Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Somdech Preah Maha Ghosananda: The Ghandhi of Cambodia

Somdech Preah Maha Ghosananda: Smile of Compassion and Peace, Lotus-Palm Bowing of Humanity
Somdech Preah Maha Ghosananda: March of Peace and Loving-kindness

Somdech Preah Maha Ghosanada: No other bliss is greater the perfect peace!

Somdech Preah Maha Ghosananda: Blessing Human Beings for peace, tolerance, non-violence and compassion.
Obituary: Maha Ghosananda, monk who helped bring Buddhism back to Cambodia, dies
The Associated Press
Published: March 14, 2007

Maha Ghosananda, a monk who played a key role in rebuilding Buddhism in Cambodia after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, died Monday at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton, Massachusetts, according to Christina Trinchero, a hospital spokeswoman.
Trinchero did not know the cause of death. He was 81, said Non Nget, a senior Buddhist patriarch in Cambodia who knew Ghosananda from childhood.

Ghosananda was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times in the mid-1990s. Chhorn Iem, Cambodia's deputy minister for religious affairs, called him a "resilient advocate for peace" who had "made a lot sacrifices for the sake of happiness and peace."

Ghosananda lived in exile from 1975 to 1979, when the Khmer Rouge denounced Buddhism and caused the deaths of nearly two million people through starvation, disease, overwork and execution.

He was one of the first monks to return to Cambodia and train new Buddhist leaders after Pol Pot's regime was toppled by the Vietnamese in 1979.

Ghosananda was elected a supreme Cambodian Buddhist patriarch by fellow monks in 1988 for restoring Buddhism in the war-torn country.

In 1994, he led a peace march to the northwestern town of Pailin, still a Khmer Rouge stronghold at the time. Three Cambodians taking part in the march, including a Buddhist monk and a nun, were killed in the crossfire between government soldiers and Khmer Rouge rebels, but Ghosananda escaped unharmed.

In 1997, after Khmer Rouge fighters in Pailin laid down their arms and rejoined the government, Ghosananda successfully led another pilgrimage for peace to Pailin. This time, the marchers were warmly welcomed by residents and former rebels of the Khmer Rouge, which had executed monks and destroyed Buddhist temples during the regime's reign of terror.

"He did everything he could to restore Buddhism to Cambodia," Jim Perkins, pastor of the Leverett Congregational Church in Leverett, Massachusetts, who was a friend of Ghosananda's, told The Daily Hampshire Gazette of Northampton.

Ghosananda moved to the United States in the late 1980s at the invitation of the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist order in Leverett. He split his time between temples in Leverett and Providence, Rhode Island, Perkins said.


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