Saturday, May 19, 2007


By Ari Satriyo Wibowo

Borobudur is the giant book made of stone in Indonesia before people have already recognized Barnes and Noble’s book store or order books via service.

contains 504 Buddha statues, 432 in open niches and 72 in trellised stupas. The 1400 stone slabs that cover the balustrades are adorned with stone craft relief illustrating life according the tenets of Mahayana Buddha.

Borobudur has undergone several restorations since its discovery in 1814 by Sir Stamford Raffles, the Lieutenant-Governor of Java (then the founding father of Singapore in 1820’s and an author of History of Java). The damage that it had suffered over the many decades of its existence was severe. A tremendous earthquake that rocked Java in 1548 caused the final collapse of the monument.

In 1885, however, Borobudur attracted the public’s attention when J.W. Ijzerman, a Dutch army engineer, found the reliefs of the Mahakarmawibangga on the hidden foot of the temple. There were 166 reliefs on the hidden foot 13,000 meter cubic of stone as part of Kamandhatu sphere. Ruphadahatu sphere includes 4 galleries with 1300 pictorial relief with a total length of 2,5 km and surrounds by 1212 decorative panels. Arupadhatu sphere have 72 trellised stupas. And Sunyata sphere is only posses one large central stupa without any trellised.

The Borobudur depicts the ascension of man through the four level of existence : Kamadhatu (plane of passion and lust), Ruphadhatu (plane of image and forms), Arupadhatu (plane of non forms) and Sunyata (The True Existence, Absolution). For Christian believer the crucifixion of Jesus was a transformation from plane of non forms to Absolution. In Islamic tradition the four level of existence are known as syariat, tarikah, haqiqah and ma’rifah.

This temple was built around the ninth century in a mysterious way that we have not been able to understand until these days. Literally, Borobudur means the primal Buddha of earth. To understand it we must go beyond traditional Buddhist settings. That’s why it is difficult even for the Buddhist to understand the true meaning of Borobudur.

According to Borobudur human beings will evolve into higher consciousness level, the lowest being the plane of passions. Using the Borobudur
matrix, we can plot where human kind is today. We are approximately at the level of Rupadhatu (plane of forms and images). Hence human beings in this level, today, are living under the influence of their five senses. This means that transcend beyond the plane of forms and images human beings have to diminish their reliance on the five senses. However, not everyone is completely at this level because some are still bound by the plane of lust and passions while others are already struggling towards the non form plan.