Religion in Cambodia

Buddhism is the official religion of Cambodia. Approximately 97% of Cambodia’s population follows Theravada Buddhism, with Islam, Christianity, and tribal animism making up the bulk of the small remainder. The wat (Buddhist monastery) and Sangha (monkhood), together with essential Buddhist doctrines such as reincarnation and the accumulation of merit, are at the center of religious life, but interact with indigenous beliefs such as the central role of ancestors and spirits.

However, Christianity and Cham Muslim are being active and popular among a large number of population as well in the capital and provinces, showing a sign of growth. Daoism and Confuism are also commonly practiced among the Chinese people.

Buddhist monks are highly disciplined and must follow 227 rules in addition to the ten basic precepts of being a good Buddhist. Monks cannot take part in entertainment. They lead simple lives focused on Buddhism and the temple.


Buddhists start to see the universe and all existence within a routine of eternal modify. They follow the teaching of Buddha, an Indian prince born in the 6th hundred years B.C. Buddhists think that a person is continuously reborn, in human beings or nonhuman types, depending on his / her activities in a previous existence. They have released out of this cycle only once thy reach nirvana, which might be attained by achieving great karma through making merit and following a Buddhist path of right living.

Earning merit can be important of Buddhist existence. Buddhists in Cambodia gain merit giving money, products, and labor to the temples, or by giving among the two daily foods of the monks.

Children often take care of the fruits trees and veggie gardens of their local wat, or temple. Males can earn merit by getting temple servants or novice monks for a short while. Most teenagers remain monks for under a year.

In Cambodia, there are eight gestures of Buddha – “Mutrea” means the gesture of Buddha:

The Vitkak Mutrea Buddha

Sitting cross-legged with 1 hand lain atop the additional with palms facing upwards. “Vitkak” means contemplating or concentrating. That is a classical depiction of the Buddha during meditation and is among the more familiar stances. This depiction relays the path of the Buddha, as he strove to understand and eventually alleviate, the suffering of all living things.

The Marvirak Chey Mutrea Buddha

Sitting cross-legged with the right hand turned palm inwards and the fingers pointing to the earth, the left palm resting on the thigh. This is also known as “calling the earth to witness.” This comes from the story of Buddha, as he sat underneath the Boddhi tree. As it neared dawn Mara came in the form of temptation and demons to disturb the Buddha. In retaliation, the Buddha touched the earth and invoked its power thus dispelling the evil forces.

The Thormachak Mutrea Buddha

Sitting cross-legged and making the forefingers of right palm into a circle, and the left hand sometimes copies the right or is put on the thigh. “Thormachak” means to pray like a wheel. The symbol of the wheel is classic Buddhist imagery and can be seen as representing the wheel of life and the eternal cycle of Samsara – the repetition of death and rebirth to which all humans are victims too.

The Akpheay Mutrea Buddha

Either standing up or sitting cross-legged with a raised right palm – as if stopping someone in front – the left-hand points down parallel to the body. “Akpheay” means fearlessness. Buddha is seen as praying to help the world”s animals. In this stance, it is a reminder of an important tenet of Buddhism- to not harm sentient creatures.

The Vorak Mutrea Buddha

Putting down both the right and still left hands at his aspect with both palms facing leading, this individual sometimes sits cross-legged or stacks up. This depiction can be to ensure those that pray to the Buddha also receive his security. In this feeling, it can be regarded as a blessing stance.

The Batra Tean Mutrea Buddha

Position clasping his Bat (Buddhist”s alms bowl). Historically Buddha collected alms which is still an essential part of the modern Sangha (monastic community) – right now they may be seen on the road collecting offerings of meals from the faithful. When the Buddha ultimately died, he’s reputed to have switched his alms bowl ugly. Even today an upturned bowl in lots of Buddhist countries can signify a loss of life.

The Sakyanak Mutrea Buddha

Reclining, the Buddha sleeps by turning his body to the correct aspect and left leg place to overcorrect one. This displays his entry to nirvana; the point where he still left his physical body. Ironically this stance is frequently seen as the many serene. Usually, this identifies as soon as when Buddha passed away and left the routine of Samsara. The thought of death getting as organic as sleep can be one that is conveyed. In addition, it shows his fearlessness because of the compassionate and benevolent smile which is connected with this gesture.

The Brak Neak Mutrea Buddha

“Neak” means dragon and “Brak” methods to cover something. This pertains to a tale of when there is many storms and a dragon, more regularly translated as a Naga, found shelter him. Hence the Buddha can be depicted as seated cross-legged underneath a multiple-headed, hooded serpent that’s coiled beneath him and therefore protects him.

As the statues themselves cannot speak, your body vocabulary is positively verbose. From the littlest detail comes a story or parable that aims to help humanity on the path to enlightenment.

With such a diverse amount of Buddhist colleges and followers, there is an equally large amount of differing representations.

The important role religion plays within the kingdom is obvious. Within each pagoda, there is the depiction of Buddha. Thus it is important to be able to tell the differing gestures apart, to try to comprehend the diversity of the religion.
It is across the void of time that the artisans, who created these pieces, speak about this journey and the hope that all humans can actively bring about the cessation of suffering.