Igniting the Soul in the Ancient World
What is good for the soul? Is it standing on the two million carved stones that make up Borobudur, a 7th century Buddhist temple? Is it the sense of wonder in the world that the temple invokes with it’s aesthetic and technical mastery as well as the sheer size, of this, one of the ancient world’s seven wonders? When I, one of the participants of the media familiarization tour of Indonesia, heard that Borobudur was one of the stops on our itinerary, I somehow knew that a visit to this place would be good for my soul.
Steeped in history, culture, spiritual and natural beauty, Borobudur is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument which has survived more than 1,200 years of natural and man-made disasters. This temple consists of a series of concentric circles that forms a giant mandala and it was built to represent the three levels to enlightenment. These include the starting point where we are attached to desires, the middle place where we move past the chains of our desires to work with form and the final level where we leave attachment to both desire and form and settle in the space of nirvana and enlightenment.
Borobudur is built as a step pyramid and is located in an elevated area between two twin volcanoes that is known locally as a sacred place. What’s more, this is yet another pyramid whose origins are not completely clear and are shrouded in speculation. This massive structure also lay hidden from sight for centuries under layers of volcanic ash and jungle growth and the facts behind its abandonment remain a mystery.
The enigmatic magnificence of this place was palpable as I walked along the upper platform surrounded by bell-shaped stupas that house statues of Buddha’s, some of which had survived bomb blasts and looting over centuries to still stand and silently watch over the valley below. As I walked along, feeling my blood surge with excitement in my veins, I wondered what it is about a moment where you are transported to an ancient time that is good for the soul? As I find myself back home in front of my computer in Namibia, I still wonder about this. I don’t think I have found the words to answer that for myself, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been answered inside of me. Maybe I’ve come back a little more in awe of life. Maybe like the grandeur of Borobudur, I know deep inside that I too can withstand the tribulations of life, maybe even I know that like the monumental temple of Borobudur, sometimes you don’t need to explain your story or hold onto your history to still be relevant and powerful. Sometimes all you need is to silently watch over your internal scared valley.
My highlight reel:
This is part 2 of my highlight reel of Indonesia. You can find part 1 in the article “Life Begins at the Edge of Your Comfort Zone”.
This list is not conclusive, it is merely my personal highlight reel. I am sure when you travel to Indonesia, you will make your own, jam packed with wonderful experiences, highlight reel.
Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world comprising 13,466 large and small tropical islands fringed with white sandy beaches, many still uninhabited and a number even still unnamed.
Sitting right on the equator situated between the continents of Asia and Australia and between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans, Indonesia has among the most diverse variety of species of animal life, on land and in the seas, found anywhere in the world.
The Indonesian archipelago harbours many ancient cultures and throughout its history the islands have been influenced by Indian, Chinese, Arabic and European cultures making this country a plethora of diversity and uniqueness.
MYD’s Manager, Kirsty Watermeyer recently travelled to Indonesia on a media familiarisation trip to bring back to Namibians the stories, treasures and insights of Indonesia. Right now, 99FM’s MYD is uncovering all that is Wonderful Indonesia.
For the full experience of Wonderful Indonesia take a look at this Lila Swanepoel Production short video titled Indonesia – Travel With Your Soul