By Sun Narin
About ninety percent of Cambodian people believe in Buddhism. Constitutional law states Buddhism is the state religion. It is noticeable that some religions have influenced in the country, especially Christianity. A number of Cambodians start to pick up the religion. This concerns Buddhism in Cambodia.
Meas Sivantha is 52 years old. She is sitting in the church with her kid. She is lying her both hands on the leg, closing her eyes and singing for god. Before, she believed in Buddhism, but she just changed to believe in Christianity for nearly 3 months. She says that when she goes to the church, she is taught and she tries to remember the bible.
“When I come to the church, the god will help me when I have trouble. I met a lot of difficulties, so I may follow that religion. It is not complicated. They allow us to come and study,” she said.
Two and a half percent of Cambodian people believe in Christianity. Thirteen Christian churches locate in Phnom Penh and some others in the several provinces.
Kong Sophoan is a director of Phnom Penh-based church in Chamkar Morn district. He has believed in Christianity for around 7 years. He says that all religions are good for people and they have rights to choose what they want.
“Actually Christianity is the same as Buddhism. Both of them are good. We do not invade Buddhism. We just spread it. If people believe us, we will accept them,” he said.
We can see that now there are a lot of Christian missionaries in Cambodia. They go to teach Cambodia’s people and want them to believe in god. This influence impacts our Buddhism in the future.
Venerable Chhuon Pov is a monk at Phnom Penh-based Langka pagoda. He says that the increasing of Christianity is overwhelmed. He explains that there are 3 reasons leading people to believe in Christianity including low education, poverty and materialism.
“This can makes people especially youths want to join the Christianity. People should understand their religion clearly,” he said, adding that the relevant authority should take actions to curb the influence of this religion.
Chhuon Samet is 65 years old and Buddhist believer. He is in the pagoda with his relatives to give monks the offerings. He is chanting in front of the monks. He says that believing religion is dependent on people themselves.
“I cannot say it affects Buddhism or people when it comes to our country. It’s up to people preference and believing. I they think it’s good, they can follow it. If not, they can stop it,” he said.
Khon Dara is the deputy director of religion affairs at the ministry of Cult and Religion. I think that this is not the problem at all and people can benefit from that.
“Actually Christianity helps Cambodia’s people a lot on mental, material and technique. It educates people to love and help each other. It teaches other knowledge, English, computer and administration to our youths,” he said.
He explains that the idea that Christianity is increasing is just the speech of some people who do not understand clearly about the religion and integrated world.
However, he says that the ministry of Cult and Religion is always working on the problem to refrain it from affecting Buddhism.
“We have directives, rules and education to control the religion. I do not allow this religion to do whatever they want without making progress in Cambodia,” he said.