Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Cambodian prince visits Buddhist temple in Chesterfield County

via CAAI

By Jeremy Slayton
Published: January 24, 2011

Cambodian Prince Norodom Yuvaneath, wearing a gray sweatshirt with "USA" emblazoned across the front, smiled politely as dozens of people asked him to pose for pictures.

He didn't shy from the attention and often encouraged more people, with a wave of his hand, to squeeze together for the snapshots.

In conversation, he offers jokes one minute and philosophical insight the next.

The prince, who was a special guest at the Quan Am Phat Dien Buddhist temple in Chesterfield County on Sunday morning, is the son of former Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk and the half brother of current King Norodom Sihamoni.

Despite the royal lineage, Norodom Yuvaneath says he is happy living in America — he has lived in Connecticut since 1980, after a military coup sent his family into exile 10 years earlier — and remarked that he doesn't want to become Cambodia's king.

The prince, now retired, worked for many years making medical supplies; he last returned to his homeland in 2008.

Accompanied by his wife, Norodom Yin Tea, the prince visited longtime friend Master Tea Ky Heng, who founded the Quan Am Phat Dien temple and meditation center off Jessup Road three years ago.

Before the morning service, Heng offered the prince a seat in a wooden chair that would have put him above the monks sitting on cushions on the floor. The prince declined. "I respect the monk," he said. "I don't sit higher than him."

Through a translator, he also offered his views about his time in the United States:

•What are your thoughts about being in America?

America is beautiful. Everyone is happy and honest.

•What message do you hope to share here?

The kingdom of Cambodia thinks of other countries as friends. The Cambodian people are peaceful and friendly.

•Have you seen a change in America?

The younger generation seems to work well together to make the country better. There is a sense of hope, unity and pride in nationalism.



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