Critical Commentary: Role of Buddhist Nuns in Cambodia

Posted on October 28, 2013 by

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The article, Cambodia: Buddhist Nuns Crucial to Community, written by Kalinga Seneviratne on the In-Depth News Feature website on October 15th, 2013, discusses the role of women in their society and how woman have become more prominent in the Buddhist society through the assistance of education.  It includes perspectives form an elder Buddhist nun, a secretary general from the association on nuns, an expert in gender development, and a doctor/ health director.  The article argues that women are often not receiving the education they need to help them become Buddhist nuns because of the conflict of gender inequality.  

                The author of the article is in favor of women receiving more education. The title suggests some women are very important assists to the Cambodian culture, and those women are ones who were educated in the texts of the Buddha, which are usually only available to Buddhist monks. After discussing the benefits of having Buddhist nuns in the community, such as them being spiritual consolers and health educators, the author argues what is needed to provide more young women the opportunity to become Buddhist nuns and take on these roles in the Cambodian society.  The main barriers of women becoming Buddhist nuns are the lack of financial support from the government, the unequal community support given to nuns as opposed to monks, and the lesser amount of education that women can receive compared to men.

                The way the article is written does not make it seem like it is criticizing the Cambodian government or society, it is simply stating how things are, where society seems to be at, and how their culture could change. Instead of pointing fingers and putting blame on people, the article focuses more on the positive aspect of Buddhist nuns in their community and what can be done to ensure that their services and well-being can be continued and improved upon. The opinions of the experts make the article seem more reliable and well versed.

                The article puts out a good prospective towards the religion of Buddhism. Its discusses how knowing the scriptures of the religion help people to live good lives and do good for others.  The author talks about how it would be good for everyone in the community to be educated on the scriptures of Buddhism and, that knowing the message of the texts would lead to more peace in the society and help solve conflicts such as gender inequality. The author believes that the life practices of the religion are starting to become more prominent than they have been for a while, but still could be improved upon.

                Nothing about the article makes it seem unreliable or uninformed. The author has a clear opinion on the issue of women’s education and the role of Buddhist nuns and gives it in a way that reflects the positive aspects of why it is beneficial for these women to be educated and supported by the community. The author also does not put blame on Buddhist religion for the inequality of men and women, and thinks that if the Buddhist teachings were taught and practiced by more, there would be fewer issues with gender inequality. The article gives a good perspective of what Buddhist nuns do and how they are beneficial, and in the author’s opinion, crucial to the Cambodian society. 

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