University of Cambodia
Mut Somoeun, M.Ed
KHM 140: Khmer Culture
THE ORIGIN OF CAMBODIA
Indian Prince (Hun Tein) Cambodian Princess (Liv Yi)
WHAT IS RELIGION?
The belief in and worship of a superhuman
controlling power, esp a personal God or gods
Faith, belief, divinity, worship, creed, teaching,
A particular system of faith and worship
A pursuit/ interest followed with great devotion
WHAT IS RELIGION?
Religion is the set of beliefs, feelings, dogmas and
practices that define the relations between human
being and sacred or divinity.
A given religion is defined by specific elements of a
community of believers: dogmas, sacred books, rites,
worship, sacrament, moral prescription, interdicts,
WHY RELIGION EXISTS?
Problems & Solutions
Power (Human & God)
RELIGIONS IN CAMBODIA
Buddhism (90-95% of the population)
Brahmanism & Hinduism
Animism (Tribal Groups)
BUDDHISM IN CAMBODIA
Originated from India (Theravada) during the 3rd
Century of BE to the mainland (Malayu/ S Burma)
1st Century (Hun Tein & Liv Yi)– 6th Century, 2
monks named Sanghabal & Mantrasen to China as
Theravada almost disappeared in late 9th century
(Mahayana existed) and in late 13th century CE a
son of Jayavarman 7 (Tamalindra) became a monk
then went to study Buddhism in Srilangka)
BUDDHISM IS THE PREDOMINANT
RELIGION IN CAMBODIA
In each family, the oldest son is expected to spend
several months as a monk in order to provide merit
for his family.
THREE FUNDAMENTALS OF BUDDHISM
In Tribitaka based on Cause & Effect
No doing all bad things
Vinaya (Buddhist Code of Conduct)
Doing all good things
Sutra (narrative, explanation...)
Aphidhamma (mind cultivation)
NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATHS (អដ្ឋង្គិកមគ្គ)
BRAHMANISM & HINDUISM
Originated from India since the 1st king in Funan
3 Gods are the most important in Brahmanism:
Vishnu, Siva (Isor) and Brahma = sacrifices
Prominently seen the practice of Brhmanism in
Chenla period (6th CE – Angkor period)
Brahmanism & king coronation & other ceremonies
in kingdom (temple)
Hinduism is the combinations of Brahman doctrine
& Buddhist doctrine plus others
Most kings from Chenla (6th CE) – Angkor period
practiced Brahmanism + Hinduism; esp in
coronation & building temples (the largest Hindu
temple – Angkor Toch)
THE DEVARAJA CULT
In 802, Jayavarman II proclaimed
himself god-king of Cambodia.
He did so through a Hindu ritual
involving worship of Shiva, king
of the gods.
A royal cult developed, involved
an annual festival during which a
statue of Shiva was paraded thru
the capital city.
The ceremony not only
proclaimed the devaraja but
Cambodia’ permanent separation
Ritually sanctifying a
symbol of the devaraja.
Established by a man named Jesus or Jesus Christ in
545 of BE in Palestine & died at the age of 30.
Flowed into Cambodia in 16th century CE (1570) in
the reign of King Satha I (Longvek)
In the time of French protectorate (1863-1953)
The most prominent canon is Bible
Established in Arabic land by a man named
Mohamed/ Mohamad in 570 CE & died in 632
Islam existed in Cambodia by Cham people since the
19th century CE
Cham used to rule Khmer in 1177 – 1181
Jayavarman VII gained back.
The most prominent canon is Quo An/ Qoran)
ANIMISM (TRIBAL GROUPS)
The tribal/ indigenous groups and live in the high
land/ mountainous areas.
They believe in various invisible spirits, who some
are benevolent and malevolent.
They associate spirits with rice, soil, water, fire,
stones, paths, and so forth. Sorcerers or specialists in
each village contact these spirits and prescribe ways
to appease them.