This significant and traditional holy day is observed throughout Indonesia where it is known as Vesak Day. At Borobudur, thousands of Buddhist monks will join together to repeat mantras and meditate as they circuit the temple in a ritual called “Pradaksina”. This is a form of tribute to the temple. Monks celebrate the special day by bottling holy water (which symbolises humility) and transporting flames (which symbolize light and enlightenment) from location to location. The monks also took part in the “Pindapata” ritual, where they received charity from the people of Indonesia.
Each year one of a series of Buddhist organisations take the lead in the festivities, which include a procession from Mendut temple through to Pawon temple and then Borobudur. Depending on the organiser of the year, the emphasis is slightly different, but it is always colourful and filled with festivity and food. The around 15,000 participants stretch for over a kilometre on the walk to Borobudur, where they settle before a dias with Borobudur as a backdrop.
The thousands sit and join together in repeating mantras, is a powerful and humbling experience. Then a meditation begins, with a complete silence. Intense. This is an extraordinary experience that for visitors shows the both the strength of Buddhism and the plurality of religions in Indonesia, as this government and community supported celebration flourishes.
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