Cambodia’s Monks Join Battle Over Raising Minimum Wage

Cambodia’s Monks Join Battle Over Raising Minimum Wage


Cambodian Buddhist monks stand together as they participate in a garment workers strike in front of a factory on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Jan. 2Photograph by Heng Sinith/AP PhotoCambodian Buddhist monks stand together as they participate in a garment workers strike in front of a factory on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Jan. 2

But Buntenh, a 34-year-old Cambodian monk, is in hiding. Since last week’s crackdown on striking garment workers and supporters of the opposition political party in Phnom Penh, he’s been sleeping in the spare rooms of like-minded non-governmental organizations. He was briefly detained by police and then released on Jan. 2. Now he keeps on the move. The organization he founded—the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice (IMNSJ)—doesn’t have a fixed office anyway.

But was born in the jungle not far from Angkor Wat, one of 12 children in a poor family. After studying in India, he returned to Cambodia to become a teacher, but quit to devote himself full-time to the country’s burgeoning social justice movement. Over the past five years, rampant land-grabbing has eroded the ruling Cambodian People’s Party’s support in many rural areas, formerly the party’s stronghold. Although the CPP claimed victory in the national election last July, many independent observers, including But, believe the election was rigged.

I met him in a small room on the top floor of a building in Phnom Penh, where he had few worldly possessions other than a laptop, tablet computer, and smartphone, all plugged into wall outlets and charging. But founded the IMNSJ a month after the disputed election to mobilize Cambodian monks to press for economic reforms benefiting the poor and powerless.

Already the monk network has about 5,000 active members who share information via Facebook (FB), Skype, and Link, a social network popular in Cambodia. Communicating via social networks is cheaper and probably safer than making phone calls, says But, who believes the authorities monitor his calls.

Last month he dispatched a team of “monk reporters” to record and post online information about the union-led strike to raise garment workers’ minimum wage, which began on Dec. 25. His monks also documented the bloody crackdown by military police on Jan. 3, which left four garment workers dead.

Minimum-wage battles may not seem like an obvious cause for religious leaders. “We aren’t supposed to be asking for or care about money,” he jokes. But is trying to convince his network members that “the suffering of ordinary people is the suffering of monks” and that “people living in hardship situations can do little to help themselves or help the country.”

The rallies organized by the opposition party and the union-led worker strikes together drew tens of thousands of people onto the streets of Phnom Penh in December—a hopeful moment akin to a “Cambodian Spring.” Now the strike has been called off, and two key union leaders are in jail. Yet But doesn’t want to let the spirit of hope for a better future die easily. “I am trying to encourage monks to become more political,” he says. “We cannot wait for our political parties to change; we must do it ourselves.”

Larson is a Bloomberg Businessweek contributor.
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Scientists Claim That Quantum Theory Proves Consciousness Moves To Another Universe At Death

Scientists Claim That Quantum Theory Proves Consciousness Moves To Another Universe At Death

conciousness cover

A book titled “Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the Nature of the Universe“ has stirred up the Internet, because it contained a notion that life does not end when the body dies, and it can last forever. The author of this publication, scientist Dr. Robert Lanza who was voted the 3rd most important scientist alive by the NY Times, has no doubts that this is possible.

Beyond time and space

Lanza is an expert in regenerative medicine and scientific director of Advanced Cell Technology Company. Before he has been known for his extensive research which dealt with stem cells, he was also famous for several successful experiments on cloning endangered animal species.

But not so long ago, the scientist became involved with physics, quantum mechanics and astrophysics. This explosive mixture has given birth to the new theory of biocentrism, which the professor has been preaching ever since.  Biocentrism teaches that life and consciousness are fundamental to the universe.  It is consciousness that creates the material universe, not the other way around.

Lanza points to the structure of the universe itself, and that the laws, forces, and constants of the universe appear to be fine-tuned for life, implying intelligence existed prior to matter.  He also claims that space and time are not objects or things, but rather tools of our animal understanding.  Lanza says that we carry space and time around with us “like turtles with shells.” meaning that when the shell comes off (space and time), we still exist.

The theory implies that death of consciousness simply does not exist.   It only exists as a thought because people identify themselves with their body. They believe that the body is going to perish, sooner or later, thinking their consciousness will disappear too.  If the body generates consciousness, then consciousness dies when the body dies.  But if the body receives consciousness in the same way that a cable box receives satellite signals, then of course consciousness does not end at the death of the physical vehicle. In fact, consciousness exists outside of constraints of time and space. It is able to be anywhere: in the human body and outside of it. In other words, it is non-local in the same sense that quantum objects are non-local.

Lanza also believes that multiple universes can exist simultaneously.  In one universe, the body can be dead. And in another it continues to exist, absorbing consciousness which migrated into this universe.  This means that a dead person while traveling through the same tunnel ends up not in hell or in heaven, but in a similar world he or she once inhabited, but this time alive. And so on, infinitely.  It’s almost like a cosmic Russian doll afterlife effect.

Multiple worlds

This hope-instilling, but extremely controversial theory by Lanza has many unwitting supporters, not just mere mortals who want to live forever, but also some well-known scientists. These are the physicists and astrophysicists who tend to agree with existence of parallel worlds and who suggest the possibility of multiple universes. Multiverse (multi-universe) is a so-called scientific concept, which they defend. They believe that no physical laws exist which would prohibit the existence of parallel worlds.

The first one was a science fiction writer H.G. Wells who proclaimed in 1895 in his story “The Door in the Wall”.  And after 62 years, this idea was developed by Dr. Hugh Everett in his graduate thesis at the Princeton University. It basically posits that at any given moment the universe divides into countless similar instances. And the next moment, these “newborn” universes split in a similar fashion. In some of these worlds you may be present: reading this article in one universe, or watching TV in another.

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