Buddhism in Cambodia, Laos and Bangladesh

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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LuisR
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Buddhism in Cambodia, Laos and Bangladesh

Post by LuisR » Thu May 24, 2018 3:22 pm

How come we hear so little about Buddhism in these countries? How does it differ from other Theravada in other places?

dharmacorps
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Re: Buddhism in Cambodia, Laos and Bangladesh

Post by dharmacorps » Thu May 24, 2018 6:23 pm

As for Bangladesh, only certain parts near Burma (chittagong) are Buddhist. It is a minority religion. But there were a few prominent Buddhists from there, Dipa Ma I believe, possibly Munindra were from there.

In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge essentially successfully murdered off the entire monastic order except for Maha Ghosananda and a few others. In Laos, there was a similar process. Some Thai teachers have said that for the most part except for some parts of Laos next to Isan in Northern Thailand, the dhamma had died out, but is in the process of being revived. Sad story, but definitely some hope on the horizon.

paul
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Re: Buddhism in Cambodia, Laos and Bangladesh

Post by paul » Thu May 24, 2018 6:50 pm

Theravada in these three countries is in a state of recovery:
Bangladesh: It was the predominant faith of the region until about the 12th century, Buddhism is now the third largest religion in Bangladesh with about 0.7% of population adhering to Theravada Buddhism.

Cambodia:In 1975 when the communist Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia, they tried to completely destroy Buddhism and very nearly succeeded. By the time of the Vietnamese invasion in 1979, nearly every monk and religious intellectual had been either murdered or driven into exile, and nearly every temple and Buddhist temple and library had been destroyed.
The Khmer Rouge policies towards Buddhism- which included the forcible disrobing of monks, the destruction of monasteries, and, ultimately, the execution of uncooperative monks effectively destroyed Cambodia's Buddhist institutions.[15] Monks who did not flee and avoided execution lived among the laity, sometimes secretly performing Buddhist rituals for the sick or afflicted.[15]
Estimates vary regarding the number of monks in Cambodia prior to the ascension of the Khmer Rouge, ranging between 65,000 and 80,000.[16] By the time of the Buddhist restoration in the early 1980s, the number of Cambodian monks worldwide was estimated to be less than 3,000.

Laos: While government policy towards religion has liberalized, the Sangha remains under Party control and monks have to study official government policy. Since the 1990s, the Sangha has been re-oriented as a primarily religious organisation. With Buddhist institutions being still firmly integrated into the Party State, Buddhism and the language, moral values and lifestyles associated with it, are now again promoted as "national culture". Vatthana Pholsena describes this as "a secularized image of Buddhism in order to reconcile the official ideology and the religion." A process of the Buddhification of the political sphere, but also everyday culture and is observable, at least in regions with a high proportion of ethnic Lao.

—-Wikipedia.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Buddhism in Cambodia, Laos and Bangladesh

Post by Kim OHara » Thu May 24, 2018 9:47 pm

I have been lucky enough to visit both Cambodia and Laos in the last few years - only as a tourist and only for a couple of weeks so read my comments with that in mind.

Once consequence of the persecution in Cambodia is that it left a big gap between the few monks who survived it, who are now very old, and the new recruits to the sangha after the persecution eased, who were nearly all very young. There is, or soon will be, a period in which the leadership is quite weak/inexperienced.

The situation was better overall in Laos than in Cambodia. Temples in Luang Prabang had been looked after and clearly had adequate financial support even if numbers of monks were down. In the small town of Van Vieng we were shown a "Buddha cave" which the locals had set up as a secret temple during the worst times, but the town itself had three (IIRC) temples with resident monks and novices. We were invited to an uposatha day ceremony by the owners of our guest-house and it was very well attended.

I have posted photos from those trips on DW in the past but couldn't find them with a quick look just now - sorry.

:namaste:
Kim

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mikenz66
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Re: Buddhism in Cambodia, Laos and Bangladesh

Post by mikenz66 » Thu May 24, 2018 9:58 pm

dharmacorps wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 6:23 pm
As for Bangladesh, only certain parts near Burma (chittagong) are Buddhist. It is a minority religion. But there were a few prominent Buddhists from there, Dipa Ma I believe, possibly Munindra were from there.
We've had a number of Bangladeshi Bhikkhus and a Samanera through our local Thai Wat. Some via spending time in Sri Lanka, some via Thailand. One is back in Cittagong where he returned to look after his parents, and the local Temple. One of our former teachers (from the US via Bangkok, now deceased) adopted a number of orphans from Bangladesh, including the Samanera who spend several years here and is now a full Bhikkhu based in Los Angeles.

More recently, a Bangladeshi Bhikkhu who was here for a year or so had a couple of his (Bhikkhu) friends visit who were studying in Hong Kong at the time.

The Bangladeshis have generally better English than the Thai Bhikkhus, so it's nice to have them around.

:heart:
Mike

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pilgrim
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Re: Buddhism in Cambodia, Laos and Bangladesh

Post by pilgrim » Fri May 25, 2018 12:40 am

We also hear little about Buddhism in Cambodia and Laos as English is not widely spoken here and tourism is small. For close to 10 years, I managed a project called Dhamma Aid Asia to print Dhamma books in the local languages for free distribution in these countries and also in Vietnam, Nepal and India. All in, I figure it must have been close to 100,000 books. These books were received with great enthusiasm. I had to stop the project when I emigrated and was disappointed when I couldn't find anyone to continue it

chownah
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Re: Buddhism in Cambodia, Laos and Bangladesh

Post by chownah » Fri May 25, 2018 2:37 am

It has been many years since I went to laos but my impression is that buddhism in laos is pretty much like buddhism in thailand (where I live)......temples all around and lots of monks.
chownah

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Kim OHara
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Re: Buddhism in Cambodia, Laos and Bangladesh

Post by Kim OHara » Fri May 25, 2018 10:51 pm

This article showed up today on my usual news site and since we were talking about Cambodia, I thought I would share it ...
Meet the 'hero rats' clearing Cambodia's landmines

The sun is barely up when Thoeun Theap pulls into a clearing in the thick Cambodian bush with a giant African rat on the seat beside him.

In a few minutes the two will be out there beyond the treeline, scouring the earth for the remnants of a war Mr Theap fled almost 40 years ago.

He spends most mornings out here in no man's land with his team of pouched rat handlers from APOPO and de-miners from the Cambodian Mine Action Centre (CMAC). A step in the wrong direction could see them lose a leg.

It takes humans with metal detectors three to four days to clear explosives from a tennis court-sized area, but for APOPO's "hero rats", it's just 30 minutes.

As a Khmer Rouge survivor, Mr Theap got lucky. It's what gets him up before dawn every morning: the drive to clear his country of the explosives that make it hard for Cambodians to access roads, infrastructure and even their own backyards. ...

Born just after the Khmer Rouge took power in 1975, Mr Theap was just one week old when he lost his father to the regime.

"The Khmer Rouge knew my father used to be a soldier fighting against them. They told him to go cut bamboo in another area and he has never come back."
Mr Theap's family struggled on.

"We used to call it a jail without walls," Mr Theap remembers. "All the people in Cambodia were very skinny — big here, but very skinny here," he continues, pointing first to his joints and then to the flesh on his arms.

Under the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia was repressed into an agrarian, communist existence. Individual thought, property and intellectual learning were squashed and every aspect of life was controlled. ...
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-26/h ... es/9799632

:namaste:
Kim

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