Buddhism Conference Likely to Cost $100,000

Cambodia is expected to spend about $100,000 in preparation for the third World Buddhism Con­ference to be held next month. More than 2,000 Buddhist patriarchs and monks from 15 countries are expected to descend upon Cambodia, officials said.

The money will go to security and logistics of the conference, said Uong Sophea­rith, deputy director of administration for the Ministry of Cults and Religion.

He said security is a concern be­cause the number of delegations will greatly outnumber the those present at the Asean Sum­mit held earlier this month, he said.

But Uong Sophearith stressed that the Buddhist delegates are not politicians. “Patriarchs and Buddhists are not politicians, government officials or heads of state. Security must be strengthened, but we should not use a large police force like the one used during the Asean meeting,” he said.

Hundreds of police will also be de­ployed in Siem Reap for those delegations that plan to visit the Ang­kor Wat temple complex.

Monks and patriarchs from Au­stralia, Bhutan, Cambodia, Thai­land, Laos, Vietnam, Japan, Sing­apore, Malaysia, Russia, Burma, South Korea, India, Mongolia and Sri Lanka are expected to attend the conference, scheduled to be held from Dec 5 to Dec 7.

The Japanese government will be responsible for paying for ac­commodations, food and travel expenses, communications and other miscellaneous costs for the delegations.

The first World Buddhist Con­ference was held in Tokyo in 1999. The next conference followed in Bangkok in 2000.

Tep Vong, the supreme patriarch of the Mohanikaya Bud­dhist sect, said that the conference is very important, especially as the world becomes an increasingly violent place.

The conference will be held at the Chaktomuk Theater. At the end of the first day, all 2,000 monks and patriarchs will light candles in front of the Royal Palace in a gesture of peace.


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