In this essay, I examine the intertwining concepts of merit, power, Buddhist virtue, and the moral rendering of the physical universe apparent in late nineteenth-century Khmer vernacular texts.

This article looks at Buddhist literature in nineteenth-century Khmer. It argues that the literature of this period was a direct response to French colonialism, and though modern Cambodians questioned religious traditions and cosmologies, the law of karma and the framework of a moral universe persisted.