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Buddhism after the Khmer Rouge

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Buddhism has had a long history in Cambodia, but during the Khmer Rouge Period the religion was almost completely destroyed. The Khmer Rouge viewed monks as part of the scholarly class, thus they received particularly harsh treatment, even by Khmer Rouge standards. Prior to the Khmer Rouge, it is estimated that 65,000 monks lived in Cambodia, but by 1980 it was thought that only 3,000 Cambodian monks survived worldwide. Given the challenges in post Khmer Rouge Cambodia, Buddhism has shown remarkable resilience, serving to unify the Cambodian people after so much had been lost. Maha Ghosananda, the Supreme Buddhist patriarch of Cambodia, points out how Buddhism has helped heal the scars left by the Khmer Rouge. A New York Times article states. “Maha Ghosananda said he “does not question that loving one’s oppressors — Cambodians loving the Khmer Rouge — may be the most difficult attitude to achieve,” then added, “But it is the law of the universe that retaliation, hatred and revenge only continue the cycle.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/15/world/asia/15ghosananda.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&oref=slogin) Buddhism is alive and well in Cambodia. Almost everywhere I went, from Angkor Wat to the streets of Phnom Penh, I noticed monks praying, shopping, and going about their daily business. My Buddhist themed photographs attempt to document the revitalization of Cambodian culture after it nearly self-destructed.

Ted O'Neill 's current location:
Hartford , United States

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