More than 700 monks gathered in Phnom Penh yesterday for the 25th Buddhist Monk Congress, celebrating the religion’s spread in Cambodia and highlighting its growth.
Hem Chhem, the Cults and Religion Minister, said yesterday that there were now 4,872 pagodas and 69,199 monks throughout the country practicing two sects of Buddhism.
The Mohanikaya Buddhist sect has 4,656 pagodas and 64,407 monks, while the other sect, Thammayuth Buddhism, has only 216 pagodas and 7,792 monks.
“In fact, the growth of Buddhism and the country go along with each other and are a necessity to each other. Buddhism has made significant contributions in improving education on morality, social morality and social advancement,” Mr. Chhem said.
National Assembly President Heng Samrin said Buddhism helped preserve peace, stability, unity and hope.
“Remember that the government respects the rights and freedoms of belief and religion and in the improvement of Buddhism which is the state’s religion,” he said.
In 2015, there were 4,755 pagodas with 59,516 monks. Almost 90 percent of all Cambodians practice Buddhism in some form.