Summary of the Interview in English
Interviewer: Venerable, what are your purposes in coming to Australia?
Ven. Luon Sovath: My purposes to come to Australia this time is to participate with Khmer Buddhists in Australia during this auspicious Bon Pchum Ben during this Rain Retreat Season as in Cambodia I am expelled from the pagoda by the Supreme Patriarchs and the Chief Monk of Siem Reap because of my activity in engaging with the evicted communities and the victims of land grabbing. Other purpose is to bring petition for the greater support of everyone in requesting the supreme patriarch as well as the chief monk of Siem Reap province to withdraw their orders.
Interviewer: Now, Venerable is arriving Australia, do you plan to travel to other cities as well or just stay in Melbourne?
Ven. Luon Sovath: Yes, I will travel in accordance with the invitation and friendly relationship of the Buddhist friends here.
Interviewer: so Venerable plans to stay in Australia only one month?
Ven.Luon Sovath: Yes
Interviewer: Recently, Venerable has faced many problems because of your engagement with the social activities, could Venerable discuss those issues in details for the audience here?
Ven. Luan Sovath: Truly, it is because my engagement and outreaching to the communities of land grab victims and forced eviction. In reality, it is not my problem, it is the government problem whose people have been suffered. Look at the Australian government, the suffering of the people has been justly dealt. In Cambodia, the suffering of the people have been deeply embedded by the lawless activities, physical violence and bullet shooting.
According to Buddha's teaching, everyone is equal and fully exercising basic rights. If the government followed this teaching, it would have no problem in society at all. Authority at all levels must not abuse their power. When people at the rural areas are facing suffering and violation from the richs, the policemen or authorities must help them. But in contrast, those authorities and policemen beat and shoot at the people.
On behalf of a Buddhist monk, I take no side, no discrimination and no violence. I am undertaking four sublime states of the mind ie. metta (loving-kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathy) and upekkha (neutrality). But I am not seen by this virtue, contradictorily the authority accused me of violation the rules of Buddhism and joining the political activity. Of course, all these accusations are baseless.
So I would like to appeal to everyone to deeply research on this matter and help to write an appealing letter, petition or other lobbying activities by submitting to the international communities, embassies, Cambodian government and the Buddhist institution etc. to withdraw those orders.
Interviewer: According to the order of Supreme Patriarch Noun Ngeth, it means to force Venerable to stop those activities or to defrock Venerable?
Ven. Luon Sovath: The order is tending to accuse me of political involvement and violation of Buddhist's principles. In reality, the order has clearly distorted my Engaged Buddhism, freedom of speech and rights of social participation. Understand that the order is not the rule or the principle of the Buddha's teaching. It is just a personal decision which is evidently a totalitarian manner to force me to be arrested, defrocked or expelled from the country.
But for me, I will not stop from my Engaged Buddhism. I will stand firmly with those victims in Cambodia. For me, if I am defrocked, I am keenly arrested by the new criminal law to put in jail or convicted by the authority.
I have become a monk in order to seek my personal knowledge, to help the social causes and propagate Buddhism. I am wondering, their accusation tends to stop all those primary intention of how becoming a monk of mine or what?
Buddhists and people nationwide and worldwide have supported me and my original purposes in engaging with the communities and propagating Buddhism.
Interviewer: If Venerable went back to Cambodia, is there any pagada Venerable will go to stay?
Ven. Luon Sovath: In accordance to Buddhism, the actual pagoda is inside our heart, the pagoda outside is just a symbolic one. Lord Buddha played important role in teaching us how important is the pagoda inside ourselves. Buddha traveled from places to places without having proper pagoda to stay. I am a Buddha's student, I must do the same.
Interviewer: Venerable, has you been concerning of personal security and safety?
Ven.Luon Sovath: Every being is afraid of danger and insecurity. I am the same. But my returning back to Cambodia is not feeling in insecure as I have done nothing wrong. Those who are feeling insecure because of their bad deeds and lawless activities.
Interviewer: what is your plans in Cambodia when returning back to Cambodia?
Ven. Luon Sovath: My plan is the same: to learn and practice Buddhism, to outreach to all communities and propagate Buddhism. Those plans are in accordance with principles of Buddhism, universal laws, human rights and freedom of speech.
ភិក្ខុលួន សូវ៉ាត ព្រះសង្ឃខ្មែរមួយអង្គដែលបាននិមន្តមកដល់ប្រទេសអូស្រ្តាលី កាលពីថ្ងៃសុក្រ បានមានសង្ឃដីកាថា ព្រះអង្គពុំដែលបានប្រព្រឹត្តអ្វីដែលប្រាកចាកធម៌វិន័យព្រះពុទ្ធសាសនាឬក៏ច្បាប់ជាតិ និងអន្តរជាតិនោះទេ ទោះបីជាមានការចោទប្រកាន់ពីសម្ដេចសង្ឃ នន្ទ ង៉ែត កាលពីប៉ុន្មានខែកន្លងទៅនេះថា ព្រះតេជគុណបានប្រព្រឹត្តល្មើសធម៌វិន័យរបស់ព្រះពុទ្ធសាសនាក្ដី។
ភិក្ខុលួន សូវ៉ាតបានមានថេរដីកាថា ក្រៅអំពីការចូលរួមពិធីបុណ្យភ្ជុំបិណ្ឌជាមួយនឹងពុទ្ធបរិស័ទខ្មែរនៅក្នុងប្រទេសអូស្រ្តាលី ព្រះអង្គក៏ឆ្លៀតឱកាសនេះ ប្រមែប្រមូលការគាំទ្រពីសំណាក់ពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរដែលស្រឡាញ់យុត្តិធម៌ផងដែរដើម្បីធ្វើជាញត្តិជូនដល់ស្ថាប័នអន្ដរជាតិនានា។
មួយរយៈនេះ ព្រះតេជគុណបានជួបប្រទះនឹងបញ្ហាមួយចំនួនជាមួយនឹងអាជ្ញាធរដោយសារសកម្មភាពរបស់ព្រះអង្គនៅក្នុងសង្គម រហូតដល់មានសង្ឃសម្រេចចេញដោយសម្ដេចសង្ឃមហានិកាយ ហាមប្រាមមិនឲ្យវត្តអារាមនៅប្រទេសកម្ពុជាទទួលយកព្រះតេជគុណលួន សូវ៉ាតឲ្យគង់នៅក្នុងវត្តឡើយ៕
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