Dhamma in Cambodia – Abhdidhamma Vipassana


Valued Dhammika and Dhammikinis

I just had a very nice found (http://www.buddhisti…in_cambodia.htm ) and I would like to share it with you (note, I had no time to read it, but something tells me, that it is useful). I did some quick general formatting to make a readable html file and attached it.
I don’t know Sister Acharn Sujin, but Put Sawong (a lay teacher, former monk who renounced the “holy” life to be better able to teach) is for sure the foremost teacher and most respected by a huge fellowship, still more then on earth. There are plenty of teachings in Khmer language, but it is the first time that I came across English translations.

You should also know, even there is always a lot of national struggle, that all the old scripts have been always in khmer-pali in Thailand and with time it changed to an own identity. So very authentic scripts will be found in mom-khmer / pali language and even the general information is a different, it is known that Theravada was first known in the Khmer empire while it was later addopted by Siam. How ever, it should not be a matter of ethnics (which is at least pointless), but simply a hint that you may find very special things in a forgotten land where it might rotten soon (2000 is like 150 years ago, and times have changed, in SOE things are gone much quicker if not maintained), no more accessible to anybody. We all know the stories of Kamboja (the Indo – Iran tripe often mentioned in the canon) and we also know the mystic story of “New” Cambodia, which of course gives plenty of stuff for papanca, but that is not the reason why mentioned. It’s just a finger point and maybe this teachings here are useful in regard of what is really important and that is release.


This book is the translation from Thai of the recorded Dhamma discussions held in Cambodia December 2000, under the leadership of Acharn Sujin. I wish to express my great appreciation to Acharn Sujin who gave us Dhamma all day during our journey in Cambodia. We were overwhelmed by the confidence in the Dhamma expressed by our Cambodian friends. They came to the temples in great numbers, welcoming Acharn and all of us, and before and after each session they lined up and said in a loud voice, again and again, “Anumodaniya”, which means appreciation.

Our journey was organized in Thailand by Fongchan Nanta (Khun Ell) and in Cambodia by But Sawong who was the interpreter during the sessions which took place almost twice every day in different temples. But Sawong is a great teacher and the driving force to reestablish Buddhism in Cambodia, after the Pol Pot regime. He had learnt Thai in order to follow Acharn Sujin’s radio program on Buddhism and he comes regularly to Thailand in order to listen to Acharn Sujin. He teaches the Cambodians the development of Satipatthāna in daily life and people have great confidence in him.

During the sessions Acharn Sujin spoke about daily life, about dukkha, sorrow, and sukha, happiness, saying that nobody can control the amount of happiness or sorrow he experiences, and that it all depends on conditions. At that moment we thought of the many tribulations our Cambodian friends had experienced during the Pol Pot regime. They had lost husband, wife, family members and friends, they had suffered a great deal. But they understood that it all happened because of conditions. They were keenly interested in Satipatthāna and asked many questions about this subject. We were impressed by their great confidence and interest while they listened to Acharn Sujin’s explanations of the Dhamma.

The first session was held in the main temple, the Unaloam Temple, where the Patriarch, the head monk of Cambodia, was present. He showed his appreciation of Acharn Sujin’s explanations of the Dhamma and he also asked questions on Satipatthāna.

Apart from the sessions in the temples we also had Dhamma discussions in the hotels in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. In Siem Reap we visited the famous temple complex of Angkor Wat. On the “Terrace of the Elephants” we even had a Dhamma discussion in the open air and, here again, a great crowd of Cambodians came to listen. Acharn said that we should benefit from being in this life where we can hear the Dhamma. We should not neglect the study of the Dhamma because we cannot be sure whether we have in the next life an opportunity again to study it.

At this moment everything is Dhamma, reality. We hear about Dhammas but we do not know the characteristic of Dhammas. Therefore, we should listen again so that there are conditions for sati to be aware of realities, and in this way there will be more understanding of the characteristics of Dhammas. The characteristics of realities should be known, and we do not have to name them. Acharn also stressed that the development of paññā leads to detachment, to the abandoning of ignorance and the wrong view of self. If we have desire for the arising of sati there is lobha, no understanding of the Dhamma. This was a perfect Dhamma lecture in a place where we were surrounded by trees and the remnants of the old monuments.

Acharn Sujin explained to the Cambodians that everything that naturally appears can be the object of Satipatthāna. The study of the scriptures is necessary as a foundation and it should not be neglected, but the purpose of the study should not be forgotten: the understanding of the present moment. She stressed many points we had heard before, but we can never hear enough that nama and rupa appear at this moment and that understanding of them can be developed now, not at another time.

I have added footnotes to the text to help the reader who may not be familiar with certain notions and terms.
I am extremely grateful to Acharn Sujin who gave Dhamma to all with great selflessness and tirelessness. I also wish to express my appreciation to But Sawong and all our Cambodian friends whose confidence and interest were an inspiration to all of us.

Nina van Gorkom

Please feel invited to receive and share this give form khema (Khmer) people (and its not meant by birth but by deeds)
the html should be easy to but in other formats (it could be that there are still some small tag errors and that a certain sign is not put into Utf-8, please apologize)

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