Cambodia, The Buddha And The Naga
An absorbing study of Cambodian religion and beliefs covering everything from the role of monks in everyday life to beliefs in ghosts, gods and shamans. Belief in the supernatural covers every aspect of a Cambodian's birth, life and death; life is a process of merit-making in order to maximize the conditions of their rebirth. Philip Coggan's lively text describes the Buddha's life, the establishment of Buddhism in Cambodia and the duties of monks within the monasteries. The spirit world is mapped and the interaction between gods, spirits and humans is described through the various stages of life. Cambodia's recent history is discussed in relation to its connection with the spirit world. The text is enlivened by the author's interviews with Cambodians, such as the girl who sees spirits all the time, or the woman who can put people in touch with the ghosts of dead relatives. Altogether, this factual account of the status of the supernatural and the practice of religion in Cambodia makes a fascinating read.