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Chair of Donate-a-Meal Fund for Peace Signs Agreement on Project to Support Revival of Buddhism in Cambodia

January 2016

A signing ceremony for a joint project conducted by Rissho Kosei-kai and the Cambodian government to support the revival of Buddhist studies in Cambodia was held January 8 at the Ministry of Cults and Religion in Phnom Penh.

Rev. Masahiro Nemoto, chair of the Executive Committee of Rissho Kosei-kai's Donate-a-Meal Fund for Peace and Rissho Kosei-kai's executive specialist in charge of interreligious cooperation, and Mr. Min Khin, minister of Cults and Religion, signed the agreement. Ten other Cambodian government officials were also present, including Mr. Sar Sokny, director of the National Buddhist Institute of Cambodia.

Ahead of the ceremony, Rev. Nemoto conferred with Mr. Min in the latter's office at the ministry. Mr. Min expressed thanks for Rissho Kosei-kai's long-term support through its Donate-a-Meal Fund for Peace. Rev. Nemoto said he hoped the institute would continue promoting its activities.

On the morning of January 9, Rev. Nemoto conferred with Mr. Yi Thon, the secretary of state, the Royal Palace's religious affairs assistant, at the latter's office in the Ministry of Royal Palace. After that Rev. Nemoto paid a courtesy call on the grand supreme patriarch of Cambodia, Ven. Tep Vong, at Cambodian Buddhism's head temple, Wat Ounalom, in Phnom Penh. That afternoon he also visited the local office of the Tokyo-based NGO Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA) where he was briefed on its ongoing projects. On January 10 he toured the site in Svay Rieng Province where Rissho Kosei-kai promoted a tree-planting program jointly with SVA.

Theravada Buddhism has been Cambodia's state religion since the 13th century except during the Khmer Rouge period (1975-79). Before the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia, Buddhist monks preached ethics and morality and the temples played an important role in spreading education, thereby helping to preserve Cambodian culture. The National Buddhist Institute of Cambodia, founded in 1921 in Phnom Penh, helped promote Buddhist studies as a center for the preservation and development of Cambodian Buddhist culture and related publishing. However, the Khmer Rouge burned most of the Buddhist sutras and the publications housed at the institute, thus destroying much of Cambodia's spiritual heritage.

Since the end of the Cambodian-Vietnamese war in 1991, the Cambodian government has aimed to rebuild the country through a revival of Buddhism, and it is believed that reopening the institute would symbolize the revival of Cambodian Buddhist culture. In 1995, through SVA, the Ministry of Cults and Religion asked Rissho Kosei-kai to help finance the rebuilding of the institute. Rissho Kosei-kai agreed to help Cambodia recover through the revival of Buddhism. With the help of a donation of 124 million Japanese yen (about $1 million) from the Donate-a-Meal Fund for Peace, the institute reopened in 2002. Since then it has conducted research projects on Buddhism and published books on Buddhism in the Khmer language.

Since January 2015 the Executive Committee of the Donate-a-Meal Fund for Peace has discussed financial and management issues with the institute, and both agreed to a new, three-year joint project financed by a donation from the fund of 22 million Japanese yen ($181,940). The project includes the publication of a quarterly magazine in the Khmer language and training programs for the institute's staff members.


A signing ceremony for a joint project conducted by Rissho Kosei-kai and the Cambodian government to support the revival of Buddhist studies in Cambodia was held January 8 at the Ministry of Cults and Religion in Phnom Penh.
A signing ceremony for a joint project conducted by Rissho Kosei-kai and the Cambodian government to support the revival of Buddhist studies in Cambodia was held January 8 at the Ministry of Cults and Religion in Phnom Penh.
A signing ceremony for a joint project conducted by Rissho Kosei-kai and the Cambodian government to support the revival of Buddhist studies in Cambodia was held January 8 at the Ministry of Cults and Religion in Phnom Penh.
A signing ceremony for a joint project conducted by Rissho Kosei-kai and the Cambodian government to support the revival of Buddhist studies in Cambodia was held January 8 at the Ministry of Cults and Religion in Phnom Penh.

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