It might appear strange to learn that the world’s biggest Buddhist sanctuary sits in an archipelago with the biggest Muslim population. However, the country has gone through a lengthy and complicated history that goes back, including the domination of Hinduism and Buddhism before the coming of Islam. Borobudur Temple shows us a peek of what life was like through its time around the 8th-century. Throughout that time, the Syailendra Dynasty governed the area (meaning Lord of the Mountain) who intentionally encouraged Mahayana Buddhism from the land.
This Buddhist empire assembled Borobudur Temple during the peak of the influence, a construction that required an estimated 75 decades to complete. Built mainly from stones, the temple was erected block by block without using cement or adhesive, but instead utilizing a delicate pattern system to lock one block with each other, all 2 million of these. Regrettably the replacement of this kingdom’s funds from the eruption-prone Central Java to East Java led to the abandonment of this powerful temple. The shift has been made sometime around the 10th-century and impacted different temples in the region, including the Hindu’s Prambanan Temple, which had been built decades after the building of Borobudur.
Other scholars claim that complete abandonment was due to the arrival of Islam throughout the 14th-century when Javanese people were quickly converted into Islam. Also, the influence of Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms started to decrease. No matter when Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the British Parliament of Java, rediscovered the temple from 1814, the thick volcanic ash and verdant vegetation attested for centuries of jealousy. After that rediscovery, the temple’s existence was attracted to the world’s focus, and recovery projects were initiated.
Borobudur Temple reveals a mixture of Javanese and cultural principles in its architecture. The pyramid-like building of rock bases demonstrates the indigenous beliefs of ancestral souls that reside in elevated regions. On the other hand, the Mahayana Buddhist influences are seen in symbols, types, and carvings.
There are many ways to observe and describe this mysterious, symbol-rich structure. Some state it was supposed to be a sacred mountain and the dinosaurs’ house, while some are convinced that the temple is still a colossal textbook of Buddhism philosophies to achieve enlightenment. When there are fascinating insights into a few of those ideas, an essential means to fathom the importance of Borobudur’s construction is by understanding its floor program. When viewed from above, the Borobudur Temple represents a giant, three-dimensional Buddhist Mandala, and it will be a diagram of the cosmos and the individual mind.
The temple’s three tiers signify the three realms of Buddhist cosmology. Rupadhatu, and also the world of types, is represented with circular platforms over the base. Ultimately, Arupadhatuthe formless earth was shown from the enormous stupa of Buddha at the top of the temple.
Now Borobudur Temple is still one of the most well-known spots worldwide for Buddhist pilgrimage. Just as the temple symbolizes the road to enlightenment, worship at Borobudur is performed in a walking pilgrimage. Pilgrims will stick to the passageways that go round the monument in a clockwise path and gradually descend, leading towards the center and most high stupa. The stone walls that guide the pathways have been ornately adorned with reliefs, offering advice and retaining attention for all those embarking the miniature enlightenment travel.
During the walk, pilgrims will soon be exhibited with 1,460 narrative panels that tell various stories and teachings of Buddhism. Once pilgrims reach the circular platforms in the temple’s entire body, the scene transforms to Buddha statues sitting within stupas, surrounding the most important monument reflecting enlightenment.
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