Monthly Archives: April 2012

Khmer New Year, April 13-14, B.E 2556, A.D 2012

On the occasion of Khmer New Year B.E 2556, A.D 2012, we have successfully celebrated this important cultural ceremony on the evening of April 13 at Bodhikaram Temple and in the Morning of April 14 at Tom Brown Arena crowded attending by Cambodian and non Cambodian people around Ottawa-Gatineau. Very Special Thanks to Everyone who came to join us in this fabulous occasion for observing meritorious event together . May your life be filled peace, prosperity, healthy, wealthy, happiness and be freed from suffering! May all beings around the globe be blessed with happiness and positive lives!


Khmer-English Calendar 2012

This gallery contains 12 photos.

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One Dhamma, One Buddhism

I participated in an inter-religious forum on 25th April 2009. As the event was held at the Pure Life Society, I thought I would dress as their members do, so I donned a long white blouse with a matching white shawl draped over my shoulders. Little did I know, this attire attracted curious stares from my fellow panelists.

“Are you a nun?”, one of the panelists asked me.

“No, I still have hair,” I answered, pointing to my head.

We got talking over a cup of tea, and he asked, “So, which religion are you representing?”

Buddhism,” I said.

“Buddhism? Hmm…”, he mulled over my reply, then questioned further, “So, which school do you belong to?”

“I belong to Buddhism”, I said. “There is only ONE school.”

My learned friend disagreed, and said I must declare whether I belong to the Sri Lankan school or Chinese school, or the other schools. They are all different, he insisted, and proceeded to explain to me that if I have been sent by Brickfields, I must belong to the Sri Lankan school.

I smiled and told him, “There is only ONE school, my friend. The teachings and doctrines are exactly the same in all the traditions.”

I could see my friend wasn’t too happy with my answer.

He would have preferred that I declared which school or sect I belonged to. That would have been more “proper”, to him.

But why? Why are we so concerned over our differences?

We can’t we look at the similiarities instead?

After the Buddha attained Mahaparinibbana, there arose, over a period of time, two major traditions, that is, the Theravada and the Mahayana. Later, when the Dhamma went northwards, Vajarayana came into being. Although some of the devotional practices may differ slightly, the basic doctrine of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path are the same in all these traditions. Ajahn Brahm, the ever-popular and well-loved Dhamma master from Australia, calls his tradition, “Hahayana”!

The three traditions arose because when the Buddha instructed His monks to go forth and teach the Dhamma for the good of the many, He told them specifically to allow His teachings to blend in with the local cultures of the people. Hence, we can see for ourselves that the sublime teachings of the Buddha have indeed blended in beautifully and harmoniously with the various cultures of the world today. For example, there is no need for a Buddhist to change his or her name, and Buddhists everywhere still observe and celebrate the many festivals in their respective cultures, as long as the practices do not bring harm to themselves and others.

When the Bengali Buddhist teacher, Atisha Dipankara Shrijnana, first went to Tibet in the 11th century, he was asked how one should practise since there were many traditions of Buddhism. Atisha replied, “You should find the essential point common to all the teachings and practice that way”.

Great thinkers and spiritually-developed people will always choose to see the similarities rather than the differences in the various religious teachings. One goal, many paths. All religions teach us to do good and be good. The emphasis may be on different aspects – the devotional, the ritualistic or basic day-to-day practice, training of the mind, but the ultimate objective is to train and guide us to be as good as we possibly can.

More so, in a world that is torn by differences, political, cultural or religious, there is a greater need for us to see and appreciate our similarities. Why should we waste our time splitting hairs trying to prove who is “better” or more right? Ultimately, as the Buddha says, every sentient being has the Buddha Nature, that pure and brilliant mind that can be developed to perfection. Buddhists call it Nibbana, Hindus call it Moksha, and the Christians call it The Kingdom of Heaven.

There is one Dhamma, not many; Distinctions arise from the needs of the ignorant.

– Seng T’san

Buddhist Contribution to Humanity

Buddhism as a religion has served the hopes and aspirations of humanity well; it has fostered within the social organism a commendable way of life and a communal spirit marked by endeavours towards peace and contentment. It has been in the forefront of human welfare.

Even in politics it was acknowledged on many occasions as a significant break-through in fair treatment, democratic procedures and regard for basic, moral values. Buddhism has given a distinct flavour to the cultures of the Orient. Buddhism has supplied fine and ethical basic attitudes amongst the people who adopted it in one form or another.

 Indeed, the immense potential of Buddhism has not been realised by many people who have adopted it only to a limited extent. The capacity of the Buddha‘s teaching to enhance an individual’s personal and general potential has been overshadowed by the contributions of Buddhism to art and literature. But one aspect of Buddhism which has remained of paramount importance throughout its history is its clear Rationalism. Reason, though often overruled to everyone’s regret, is something that belongs to humanity, to civilize them, no matter how obscured it may be by the other facets of human nature such as emotions. Buddhism will continue to exhort man to be a rational being, ruled by the head, but giving due consideration to the heart as well.

 The Buddha’s contribution to the social and spiritual progress of mankind was so remarkable that His message which spread all over the world won the love and affection of the people with a devotion that was unprecedented. It is well worth considering that Buddhism does not choose people by following them to convert them with promises of heaven. It is the people who choose Buddhism.


Impact of Buddhism on Civilization

Today Buddhism remains as a great civilizing force in the modern world. As a civilizing force, Buddhism awakens the self-respect and feeling of self-responsibility of countless people and stirs up the energy of many a nation. It fosters spiritual progress by appealing to the thinking powers of human beings. It promotes in people the sense of tolerance by remaining free from religious and national narrowness and fanaticism. It tames the wild and refines the citizens to be clear and sober in mind. In short, Buddhism produces the feeling of self-reliance by teaching that the whole destiny of humanity lies in their own hands, and that they themselves possess the faculty of developing their own energy and insight in order to reach the highest goal.

For over two thousand years, Buddhism has satisfied the spiritual needs of nearly one-fifth of mankind. Today the appeal of Buddhism is as strong as ever. The Teachings of the Buddha remain among the richest spiritual resources of mankind because they lift the horizon of human effort to a higher level beyond a mere dedication to man’s insatiable needs and appetites. Owing to its breadth of per­spective, the Buddha’s vision of life has a tendency to attract intellectuals who have exhausted their individual quest for meaning. However, the fruit of the Buddha’s vision is something more than intellectual gymnastics or solace for the intellectually effete. Buddhism does not encourage verbal speculation and argument for its own sake.

Buddhism is practical, rational and offers a realistic view of life and of the world. It does not entice people into living in a fool’s paradise, nor does it frighten and agonize people with all kinds of imaginary fears and guilt-feelings. It does not create religious fanatics to disturb the followers of other religions. The Buddhist attitude to other religions is remarkable. Instead of converting the followers of other religions into Buddhism, Buddhists can encourage them to practise their own religions because Buddhists never think the followers of other religions are bad people. Buddhism tells us exactly and objectively what we are and what the world around us is, and shows us the way to perfect freedom, peace, tranquility and happiness.

If humanity today is to be saved from reacting against the moral standards taught by religions, Buddhism is a most effective vehicle. Buddhism is the religion of humanity, whose founder was a human being who sought no divine revelation or intervention in the formulation of His Teachings. In an age when human beings are overwhelmed by their success in the control of the material universe, they might like to look back and take stock of the achievements they have made in controlling the most difficult of all phenomena: their own selves. It is in this quest that the modern human beings will find in Buddhism an answer to their numerous problems and doubts.

Today, Buddhism appeals to the West because it has no dogmas, and it satisfies both the reason and the heart alike. It insists on self-reliance coupled with tolerance for others. It embraces modern scientific discoveries if they are for constructive purposes. Buddhism points to man alone as the creator of his present life and as the sole designer of his own destiny. Such is the nature of Buddhism. This is why many modern thinkers who are not themselves Buddhist have described Buddhism as a religion of freedom and reason.

The Buddha’s message of peace and compassion radiated in all directions and the millions who came under its influence adopted it very readily as a new way of religious life.


Khmer New Year April 13-14, 2012

Three Days of Khmer New Year

-Maha Songkran: Maha Songkran, derived from Sanskrit Maha Sangkranti, is the name of the first day of the new year celebration. It is the ending of the year and the beginning of a new one. People dress up and light candles and burn incense sticks at shrines, where the members of each family pay homage to offer thanks for the Buddha‘s teachings by bowing, kneeling and prostrating themselves three times before his image. For good luck (according to ancient belief) people wash their face with holy water in the morning, their chests at noon, and their feet in the evening before they go to bed.

In Buddhist Teaching, the three ways of good luck as mentioned above are reminding people to do good deed by purifying the three actions which are Verbal Action, Mental Action and Bodily Action. To have good luck or Happiness in their lives they have to cultivate good speech, good thought and good work.

-Vearak Wanabat: Vearak Wanabat is the name of the second day of the new year celebration. People contribute charity to the less fortunate by helping the poor, servants, homeless, and low-income families. Families attend a dedication ceremony to their ancestors at the monastery.

-Thngai Loeunng Sak: Thngai Loeung Sak is the name of the third day of the new year celebration. Buddhists cleanse the Buddha statues and their elders with perfumed water. Bathing the Buddha images is the symbol that water will be needed for all kinds of plants and lives. It is also thought to be a kind deed that will bring longevity, good luck, happiness and prosperity in life. By bathing their grandparents and parents, children can obtain from them best wishes and good advice for the future.

The Cambodian New Year this year will start on Friday, April 13 at 7:11 PM and complete three days as Thngai Loeung Sak on Sunday, April 15, at 11:43:48 PM .

Khmer New Year Invitation

The Monks and board of directors of Bodhikaram Temple, the Mondul Ottawa Khmer Buddhist Monastery, would like to invite you and your family to join us in Khmer Traditional New Year which will be held on the date and time below:

Date: Friday Evening, April 13, 2012
: Bodhikaram Temple, 1197 Deer Park Road, Ottawa, ON

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:00 PM
-Pay Respect to the Triple Gem and Undertake the Five Precepts
-Invite the Monks chanting Paritta

Date: Saturday Morning, April 14, 2012
Location: Tom Brown Arena, 141 Bayview, Ottawa, Ontario

-9:00 am : Arrival of guests

-9:30 am : Paying respects to the Triple Gem and taking the Five Precepts.
-10:00 am : Putting alms into alms-bowl, Food offering to th Buddhist Monks.
-11:30 am : Blessing given by the monks, Lunch of monks, Dhamma Lecture, Transferring merits to our ancestors.
-12:00 am : Communal Lunch.

Please come and join us in order to preserve our Buddhism, Khmer Culture (Culture of Cambodia)  and to perform the merit for your present and future happy life. May peace and happiness be upon you and your family!

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