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

  The nature of those who are lowly and small is to speak with lofty words though lacking wisdom, courage, honor; a clay jar that is only partially filled with water shakes and splashes; a cow with little milk avoids, kicks and disobeys you.
Interpretation: Those with little merit try to compensate for or cover the fact by making much noise.

  The heart of the sandalwood tree, even though dry, crusty, and withered, does not lose its quality of sweet fragrance; a full-grown elephant, even though approaching battle, does not hesitate or surrender.
Interpretation: The fragrance of sandalwood and the full-grown elephant are likely metaphors for positive personal attributes such as intelligence, skill and courage. A person will not lose such traits in old age or crises.

  The nature of sugarcane is such that even when squeezed by a machine, it will not lose its sweet flavor; the nature of a sage is such that even when suffering, he does not lose interest in the Dharma.

  Sugarcane by nature has an especially sweet flavor; in each one of its joints, from tip to root, its flavor is sweet; the world cannot but desire to consume it. Befriending the virtuous is comparable to sweet consumable sugarcane; taking evil for a friend, by comparison, is like a sugarcane that has flowered and lost all its flavor.

  A lazy nature fails to acquire knowledge, without knowledge your wealth will vanish, without wealth your friends and relatives will ignore you, without friends and friendship you cannot feel contentment, without contentment you cannot accumulate merit, without merit you cannot achieve enlightenment, causing you to be stuck in the world of karma forever.

  The nature of a sage full of wisdom, without anyone willing to ask questions, is akin to a large drum that does not have anyone to beat it; when someone finally inquires of the person, [the response] will be like pouring rain.

  By nature, the ignorant/evil have no one with whom to question or converse, even if they rumble loudly or roar without pause; speaking too much beyond the knowledge they have accumulated, they repeatedly fall into a destructive pattern.

  By nature, sages stay near other learned sages, capable of processing knowledge quickly, just as the tongue understands the flavor of food, capable of comprehending sourness, bitterness, staleness, spiciness.
Stepping on the thief's foot.  or (like stepping on the thief's foot).
Similar to "Being at the wrong place at the wrong time."

  Chained down yet grinning, when you should fear yourself getting restless; confused of the path but refusing to ask anyone; facing the enemy without weapons.
Characteristics of a
person who has lost his senses.
Riding a buffalo across mud is easier than swimming.
Interpretation: Utilize the resources at your disposal rather than making things difficult for yourself

  Geckos change color according to their environment; those who are evil constantly change their demeanor; stay close to those with the nature of sages, and you will turn toward the path of understanding right and wrong.
Clinging to dung after defecating. or (being stingy, you hold onto dung that you have defecated).
admonishment against
Having defecated, you bury the dung like a tiger. or cat.
reference to someone attempting to hide a crime or lie

  Working near is better than working far; working near enables you to take care of your wife.
The wife represents family affairs. This bit of advice seems particularly relevant in today's modern world as work demands increasingly encroach upon familial duties.

  If you do business at a loss, do not simply quit; if you want something, do not be afraid to pay; if you fear loss, be serious and careful in your work; take good care of your investment.
Interpretation: Don't give up too quickly. Be a risk taker, but at the same time cautious. The second phrase "if you want something, do not be afraid to pay" could also mean "if you want to make money, do not fear financial loss."
The back foot follows the front foot.
Children follow in the footsteps of their parents; subordinates follow the order of their superiors.

Even those with four legs eventually slip; even those with complete knowledge eventually slip up.
Similar to "To err is human." or "Nobody's perfect."

  When the foot is well, the shoulder is hard.
ference to industriousness

  Trust proper people, who are polite and use gentle words; always be pleasant, and your reputation will be fragrant and pervasive.
  Luck will dupe you, and make you think desires can be fulfilled, through dependence on luck; without working hard, you expect to become prosperous, but instead become poor pursuing luck; luck has abandoned you.
The word translated as luck ("choak") also means success, fitness, achievement.
  A slipup of the foot will cause a fracture; a slipup of the mouth will cost you a silver coin.
Interpretation: Be cautious, as carelessness of both action and words may lead to adverse consequences
  Big as a tree trunk but ignorant as a strand of hair.

  Watery like thick rice porridge.

  The pig dies because it is meat.

  Fig vines comfort the sralav tree; arum plants comfort the pond.
A reference to things that belong together. Similar to "milk and honey" or "beans and cornbread."

  The fig vine never gives up its task of embracing; the sage never leaves the Dharma; the tiger never becomes fearful of the forest animals; the wicked never become fearful of evil.

  The vine of deception is extremely bad; you should remove your hand from the vine.

  The fig vine on the snai tree and the white heron - do not be content emulating them.
Interpretation: The fig vine often grows in excess and overwhelms its host; in this context, it represents those who excessively cling to or overwhelm others. By contrast, the white heron always stands alone like an outcast. A person should be balanced and neither excessively dependent on others nor excessively independent.
  Deep water, deep earth, is never so deep that the bottom is unreachable; the deep idea, is deep beyond measure, it has depth that cannot be reached, having no end.

  Deep only in words, idea too shallow to swim.
Reference to when someone speaks extensively but with little substance. Similar to the expression "full of hot air."

  Deep as the bottom of a plate.
spoken sarcastically

  Clear in correct acts, go ahead and be content in your clarity; clear in incorrect acts, do not nurture that clarity.

  Pure only in words, shameless in thought.

  Pure/clear as mud.
  Illness of the leg makes you fat; illness of the mouth makes you skinny.
  When critically ill, you sacrifice an elephant with your prayer; when better, you give a chicken egg as offering.
Interpretation: Do not perform virtuous deeds or pursue religion only in times of trouble.

  Vagabonds and vines that entangle crooked wood - do stay near them.  or also (people who abandon their home and family, do not take as company.)
Interpretation: This proverb expresses the importance of family ties in the Khmer culture. Vagabonds are likened to vines that entangle crooked wood because vines that entangle crooked wood are considered of poor quality and avoided by basket weavers. An exception is perhaps made for those who leave home and family in pursuit of a noble cause, such as the Buddha's quest for enlightenment.

  A large tree that falls makes a loud sound.
Similar to "The bigger they are, the harder they fall."

  A beautiful tree with fragrant flowers even though alone is able to spread its fragrance throughout the forest, like families with a proper child bringing prestige to the family line.
  A tree that bears less fruit than leaves; many fish in badly muddied water.  or (A tree that bears much more leaves than fruit.)
Reference to situations in which full potential is not reached.

  Trees die from their tip; elephants die from their belly; people die from their feet.

  Do not place your behind on rotten wood.  or (sit on).
"rotten wood" being a metaphor for any kind of bad or dangerous situation
  Curved wood keep to use for wheels; straight wood keep to use as spokes.
Interpretation: Everything has its use. This sentiment is especially applicable in relation to people as the word "trong" (translated as "straight" in the proverb) means "honest and straightforward" in reference to individuals. In the context of an organization, e.g., the proverb would advise one to place the most capable and forthright individuals in positions of authority, while recognizing that the less earnest or competent individuals still have their usefulness.
  Merchants of the water rely upon boats; merchants of the land rely upon carts; fortune relies upon knowledge; sages know how to rely upon the sacred texts.

  [It does not matter] whether you win or lose, as long as you are correct - follow the path of virtue without fail, follow the path of justice without bias, do not think of fortune or glory.

  Conflict with the ignorant/evil is a bit difficult; do not think that the ignorant/evil will listen to your words; even after you explain how right and wrong will lead to different paths, the ignorant/evil will refuse to follow rules of behavior.

  Win over those who are high and mighty by expressing humility; win over those who are weak and lowly by giving them alms; scatter their allies to defeat the courageous; defeat those of equal strength through fortitude.
  Win over those of high status by appearing weak and timid; defeat the courageous by breaking through [their defense]; win over the weak by giving them food; defeat those of equal size through effort.

Overcoming a foreign nation will bring fame; overcoming the temptations of gambling is especially noble; overcoming yourself is the greatest achievement of all, a rare victory which you will never lose back.


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