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Over 500 Youth Ordained in Spiritual Ceremony at Preah In Tep Pagoda in Siem Reap

PHNOM PENH, May 21, 2024 — In a spiritual gathering, 540 young men and women were ordained at Preah In Tep Pagoda in the historic city of Angkor Thom, Siem Reap. The ordination ceremony, held on May 18, is part of the Visak Bochea celebrations, which run from May 18 to May 23, 2024.

Organized by the APSARA National Authority, the event is designed to deepen the younger generation's connection to Buddhism, fostering a continuum of religious and cultural traditions. Venerable Chum Kim Leng, the chief monk of Siem Reap province’s Mohanikaya sect and Chairman of the Council of Monks on Angkor Pagoda Affairs, presided over the ceremony. The event also saw the participation of prominent local figures including Lok Chumteav Nhem Sakhorn SarKheng, Lok Chumteav Ke Suon Sophy SarSokha, and Mr. Ngov Sengkak, Deputy Governor of Siem Reap, alongside a large congregation of Buddhist followers.

This ordination is particularly poignant as Cambodia gears up to celebrate Visak Bochea Day on May 22, one of Buddhism's holiest days. This day is observed in commemoration of the birth, enlightenment, and nirvana of Master Buddha, encapsulating the profound essence of Buddhist teachings.

Internationally recognized by the United Nations in 2000, Visak Bochea Day is a public holiday in Cambodia and many other Buddhist countries. It serves as a reflective occasion for Buddhists to honor the life and teachings of Buddha, engaging in various religious activities such as prayer, meditation, and almsgiving. The day is also marked by public sermons and processions, and is seen as an opportunity to recommit to practicing compassion, peace, and love, which are core aspects of Buddhism.

The celebrations at Preah In Tep Pagoda are a microcosm of the wider festivities that take place across Cambodia, featuring various cultural performances and religious rituals that draw participants and spectators from all walks of life. These events not only celebrate Buddhist traditions but also aim to educate and integrate the younger population into the spiritual and moral ethos of Buddhism.

The ordination event and the wider Visak Bochea celebrations underscore the vibrant spiritual life in Cambodia and the enduring importance of Buddhism in shaping societal values and individual lives. As the country continues to modernize, these traditional celebrations play a crucial role in maintaining the cultural heritage and spiritual well-being of the Cambodian people.

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