A Change of Guard

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Friday, 2 July 2010

South Carolina Monks Honor Jayavarman VII

Photo: AP

King Norodom Sihanouk, center, blesses a newly restored statue of King Jayavarman VII, at the National Museum.

A Cambodian community in South Carolina is ready to celebrate a stupa to honor the ancient Khmer king Jayavarman VII.

Monks at the Sao Sokh San temple in Wellford, S.C.—home to about 300 Cambodian families—say they hope thousands of Cambodian-Americans will join in the ceremony to open the pagoda starting Tuesday.

“We want to show the four virtues of the great Bayon temple,” said venerable monk Sao Khon, head of the temple. “All these virtues that King Jayavarman VII spread to all human beings and religions in that period to protect the country.”

The stupa, which includes a Buddha relic on the third tier, took three years to build with money from Cambodian communities across the US.

“All the money came from Khmer people in Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, North Carolina and South Carolina,” Sao Khon said.

Men Meya, a volunteer fundraiser from Rhode Island, said she spent 15 hours driving to the pagoda to help.

“It’s the first time that we built the stupa for Jayavarman VII in the States,” she said. “It’s a benefit to the Khmer society and people.”

Prom Samrit, another supporters of the stupa, said even though he’d spent money and energy on the stupa, he was glad it had been erected.

“King Jayavarman VII said the suffering of all people was also his suffering,” he said.


Anonymous said...

After Jayavarman VII introduced Buddhism in the Country, the Khmer Empire had been declining to Zero and was almost swallowed by the neighboring Countrie...until the arrival of the French Colonialists.

Is it true?

A PPenh resident

Anonymous said...

Sorry, "Countries" with S

Anonymous said...

12:50 AM, True. Without the French Protectorate (colonization), which started in 1863, Cambodia will be torn apart- swallowed by two neighbors. Parts of Cambodia to the west of the Mekong will be swallowed by Siam (Thailand) and east of the Mekong will be swallowed by Annam (Vietnam). After France established a colonial administration in Cambodia, it managed to save Cambodia from extinction- stopping the advance of Annam to the west and stopping Siam's advance to the east. Most important thing was the French was able to take back at least three Cambodian provinces from Thailand, namely Siem Reap, Battambang, Sirisophon (currently Banteay Meanchey) and parts of Pursat and Kampong Thom provinces. But we have to give Trat (Krat) and Chantaburi to Siam in exchange for these provinces.