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ISLAND OF A THOUSAND TEMPLES

ISLAND OF A THOUSAND TEMPLES

bali-1According to Hindu belief, in the beginning God created various plans which led to the creation of one cell animals to mammals. Finally, God created humans (Dishutan Bali, 2005). Based on that belief, Hindus in Bali perceive mountains, lakes, sea, ocean and springs as sacred places. That is the reason why you find a lot of temples in those areas. Around 835AD, people started erecting temples along the slopes or the peaks of mountains and in the forests to worship their ancestors. This is one of the reasons why Balinese are really concerned about preserving their forests. The Balinese Government has made a regulation called Peraturan Daerah Tata Ruang Wilayah Bali to protect some areas such as sacred places, sacred buildings, riverbanks, coastlines, valleys, lakeshores, dams, and springs.

For the Balinese, a temple is not only a building for worship, but also a place to experience peacefulness. A temple ground is usually comfortable, tranquil and clean. A temple is usually built on raised ground – for instance, Samuan Tiga Temple in Bedulu Village, Gianyar. This temple is located 90 meters above sea level and has a fascinating history. During the reign of King Udayana and Gunapriyadharmapatni (989-1011AD), a meeting was held here. They gathered together all the leaders from different sects to unite their perceptions. This was important because there were so many sects emerging at that time, including Bhairawa, Pasupata, Siwa Sidanta, Waisnawa, Buddha, Brahma, Res/, Sora, and Ganapatya (Goris). Each sect worshipped a particular God with a particular symbol. It seemed that Siwa Sidanta was the most dominant sect at that time. The meeting was held to avoid the inter-sect conflict.

All leaders from Bali and East Java were invited to the meeting. The reason that they invited religious leaders from East Java too was because Queen Gunapriyadharmapatni, the daughter of King Makutawangsawardana of East Java, was really close to a religious leader in East Java. This was Mpu Kuturan, who introduced the concept of trimurti to Bali. This concept is now applied as the kahyangan tiga temples (three village temples) at the village level and sanggah kemulan rong tiga (family temple with three shrines) at the family level. Mpu Kuturan was not only an expert in government law (rajaniti), religious philosophy, but also in architecture. As a great architect, he helped the Balinese design and lay out their temples, especially Besakih Temple, the “Mother Temple” of Bali.

As a proof that Bedulu was the place where many sects evolved those ma,ny years ago, you can find many archaeological remains there, including statues of Siwa, Budha, Durga, Wisnu, Garuda, Caturkaya, Ganesha, Lingga Yoni, Dwarapala, and other tantric sects. Not far from Samuan Tiga Temple, there is Kebo Edan Temple where you will find statues of Siwa Bhairawa, kebo edan (bulls), a man carrying an overflowing bowl, an image of Ganesha, and several other images. Kebo Edan Temple is in Pejeng Village, Gianyar, about 26 km from Denpasar.

The images that we can see at Kebo Edan Temple remind us of the images of representations of Heruja in Bairo Bhal II Padang Lawas, Central Sumatra. The Buddha image in Kebo Edan Temple is the same as the image of King Adyawarman from the Malay Kingdom in Sumatra. This image can also be found in Singosari Temple in East Java, where King Kertanagara was enshrined.

The image of a man carrying a bowl or flood m Kebo Edan Temple

These two temples not only bear messages of peace but also accept the influences of other sects. These messages have inspired Balinese people and the international community to create and retain harmony and peace. This is why this temple was chosen as a place forspiritual meetings attended by 130 priests from Shingon sects from Koyasan, Japan. They held a spiritual meeting called Saitogama or Homa Yadnya in an effort to reduce the negative traits in human nature. For the Balinese, this ritual ceremony is one aspect of Tri Hita Karana called palemahan which is closely related to parhyangan and pawongan.

Last Updated (Friday, 29 July 2011 03:23)

 

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