Reuters, Dec. 6, 2002
PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Nearly 2,000 Buddhists from 15 nations gathered in Cambodia on Thursday to call for an end to terrorism and the cycle of retaliation and revenge.
Kyuse Enshinjoh, president of the World Buddhist Conference, said going to war to combat terror was ultimately self-defeating.
“Retaliation…will only lead to yet another act of revenge and the start of the vicious circle,” Enshinjoh, founder of Japan’s Nenbutsushu Buddhist sect, told delegates from countries as diverse as Japan, Australia, Myanmar, Russia and Thailand.
“Peace can never be achieved by force. Retaliation follows retaliation, and its chain reaction is occurring in many places throughout the world today. It is obvious that such actions will never lead us to peace.”
The symbolism of staging the summit — the third of its kind — in Cambodia was lost on none, since the tiny southeast nation has finally started to put the bloody and tragic past of Pol Pot’s “Killing Fields” firmly behind it.
“The dark periods of the history of Cambodia correspond to the neglect and violations of the…teachings of the Lord Buddha,” said Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihanouk in his opening address.
Despite the non-political nature of the meeting, police were taking no chances on security. The whole of the city centre has been sealed off for the four-day meeting and the saffron-robe monks have been told to keep their passes visible at all times.