះអាចម៏ក្នុងស្រែ
|Protesters spell the word “Aphivath” or “Development” with their shoes (Photo: The Phnom Penh Post)|
Asian Human Rights Commission
#701A Westley Square,
48 Hoi Yuen Road, Kwun Tong, Kowloon,
Tel: +(852) 2698-6339
Fax: +(852) 2698-6367