- Holy Venerable the Great Supreme Patriarchs of two orders of Nikay;
- Holy Venerable Heads and Venerable Monks from all Buddhist denominations;
- Holy Venerable the Great Supreme Patriarchs Prasit Suddhabandhu, Senior Advisor of the World Fellowship of Buddhists and Head of Wat Bo Pagoda, Thailand;
- Venerable Metteyya Sakyaputta, Venerable Deputy Head of the Lumbini Development Trust;
- Excellency Ganesh Prasad Timilsina, Chairman of the National Assembly of Nepal;
- Hon. Mr. Phallop Thaiarry, President of the World Fellowship of Buddhists;
- Her Excellency Madam Khuon Sudary, Chairperson of the Asian Cultural Council;
- Hon. Mr. Morita Noritada, Wiseman of the Asian Cultural Council;
- Representatives of Universitas Negeri Padang;
- High Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps and the UNESCO;
- Samdechs, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
To begin, I have a great honor and delight to welcome Holy Venerables, Samdech, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen to Phnom Penh, the Capital City of the Kingdom of Cambodia, a historical city, which has been recognized as a city rich in culture, and is a testament to the progress of Buddhism in the Cambodian society for the last 500 years.
This city is well suited for celebrating the Visakha Bochea Day, recognized by the United Nations as a day of global significance for humanity. I would like to take this opportunity to humbly thank the Organizing Committee and all the authorities concerned, for splendidly organizing and hosting this auspicious ceremony. I would also like to thank the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) for granting the title “Patron of the World Fellowship of Buddhists” and Universitas Negeri Padang of the Republic of Indonesia for granting the “Honorary Doctorate in Humanities” to me. I am truly grateful for this noble gesture.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Hon. Mr. Morita Noritada, who has been actively connecting the Mekong countries and promoting peace and regional development since 1993. After thirty years, he is also being here with us today. May I dedicate the acceptance of the Title and the Degree to the contributions he has made in his many capacities as one of the wisemen of Asia. He is the first person from the Asian Development Bank to have met with me to discuss about having Cambodia joining the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Programme. His relentless participation in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Cambodia deserves my heartfelt appreciation and respect. Not only has he been visiting Preah Vihear Temple the most, he also provided a stimulus to the success of the many Cambodia-Thailand peacebuilding and development cooperation initiatives.
- Holy Venerable,
- Samdech, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen!
The granting of the Title and the Degree signifies the great honour for myself and the people of Cambodia, and embodies the inextricable interplays of Buddhism, peace, development and the peaceful and harmonious co-existence among mankind. Put it simply, this truly is the tenets of the Teachings of the Buddha that resonate prominently in social, cultural, political and economic lives of the people.
As a Buddhist myself, I find the Teachings of the Buddha a fundamental philosophy of realism and pragmatism that treasures the application of non- violence, tolerance, care, respect, love, compassion and mercy. These virtues have been the single most important source of inspiration for the leading of my personal and professional life.
As a nation, I wish to highlight that Cambodia has adopted Buddhism as the State religion in the 1993 Constitution. This represents our single spirit and philosophy. I am proud to say that Buddhism has been the underlying yardstick for Cambodia’s peacebuilding, national reconciliation, post- conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation, and our constructive engagement in regional and international humanitarian and peace efforts in the region and the world.
In this regard, I would like to acknowledge and appreciate the outstanding achievements and efforts of the WFB in propagating the Teachings of the Buddha, promoting the values of Buddhism and connecting Buddhist communities across the world, to achieve the noble causes of peace for humanity. On these grounds, I would like to wholeheartedly support the mission and vision of the WFB in further promoting inter-faith propagation to serve the interests of humanity and our Planet Earth. I would also like to take this opportunity to commend Islam and other religions that have been contributing to peace building, peacekeeping and development in Cambodia in the past and at present. At the same time, I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of the Asian Cultural Council, with the support of the Asian Vision Institute, for being steadfast in promoting the cultural, religious and civilized corridors, connecting countries in the Mekong, Asia Pacific region and beyond.
To build on these progresses, I take the pleasure to share my personal perspectives as follows:
- Encourage the development of initiatives that link the Buddhist civilization around the world to further promote the education, propagation and publication of the Teachings of the Buddha, through which academic institutions, think tanks, Buddhist institutes or universities can build into their educational and research programmes.
- Promote the deeper and closer practical cooperation among the Buddhist countries in the Mekong and beyond, to cultivate Buddhism values and philosophies, leading to justice, solidarity, mutual respect, tolerance and peaceful coexistence of humanity.
In light of the resolution adopted at the 6th General Conference of the WFB held in Phnom Penh in 1961 under the auspicious leadership of Her Majesty Sisowath Monivong Kossamak Nearireat Srey Vathana, the Queen Mother and the Head of State His Highness Prince Norodom Sihanouk, I would like to call on the world Buddhist communities to continue closely working with governments, State institutions and civil society organizations to end and prevent all kinds and forms of war, hatred, violence and other acts that are destructive to humanity.
On behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to reiterate that Cambodia will continue to embrace the Buddhism values, virtues and philosophies, and the people of Cambodia will continue to enjoy the freedom of religions as stated under our Constitution.
I wish to call on the WFB, the Asian Cultural Council, and the Cambodian and international Buddhist communities to work together with UNESCO and other United Nation agencies to further promote inter-faith harmony to achieve our common goal of peace and stability. In closing my remarks, I am of the view that the 75th Anniversary of the WFB should be held in the Kingdom of Cambodia in 2025. I would like to wish you all the four gems of Buddha’s blessings, namely longevity, nobility, happiness and strength.