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Jakarta Post

Peace, compassion mark Waisak in Central Java

  • Suherdjoko

    The Jakarta Post

Semarang, Central Java   /   Wed, May 30, 2018   /   11:44 am
Peace, compassion mark Waisak in Central Java United in compassion: Buddhist monks, or 'bhikkhu', lead Buddhist followers in a meditative procession on Tuesday from Mendut Temple to Borobudur Temple in Magelang, Central Java. The procession was part of the Tri Suci Waisak local celebration to mark the.birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha. (Antara/Andreas Fitri Atmoko)

Thousands of Buddhist followers and monks joined a ritual, meditative procession on Tuesday from Mendut Temple to Borobudur Temple in Magelang, Central Java, to celebrate Waisak (Vesak) that marks the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha.

The participants, which included Buddhists and monks from countries abroad, chanted an adoration to Buddha during the 3-kilometer procession as part of the Tri Suci Waisak celebration.

Buddhist followers commenced the procession by lighting a torch from the "Eternal Flame" in Mrapen, Grobogan regency, and taking water from the Umbul Jumprit spring in Temanggung regency, which was then blessed. The torch and holy water were carried throughout the procession.

Indonesian Buddhists Association (Walubi) chairman Siti Hartati Murdaya said the ritual procession had an important meaning.

“This is because in the procession, we meditate together through walking. It is a way to calm our minds to maintain balance, so it will not be easily disturbed by what happens outside our bodies and minds. This is the natural character of Buddha,” said Siti.

She added that if a human being could not clear their mind, they would lose a conscious connection with their conscience and might easily commit bad deeds. “This will fill human beings with anger and could lead to tragedy. Hence, they must return to their genuine existence as human beings,” said Siti.

Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi said in his remarks that he hoped the Waisak celebration could bring peace, compassion and tolerance to all people in Indonesia.

“We are celebrating Waisak together with all Buddhists across the world in hopes that love and compassion can spread through Nusantara [the archipelago] that has been blessed by Almighty God,” said Imam, adding that the commemoration of Waisak in Indonesia could be a lesson of peace for other countries.

“Just learn from Indonesia. A diverse array of cultures, races and religions all live here. Look at this [procession]. All parties are uniting as one: the Red and White,” said the minister, referring to the moniker for the national flag.

After the procession, the revelers gathered at Borobudur Temple to celebrate the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death. (ebf)