For those of you who have visited Cambodia, it will come as no surprise that Thearavada Buddhism is the official religion in Cambodia, with over 95% of the population identifying as Buddhist. It is believed that Buddhism in Cambodia
has existed since at least the 5th century, and in its earliest form it was a type of Mahayana Buddhism.
Here are some of the ways that people in Cambodia practice Buddhism.
They make merit
Buddhists hope to achieve enlightenment, which means they find out the truth about life and stops being reborn because they have reached Nirvana. One of the ways they believe they can achieve enlightenment is by making merit. This can involve working at temples, giving donations or food to people in need or supporting monks with contributions.
Cambodia has major annual festivals which are intertwined with Buddhism. This includes Khmer New Year in April, where people make offerings at the pagodas and Pchum Benh (usually held in October) to pay respect to ancestors.
There are also celebrations for weddings, new houses and purchases which are presided over by monks and nuns.
They make a pilgrimage to Angkor Wat
The prized temple and showpiece is now known as the Angkor Archaeological Park is a popular site for Buddhist pilgrims. The city of Angkor was built in the 12th century as a Khmer capital for King Suryavarman II and is the most famous of more than 1,000 temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park.
We encourage you to research Buddhism and Cambodian traditions before visiting the country, so you can understand the culture and pay respect to their traditions. And have fun!