The Angkor Wat Children’s Project
Visit Angkor Wat Pagoda Thmey
If you intend to journey to the Temples of Angkor Wat, we invite you to stop by to meet the children and monks of Pagoda Thmey, donate a favorite book, visit the Killing Fields Memorial Stupas, and view the beautiful 200 year-old murals in various stages of restoration, depicting the life of Buddha. View the Mural Gallery (below) photographed by Kathy Doore during her journey to the Pagoda in early January 2007, culminating in the expansion efforts of the Library Project shepherded by her friends, Patricia and Ned Gagic, whose devotion, love and financial contribution, enabled the Pagoda to expand and flourish.
<align=left>Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia 2007 — Pagoda Thmey (Intra Batt Borei) is the oldest Buddhist Monastery in Cambodia, one of two Pagodas located at the World Heritage site of Angkor Wat. It is the official “Killing Fields Memorial”, dedicated to the victims (and survivors) of the brutal Khmer Rouge wars, in which an estimated 1.5 million Cambodian civilians were killed at the hands of the Khmer Rouge.
Pagoda Thmey houses and educates Cambodian children, survivors of the Khmer Rouge insurgency, who every year come to the Pagoda to live, learn, and study Buddhism. Some of the children go on to become monks and teachers. Children at the Pagoda are housed, fed, clothed, and given an education, including language skills, particularly English. At any given time, the Pagoda cares for 30 or more children, at a minimal cost of $15.00 per month for each child. There are 24 monks, 15 nun and 18 children without parents living under the Pagoda, and as is the custom, the Pagoda is funded entirely by donation.
From its beginning and continuing through the 1990’s, the Khmer Rouge subjected Cambodia to vast human and environmental devastation. This destruction included the burning of most educational books in the country. In 2006, the Pagoda initiated a lengthy and progressive project to erect a new library to house ancient sacred texts, and to fund a children’s school.
How it all came about:
A SPARK OF HOPE AND HEALING IN CAMBODIA (PDF)
Angkor Wat School Library Project
The Pagoda is deeply grateful for the donation of educational materials for their new school. Quality books with photos, as well as children’s text books (in English), school supplies and funds to cover operating expenses are most welcomed.
I visited the “Pagoda Intra Batt Borei” in October 2007, official name for Pagoda Thmey at Angkor Wat, founded in 1845, containing the school grounds and temple compound. The new Library was more beautiful than I could have imagined! The afternoon visit with Master Keo Ann and teachers Koch Sarha and Vithy inspired me to continue helping them re-establish their lives in this magical place. The visit to the orphanage/school was awe inspiring. The children were smart, happy and well-mannered. They were all so appreciative and genuinely interested in learning English and asking many questions! There are four new projects that we are undertaking to support including the building of an entrance gate to the Pagoda, re-building the school, the monks quarters and the school library building. The Colours of Freedom Foundation has agreed to assist in this project and would love to encourage others to donate either financial support or books and supplies. If you are planning to visit Cambodia please consider a donation, or write me as I would love to share the experience. Siem Reap is a special place that is working hard to bring sustainability to the people. – Patricia Karen Gagic
SUPPORT THE CHILDREN of ANGKOR WAT
Please feel free to display our banner & link on your webpages. Thank you, Kathy Doore.
Visit Angkor Wat Pagoda Thmey
If you intend to journey to the Temples of Angkor Wat, we invite you to stop by to meet the children and monks of Pagoda Thmey, donate a favorite book, visit the Killing Fields Memorial Stupas, and view the beautiful 200 year-old murals (in various stages of restoration), depicting the life of Buddha. View the Mural Gallery (below) photographed by Kathy Doore during her journey to the Pagoda in early January 2007, culminating in the expansion efforts of the Library Project shepherded by her friends Patricia and Ned Gagic.
Dedicated to the victims of the Khmer Rouge genocide, the Killing Fields Memorial Stupas at Pagoda Thmey are made up of several parts- a square base, a hemispherical dome, a conical spire, a crescent moon, and a circular disc. Each aspect is rich in metaphoric content. The shape of the stupa represents the Buddha crowned and sitting in a meditation posture on a lion throne. His crown is the top of the spire. His head is the square at the spire’s base. His body is the vase shape amd his legs are the four steps of the lower terrace, the base is his throne. The components are identified with the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and space held to constitute the fabric of manifest existence.
The 1984 Oscar Award-winning film The Killing Fields, recounts the true saga of Dith Pran’s journey to escape the death camps of the Khmer Rouge.
For hundreds of years the lost city of Angkor was itself a legend. Cambodian peasants living on the edge of the thick jungle around the Tonle Sap Lake reported findings that puzzled the French colonialists who arrived in Indo-China in the 1860s. The peasants said they had found “temples built by gods and giants”. Their stories were casually dismissed as folktales by the pragmatic Europeans. Yet some did believe that there really was a lost city of a Cambodian empire which had once been powerful and wealthy, but had crumbled many years before.
The Lost City
Henri Mahout’s discovery of the Angkor temples in 1860 revealed the ‘lost city’ to the world. The legend became fact when throngs of explorers, historians and archaeologists ventured to Angkor to decode the mystery. Gradually, the Sanskrit inscriptions were deciphered, and the history of Angkor was slowly pieced together.
The initial design and construction of the temple took place in the first half of the 12th century, during the reign of Suryavarman II (ruled 1113–c. 1150), and was dedicated to Shiva, the Hindu god of duality. The modern name, in use by the 16th century, means ‘City Temple’: Angkor is a vernacular form of the word nokor which comes from the Sanskrit word nagara (capital), while wat is the Khmer word for temple. Unlike its counterparts nearby, aligned to the East, Angkor Wat is aligned to the west, due to its dedication to Shiva, who was associated with the west. It is the largest free-standing temple in the world. In his book, Heaven’s Mirror, author Graham Hancock suggests that Angkor Wat is a star temple, part of an earthly representation of the constellation Draco.
The temple of Angkor Wat has become a symbol of Cambodia, and is a source of great pride for the country’s people.
Pagoda Thmey is located directly adjacent to the temple of Angkor Wat,
on the Southeast corner of the compound.
The ruins of Angkor are located amid forests and farmland to the north of the Great Lake (Tonlé Sap) and south of the Kulen Hills, near modern-day Siem Reap city (13°24?N, 103°51?E), in Siem Reap Province, and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temples of the Angkor area number over one thousand, ranging in scale from nondescript piles of brick rubble scattered through rice fields to the magnificent Angkor Wat, said to be the world’s largest single religious monument. Many of the temples at Angkor have been restored, and together, they comprise the most significant site of Khmer architecture. Visitor numbers approach two million annually. In 2007, an international team of researchers using satellite photographs and other modern techniques concluded that Angkor had been the largest preindustrial city in the world, with an elaborate system of infrastructure connecting an urban sprawl of at least 1,000 square kilometres (390 sq mi) to the well-known temples at its core. The closest rival to Angkor, the Mayan city of Tikal in Guatemala, was between 100 and 150 square kilometres (39 and 58 sq mi) in total size. Although its population remains a topic of research and debate, newly identified agricultural systems in the Angkor area may have supported up to one million people.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead