The Fascinating Borobudur Temple
Overlooking the fertile valley of Magelang and facing the volcano Merapi, 40 km north from the province of Jogjakarta, stands a breathtaking monument that was built during the 8th century by the Bouddhist dynasty of Sailendra.
This is the most prestigious monument in Indonesia, and the world’s largest Buddhist temple. The different levels of the monument symbolizes the different levels of wisdom we have to go through during life until reaching the enlightenment of Buddha, symbolized by the spectacular upper terraces.
The global architecture (obvious when seen from the air) is actually a mandala (sacred diagrams initiating people with spiritual awareness). Borobudur is the place where you may find a new vision of the world…and yourself.
The “discovery” and “restauration”
Some said the monument was discovered by the Dutch Cornelius De Houtman in 1817 with most of its side covered with soil but the people of Jogjakarta were well aware of its existence… The Dutch military engineer was deputed by Raffless to investigate this discovery but the first major conservation step was taken in 1874 by draining the sunken area with sand by Kinsbergen. The major conservation action took place in between 1907-1911 leaded by the Thedar van Earp. He reconstructed the upper round terrace by using many new stones. But still, the monument was deteriorating and it was only in 1975-1984 that UNESCO came to rescue and sponsor the restoration and conservation of the monument. This was a huge work: millions stones were taken piece by piece and cleaned carefully. New foundation was put on as well. The result is one of the most ambitious and successful restoration ever. A must to see for any serious traveler!
Escape from the illusory world
The lowest level of the monument exposes the “realm of desire”, a state of mind with a lack of morality, previous to the teachings of the Buddha. The second level shows the “realm of forms”, which is the stage when humans get wiser about the meaning of life and are trying to get virtuous. The third and highest level is the “realm of formlessness”, where one understands already that the visible world is illusory and the real aim of life is in the inside of oneself: purification in order to escape from the circle of reincarnations, meaning sufferings… Are you ready?
- MAHAKARMA BINANGGA: Relief numbering of 160 panels
- MAHAKARMA VIBANGGA: Relief the opt of laws, punishment and various sins.
- ELEPHANT: relief that tells the queens dream to Lumbini park in the preparation of the birth of budda (see panel 28)
- JATAKA: The lowest relief of the main wall which shows the prince who married a nymph.
- GANDARYUHA: Sudhana the merchant client who made pilgrimage by searching for spiritual knowledge.
The visit or who reaches the upper most of the monument experiencing the start link physical transition of great marvels of Borobudur. The Gallery bellows completely cut off from the outside world. To reach the round terraces one enters the large open space giving a magnigicent values of 72 stupas with the diameter of 9,9 meters. The smallest one has lattice structure which makes it possible to see Buddha’s images set inside and all of these Buddha’s display a Mudra with posture that symbolizes Sakyamuni’s first service. It is believed who ever touches the stupa will obtain good fortune. The massive stupa in the centre of the monument has no openings but it is not solid. Unfortunately there are two hollows in this tombs at his centre, one above other and found the chambers had been broken into by man searching for treasures and the unfinished Buddha is now rest in the base beneath tree about one hundred meters to the west side of the monument.
- RUPADHATU: man enlighten by the meaning of life, to sacrifice oneself for others.
- KAMADATU: realm of desire represents t state of man before acquired knowledge of morality before the teaching of Buddha.
- ARUPADATU: Realm of formlessness in this world of the invisible and the highest to the 3 upper terraces of the monument.
The first panel shows, second he informed the assembled deities that he will be born as human till the next live, concern the activities of the heaven.
Panel 8: queen Maya as the future mother of Buddha with her husband king Sudhodanna.
Panel 28 the preparation for the birth of Buddha. Panel 49 Archery, Panel 56 encounter old age, sickness panel 57, death 58, monk 59, Gautama escape from his father place 65, cuts off his hair and attacked by demon Mara 94, he is attempted by mara,s daughter 95, Buddha enlightment 96, Buddha crosses the gangga 115. the first sermon in deer park of Benares16 and Nymph are taking water from pools, prince and his spouse are serenaded 19.
The Position of Buddha
Aksodhya in the East, Ratna Sembova position in the South, Amitabha in the west and North Amanghasidda. Each position on the top wall with Vairocana as the guardian of the centre of the zenith.
See also: Photos of Borobudur Temple