Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tight leash for monks

This article reminds me of the time I was studying the Cambodian language under the tutelage of 3 young Cambodian monks in 2004. I discovered that monks are the same as any young boy in his teens, hormones and all. They kept a pair of binoculars to watch any young girls who came into the pagoda compound.

In addition to that, I actually had a monk fall in love with me, sending me frequent emails describing how he wanted to hold my hand and such. And this was after only meeting him once. I have to laugh a little at the thought of the monks being told to watch the boat races from a "safe distance" to keep them in line with Buddhist precepts.

Monks line up in front of Angkor Wat during a Visak Bochea Day ceremony in April. Photo by: Sovan Philong

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

By Vong Sokheng

Buddhist monks will be allowed to watch boat races during the upcoming water festival – but only from a safe distance.

The Ministry of Cults and Religions says it has banned Buddhist monks from walking freely among the crowd during the three-day festival, which runs from November 20-22, in order to preserve proper Buddhist morality.

“We are not prohibiting the Buddhist monks from taking part during the festival if the monks will gather and sit in one place that is not too close to the crowd,” said Dork Narin, secretary of state at the ministry.

“In order to keep monks in [line with] good Buddhist concepts and to keep a neutral mind, we will not allow the monks to walk freely in the crowd because the monks could break the rules if they see a sexy lady or a couple kissing in the crowd.”

Monks are expected to remain celibate, refrain from touching or being alone with women and are forbidden to drink alcohol.

At least 20 Buddhist monks were disciplined at last year’s water festival for allegedly walking amongst the crowd and flirting with girls, said Ten Borana, personal assistant to the Kingdom’s chief Buddhist monk Non Nget.


  1. thanks for sharing that article. i knew there were monks and reverends... but never really thought about the difference between the two. a have a friend who is the daughter of a Buddhist reverend. so i guess reverends are to pastors (in Christianity) as monks are to priests?

  2. There is a definite hierarch within the pagoda, with lay monks, novice monks as well as monk chiefs.