Buddhists, Hindus, and hundreds of thousands of travelers from around the globe flock to Cambodia every year to experience the grandeur of Angkor. Its famous temples were built over the span of five centuries by the rulers of the Khmer Empire, and endure today as one of Earth's greatest archaeological wonders. Join us as we shed light on one of the most enigmatic, mesmerizing civilizations in the history of mankind. We peel away the myth and legend to uncover the hidden story behind the creation of this ancient city.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Angkor: Land of the Gods - History of Buddhism in Cambodia - Netflix
Theravada Buddhism is the state religion of Cambodia, which has had been presented since at least the 5th century.
Angkor: Land of the Gods - Colonial Era - Netflix
During the colonial period, the peace was periodically breached by outbreaks of religiously motivated violence. Periodic millenarian revolts, often led by charismatic monks or self-proclaimed holy men. In 1820-21, a Millennial uprising was led by a former monk named Kai, who was recognized as a holy man with supernatural powers. He organized a revolt against the Vietnamese overlords from his hideout in Ba Phanom. During the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, Thailand's involvement in Cambodian politics extended Thai influence into religious matters as well. In 1855, King Norodom invited monks from the Thai Dhammayuttika Nikaya to establish a Dhammayuttika presence in Cambodia. Maha Pan, a Khmer monk who had studied under some of the same teachers as Thailand's Mongkut, was appointed the first sangharaja of the new Khmer Dhammayuttika tradition (usually referred to as 'Thommayut'), taking up residence at Wat Botum Vaddey, a new temple built adjacent to the palace in Phnom Penh. The newly formed Thommayut order benefited from royal patronage, but frequently came into conflict with the existing Mohanikay (Mahanikaya) lineage. The Thommayut were sometimes accused of holding loyalty to the Thai court, rather than to the Khmer nation. Cambodia was recognized by the West as a “protectorate” of France in 1867. Over the course of the next forty years, the territory of modern Cambodia was integrated as a colony into French Indo-China through a series of “protective” agreements with the Vietnamese, and treaty concessions from Thailand. Periodic convulsions of violence, led by Buddhist holy men, would periodically break out against the French. During the era of French rule, significant advances were made in the education of Cambodian monks, both in specifically Buddhist topics and more general studies. In Phnom Penh, a Pali high school for monks was created in 1914, and later converted into a college. This four-year diploma granting program for monks included not only education in the Pali language and Buddhist canon, but also basic education in modern, secular topics. Beginning in 1933, elementary Pali schools were established to provide new monks with a shorter introduction to Pali. These schools eventually developed into broader monastic schools, where all monks were given basic education in the dhamma-vinaya. In 1961, a Buddhist university, the Buddhist University of Phra Sihanu-Raja began instruction. Primary education of Cambodian children continued to take place at temple schools. Monks were also encouraged to become involved in community development projects.