primary authors: Soneath Hor, Sody Lay and Visna Sann
  others contributors: Bunreth Hor, Sinuon Mey, Navy Phim and Vathany Say

  Tragedy as a result of ones own ideas, like a knife slicing off its own handle.

  Dead and rigid like a big gourd.
reference to someone who is useless

  Having it easy does not surpass having accomplishments; being wealthy does not surpass being content; knowing legal procedures will not surpass being governor of the region.
The last phrase in this proverb is based on the outdated notion that a government officer is above the law. According to this proverb, it is better to be the governor than to know legal procedures because the governor, as creator of the law, has authority greater than that of the person who simply knows the law. Most modern political systems adhere to the principle that no one is above the law, thus making the final thought in this proverb inapplicable in many cases.
  The immature rice stock stands erect; the mature stock hangs heavy with seeds.
Interpretation: Those who lack accomplishments (seeds) try to make up for their deficiencies by propping themselves up and boasting of themselves (standing erect - a trait of the young). Those heavy with accomplishments have no need for boasting because they have already proven their worth and instead behave with humility (characterized by their being hunched over - a trait of the elderly).

  No knot can equal the grip of a sweetheart; no act can equal the act of performance; no silence can equal the tranquility of enlightenment; no temper can equal the wickedness of a malevolent heart.
Interpretation: The last phrase means regardless of how ill-tempered or temperamental a person may be, he or she is not as bad as an evil person - i.e., just because a person has a bad temper does not mean that he or she is a bad person.

  Tie your boat, so that it does not float away; when your house falls apart, quickly support it (fix the beams that hold it up).

  Win over the greedy by giving them money; win over the wise with words of truth; win over the arrogant by showing them respect; win over the stupid by letting them do what they want.

  Being too greedy will lead to a loss of wealth.

  Stubbornly refusing to be righteous, not wanting to grow old or die, feeling disgust and hatred for virtue and morality - these are the characteristics of evil/ignorant people.

  If you want to know people, do so by making friends; if you want to know the world, do so by traveling; distinguish the evil and wise through conversation; if you want to awaken your consciousness, pursue education.

  If a comfortable life is what you seek, study, be mindful and learn.

  If you want something well kept, you must store it away; if you want contentment, you must diligently seek it.
If you want to learn, kill the learned person; if you want to get fruit, use fire to burn the root.
"kill" = metaphor for exhaustively question; "burn the root" = use more fertilizer (fertilizer is made by burning plants or cow dung)

  If you want knowledge, act as if ignorant.
Interpretation: A person who acts as if ignorant will put forth greater effort in listening to and learning from others. A person who thinks he or she already knows everything will have no inclination to listen or learn.

  If you want safety, join with the majority; but do not stop being vigilant; hearing the sound of thunder, you empty your barrel of water; when there is no rain, you run around desperately, unable to find water.
Interpretation: Be careful in making assumptions as you can get yourself in trouble if you are mistaken.

  If you want to know how fast the horse is, race the horse; if you want to know how good the cow is, make it pull an oxcart; if you want to know whether the utter has milk, then tug at it; if you want to know whether someone is wise, converse.
If you want tasty food, look for fresh vegetables; if you want a comfortable life, work hard while young. or (If you want to eat, look for fresh vegetables).

  Wanting merit, you sin; lusting after wealth, you inevitably lose your riches.
Interpretation: Obsession with anything can be dangerous, even trying to gain merit. E.g., many Communists regimes are convinced of the righteousness of their actions, yet end up being responsible for horrible atrocities.

  If you want to be big, act small; if you want to be tall, act short; if you want something, offer payment; if you want to be knowledgeable, study; if you want enlightenment, be virtuous; if you want a life of ease, overcome your difficulties.

  To become a big shot, work hard when small; if you fear wickedness, do not become quickly angered; know how to assess any situation; do not strain to defecate like the elephant.
Interpretation: Plan ahead to achieve your goals but remain realistic.

  Wanting success beyond your capacity, wanting possessions beyond your means, you break the law; you will not have what you wished and desired, losing even the riches that you would have been able to legitimately accumulate.

  What you want, you instead lose; you want to be rich, but instead require support from others; you want to be right, but instead are wrong; you want high status, but instead remain low - all this is due to mistakes that you planted coming to fruition.

  Wanting possessions beyond your means often leads to failure, misfortune, and losses beyond measure; like the old saying goes: greed always leads to a loss of fortune.

  Wanting a lot will get you little; walking about will wear you out; all you will get is losses; if you go far to trade, you will have no free time; instead of making money, you will waste your fortunes and deplete your capital.
another admonition against greed

  If you want wisdom, focus your efforts; if you tie your tbin tightly, your business will be successful; planning precedes the product; study to become an expert and others will respect you.
Interpretation: Plan ahead and work diligently. Tying ones tbin tightly is likely a reference to working efficiently (i.e., you should tie your tbin tightly so that you do not have to waste time constantly re-tying it).

  If you want to know your servants, observe them while they work; if you want to know your relatives, observe them during periods of misfortune; if you want to know your friends, observe them when in jeopardy of being overwhelmed; if you want to know your wife, observe her when suffering and penniless.
In Khmer, just as in English, the object of observation in the last three phrases is ambiguous, likely because it refers to both you and the persons mentioned. For example, "if you want to know your friends, observe them when in jeopardy of being overwhelmed" can mean both when they are in jeopardy of being overwhelmed as well as when you are in jeopardy of being overwhelmed. In the former case, seeing a friend in jeopardy will enable you to see how they handle adversity; in the latter case, being yourself in jeopardy will test the nature of your friends' friendship - will they stand by your side and support you or will they abandon you?

  One can live in a cluttered house; one cannot live with a cluttered heart.

  To be sharp as a stake, you must diligently file away at the metal bar.
Similar to "Practice makes perfect."

  You want others to become petrified from fear of your power, to be apprehensive of and praise your courage; but your status will not be as you assume, what you will have is only self-destruction.
reference to self-delusion
Pouring the rice you take the husk.  or (Don't pour the rice and take the husk).
Interpretation: When a person is too greedy, they try to get as much as they can, taking the husk along with the rice. They let greed obscure their sense of what is important, and they come out with a net loss because they end up taking the husk, which has no value, along with the rice.

  You lose in chess when you run out of intelligence; you lose to desires when you run out of virtue.
Willing to lose is divine; wanting to win is evil.
Willing to lose [even though you could have won] is divine; wanting to win [at all cost] is evil.

  Giving in to gambling, you lose money; giving in to your wife, you lose freedom; giving in to an argument, you lose your idea.
Interpretation: The last phrase likely refers to situations in which someone successfully argues against an idea you propose.
A set of plates in a basket will always rattle against each other.
Interpretation: Whenever people who are in constant contact with each other, such as a family living under one roof, some disagreements/conflict will inevitably occur.

  A bird in your hand is much better than ten birds in the tree.

  Grabbing this, grabbing that will get you nowhere.
Interpretation: You will not achieve anything by doing things randomly; you need a plan to achieve your goals. May also be an admonishment against greed.
Grab onto the tip, hang onto the root.
Similar to "Don't burn your bridges."
Holding the paddle, look across the bank.
Interpretation: Use foresight.
Catch a fish without muddying the water.
Interpretation: Be discrete.

  Catching a thief, the thief catches you in return.
Based on a famous folklore in which a thief who is caught himself pretends to be the individual who has caught the thief. When the townspeople catch up to the two men, they do not know which is the thief and which the innocent person. Interpretation: ???

  Grab one vine, the rest of the plant will shake.
Interpretation: Likely metaphor for Cambodian kinship networks whereby if you antagonize one member of a family, you will often incur the wrath of the rest of the person's relatives.

  The old rely on dying; the evil/ignorant rely on violence; children rely on crying.

  The elders say you must protect your village with spikes; do not regret the meat given to the tiger; knowledge will grow from within; do not be afraid of hard work, think of the future.
reference to planning ahead (We believe the second phrase "do not regret the meat given to the tiger" refers to meat given to the tiger as bait in order to keep it away from the village.)

  Raising [that person] is a waste of food.

  Raising a wicked person is like raising a wild tiger.

  In raising people, observe their nature; in raising animals, observe their canine teeth.

  If you raise a tiger cub, it will eventually repay the favor.
"favor" being used sarcastically

  The desires of a greedy person is like a large ocean, even the ingress of rivers cannot satiate it; when there is wealth left over, that person will still consider himself poor.

  If you have desire, do not yet eat; if you understand only women, do not yet desire.
Interpretation: Learn to control your desires before you act.
The heart of a devil, the mouth of an angel. (also may be translated: An evil heart, an angelic mouth.)
"tevatot" means "evil" as well as refers to the Buddha's wicked cousin (the Buddhist equivalent of the devil)



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