Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Noble Journey - Indonesia

To commenmorate Vesak Day, 5 Indonesian students from the Nalanda Institute of Buddhist Studies in Indonesia enacted the journey of the Buddha by embarking on foot in a long journey from the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta to the famous Borobodur temple in Bogor, Central Java.

The five students, aged between 19 and 25 were Susanto, Noviyanto, Darsono, Karyono (team leader) and Utomo. Prior to thus , all of them had to undergo training and certified physically fit before being allowed to embark on the journey. With a few pieces of clothes, some basic necessities and a combined fund of about 800000 Indonesian Rupiah ( USD 86 ) and strong determination, they started their 600km long walk on May 8 and reached their final destination, Borobodur on May 27, a day before Vesak.

(L-R) Noviyanto, Darsono, Utomo, Karyono, Susanto
Their limited fund was strictly spent on food only. Most of the walking was carried out during the day. At night they slept at anywhere possible like the police stations, army posts, temples and even pedestal. During the day, they took time off to rest by the roadside or parks whenever they felt too tired to move on. Along the way, they also stopped at a few temples.

Karyono (22), the team leader said " What we were doing was tough. We had to face a lot of difficulties and obstacles but we were determined to overcome all of them. Through meditation, we gain strenght to move on until we completed the journey.

Susanto (21) said " We have learned a lot from the journey, Not only have we learned about friendship and mutual respect among members of the team but also the journey has opened the door to a closer relationship with people of other faiths. Wherever we went, people were very kind to us, regardless of their religious beliefs. We were even invited to engage in discussion about religions and the meaning of life.

When asked about "evilness" during the journey, Susanto said " We started this journey with noble intention. We believe we would be rewarded with kindness and true, throughout the journey, no one harmed us but instead everyone was very nice to us.

After 18 days of walking, they reached Magelang at 12.45pm local time on May 26. A prayer ceremony presided by monks was held in a temple. Magelang was their penultimate stop before heading to their final destination Borobodur the following day.

Karyono said " aside from celebrating Vesak, as Buddhist it is also our responsibility to help in the preservation of the ancient Borobodur. We hope our walk will create public awareness on the importance of preserving this inheritance of ours. Over the years erosion has caused it's condition to deteriorate and people show no respect to the holy site by stepping on the stupas and littering the area.

During training, they walked without their shoes.

On the eve on the journey, the five students prayed to the Buddha for a safe journey and sprinkled with holy water.

The morning before 'flag-off'. They were blessed by a monk and given the things that they would carry through the trip - An Indonesian flag, a Buddhist flag, their backpacks containing basic necessities and their official shirts.

Along their journey. They were welcomed by everyone, even the police were very receptive of their presence and allowed them to sleep in their stations.

They reached Magelang on May 26. Thei final destination, Borobodur is only 3km away.

and finally they reached the ancient Buddhist temple of Borobodur on May 27, a day before Vesak. My congratulation to all of them


Faid said...

omg~ i'm indonesian and buddhist but don't know any about this news (and living on the same island of java) XD

Fhez said...

Really ? I thought it was widely reported in Indonesia. This should be quite big news not only in Indonesia but outside Indonesia too.