New Abbot Named in Special Ceremony at Bonnyrigg Temple | Fairfield Town Champion

The local Cambodian Buddhist community celebrated the investiture of a new abbot at Wat Khemarangsaram in Bonnyrigg this month.

Venerable Venglim Mel took office after the death of the previous Abbot, Venerable Long Sakhone, at the end of last year.

The choice of Venerable Mel for the post of abbot was popular. He came to Australia eight years ago at the invitation of the Cambodian Buddhist Society of NSW. He has 20 years of experience as a monk and extensive knowledge of Buddhist scriptures, Pali and Sanskrit through his studies at Preah Sihanouk Raja Buddhist University in Phnom Penh.

Ravy Heng, a committee member of the Cambodian Buddhist Society of NSW, said Venerable Mel was widely respected in the community for his compassion and pastoral care of the sick and the elderly. As interim abbot, he led the temple during the difficult time of the blockages.

The January 8 ceremony involved four Cambodian temples in Sydney.

Monks from Canley Vale, Rossmore and Cabramatta temples came to Bonnyrigg the day before to plan the ceremony. The area in front of the temple was decorated in Buddhist colors and a stage was built for the ceremony. A large decorative banner was designed by the Abbot of Wat Rattanaram and installed behind the stage. Members of the temple community joined in with the worker bee.

Sambath Hing, a regular temple volunteer, installed the ceremony sound system.

The religious ceremony began with the Venerable Mel leading a procession to the temple, under the shade of a golden parasol. Once seated, the other monks took turns to anoint him with water from silver bowls, symbolizing purity. The elders of the community then came forward to splash water and sprinkle petals on him as a blessing. Traditional music was played during the ceremony.

As part of the proceedings, the congregation confirmed its support for Venerable Mel as Abbot.

Sabophary Tuy, vice president of the Cambodian Buddhist Society of NSW, led the engagement.

He also thanked the abbots and monks of the other temples for their support.

Cambodian community organizations were represented on this day. Srey Kang, President of the Khmer Community of NSW, Lam Son, of the Kampuchea Krom Cultural Center and Lychantha Sok, of the Cambodian Salvation and Culture Association of NSW, spoke on behalf of their advocacy organizations. appointment of the venerable Mel as abbot.

After the ceremony, the newly invested abbot thanked the monks and the community for having trusted him. He thanked the families who help with daily chores around the temple, especially praising the cooks who come to the temple each day to prepare food. He presented certificates of appreciation to some families to thank them for their contribution.

Usually such a large ceremony would attract a large crowd. This time attendance was restricted due to Covid and masks were worn, but the ceremony was broadcast live via CBS TV on Facebook so the whole community could be involved.

The venerable Mel, who also has a bachelor’s degree in computer science, uses Facebook to broadcast religious services and ceremonies. This has been an important connection at times when the community was isolated due to COVID.

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