Event Pictures

The procession of the monks in Jakarta

This morning, there was an unusual sighting on the street of Jakarta Old City Area. There was a line of brown-robed and bare footed Buddhist monks lined up with bowls in their hands, set out for alms, while on the sides of the streets many people stayed patiently with any kind of foods in their hands to be given to the monks. Unfortunately, due to my recent health condition I couldn’t come to the event :(. But . . . fortunately (still :)), I’m keeping the pictures of the same event I got two years ago, so now I can still give you some illustrations about the event  😉

Anyway, what so special with the event? Isn’t it a common thing to see Buddhist monks with their brown robe set out in the morning to get their foods? Well, in such countries with many Buddhist followers like Thailand and Myanmar, it is true that the sighting of Buddhist monks doing their daily ritual to get foods for their daily meal, which is known as”pindapatta“, is very common. Perhaps, even every day we can see them doing the ritual. But in Indonesia, especially Jakarta, where Buddhist followers are minority, to see such a ritual is very rare. What I know, they only held the ritual once a year. Usually it is in connection to the Vesak Day. That’s why each time Sangha Theravada Indonesia held the ritual; it always draws so much attention from Buddhist followers in greater Jakarta, as well as from others who just want to know about it.

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Vesak Day which is celebrated annually; and in 2013 will be on May 24, is a very special day for every Buddhist followers. It commemorates three main occasions in the life of the Lord Buddha himself; those are the birth of Prince Siddharta, the time when Prince Siddharta got enlightenment and became the Buddha, and the death of Lord Buddha.

As for the “pindapatta” itself, the way and the intention of the ritual held in Jakarta is slightly different compared to that in countries with Buddhist followers as a majority. From what I heard, the real intention of “pindapatta” is looking for foods to be eaten by the monks who do the ritual for the day, because the monks of Sangha Theravada are not allowed to make or cook their own meals. So, what they get in their wandering ritual is always ready-to-eat foods. In Jakarta, since the monks are not setting out every morning to gather foods, and also perhaps that their daily meals are already provided by their followers, the main intention of their “pindapatta” has shifted. They now are gathering donations to be relayed to others who are in need. That was why in Jakarta they received raw food as well as canned food, dry food, biscuits, and even medicines.

Happy Vesak Day, may all being be always happy!

 

Keterangan :

Minggu pagi ini ada sesuatu yang berbeda di Kawasan Kota Tua Jakarta. Dengan dipayungi mendung tipis yang menggelayut manja di langit pagi, serombongan Bhikkhu berjubah oranye (atau mungkin lebih tepat aku sebut coklat kekuningan saja ya?  :)), berjalan beriringan dengan bertelanjang kaki dari halaman Museum Jakarta sambil memegang “patta”-nya masing-masing di depan tubuhnya. “Patta” adalah sejenis mangkuk atau bejana yang dipergunakan para Bhikkhu aliran Theravada untuk mengumpulkan makanan yang akan mereka santap selama hari itu. Itu pulalah sebabnya ritual harian mereka berjalan keluar dari asramanya dipimpin oleh seorang Bhikkhu senior setelah melakukan meditasi pagi dengan tujuan untuk mencari derma berupa makanan dikenal dengan istilah pindapatta.

Pemandangan demikian tentunya merupakan suatu hal yang lumrah di negara-negara yang mayoritas penduduknya beragama Buddha seperti Thailand dan Myanmar. Tetapi, tentunya akan menjadi pemandangan langka jika terjadi di Jakarta yang kita tahu mayoritas penduduknya bukan penganut agama Buddha.

Sayangnya aku tidak bisa ikut menyaksikan langsung acara pindapatta hari ini karena kondisi tubuhku yang belum memungkinkan. Untung saja aku masih menyimpan foto-foto yang aku dapatkan ketika aku menyaksikan pindapatta dua tahun lalu, sehingga pada kesempatan ini aku masih bisa memberikan sedikit gambaran mengenai ritual tersebut kepada para sahabat sekalian.

Di Indonesia, biasanya pindapatta diadakan setahun sekali, yaitu tiap menjelang Hari Raya Waisak, yang pada tahun ini akan jatuh pada tanggal 24 Mei yang akan datang. Seperti kita ketahui, Hari Raya Waisak merupakan hari besar bagi umat Buddha, dimana pada hari tersebut umat Buddha secara sekaligus memperingati tiga peristiwa penting dalam kehidupan Sang Buddha; yaitu saat kelahiran Pangeran Siddharta, saat Pangeran Siddharta menjadi Buddha setelah meperoleh pecerahan di Bodhgaya, dan saat wafatnya Sang Buddha.

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Sebetulnya ada sesuatu yang berbeda dengan pelaksanaan pindapatta di Indonesia, dan khususnya di Jakarta seperti yang aku lihat. Jika seharusnya ritual tersebut merupakan ritual mencari derma berupa makanan jadi yang akan menjadi santapan para Bhikkhu selama hari itu, maka apa yang dilaksanakan di Jakarta tidaklah demikian. Mungkin karena ketersediaan makanan para Bhikkhu ini sudah dijamin oleh umatnya, maka pindapatta di sini bergeser tujuannya menjadi sarana untuk mencari sumbangan yang nantinya akan disalurkan lagi kepada pihak-pihak yang lebih membutuhkan. Oleh karena itulah alih-alih makanan siap santap yang diletakkan dalam patta para Bhikkhu itu, justru berbagai bahan mentah, makanan kaleng, makanan kering, dan aneka macam biskuit yang dimasukkan. Bahkan aku melihat ada juga yang memberikan obat-obatan. Meskipun demikian, selama tujuannya baik, tentulah hasilnya akan baik pula, bukan?

Selamat Hari Raya Waisak bagi yang merayakannya, semoga semua mahluk berbahagia!

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When the gods came to dance

Bali is known as the land of gods, that’s why it is not impossible that the gods come to dance among the people of Bali. It is not in their own form of course, but the gods will manifest themselves in dancers who dance in trance. As you know, there are many Balinese dances which include tranced dancers because the dances were parts of their rituals in worshiping their gods in the temples.

One of such a dance is Kecak Dance. Although nowadays Kecak has been modernized, it is admitted that the origin of the dance is a sacred ritual called Sanghyang. In the rituals, it is believed that the tranced dancers communicate with the gods or their ancestor spirits.

preparation

preparation

Kecak is quite unique. Not like other traditional dances, there is no music at all in Kecak performance. It is only rhythmic and multilayered male voices of the performers which repeatedly say “cak . . cak . . cak . .” that function as the background music, instead. The word “cak” is pronounced “chuck”.

In Ubud, Bali, Kecak performance is also known as the Fire Dance. When I watched the performance in Sanggar Sahadewa, they divided their performance into three parts. The first part was the Kecak dance which told the story of Ramayana, the second part was the Sanghyang Dedari dance, and the last part was the Sanghyang Jaran dance.

About the first part; Ramayana is a great epoch originated from India which tells the story of Prince Rama of Ayodya in his journey and efforts to free his wife Sita, who was kidnapped by Rahwana of Alengka. In the battle with the soldier of Alengka, Prince Rama was aided by the monkey troops lead by Sugriwa the monkey king, and his nephew Hanoman, the powerful white monkey. After a long battle, at last Prince Rama defeated Rahwana and got his wife back.

The second part was the Sanghyang Dedari dance which featured two little girls who danced in trance. Along the performance they danced with their eyes closed. At the end of their performance, a priest helped them to bring their consciousness back. The dance was the sacred dance which is believed to have the power to purify the area from evil spirits.

The last part; featured a male dancer who seemed to ride a horse made of young coconut leaves. While a priest made him trance, some people brought dried coconut shells and fibers, and burned them on stage. The dancer in trance then danced and played on the fire barefooted without any harm. Again at the end of the performance, the priest helped him to gain his consciousness back with his magical spell.

sanghyang jaran in action

sanghyang jaran in action

Ringkasan :

Tari Kecak merupakan salah satu jenis tari Bali yang sudah cukup dikenal, baik di Indonesia maupun di manca negara. Tari Kecak sebenarnya berasal dari upacara keagamaan di dalam pura yang dikenal dengan nama Sanghyang, dimana pada upacara keagamaan tersebut penari-penarinya menari dalam keadaan tidak sadar, atau disebut dengan istilah kerawuhan. Dalam keadaan tidak sadar itu, mereka melakukan komunikasi dengan para dewata dan juga dengan arwah para leluhur.

Kecak sendiri merupakan sebuah tari yang bisa dibilang unik. Bagaimana tidak, jika biasanya suatu tarian selalu diiringi dengan musik, maka pada tari kecak, fungsi musik itu digantikan dengan paduan suara para penari laki-laki yang mengenakan kain bercorak kotak-kotak hitam putih dan secara berirama menyerukan kata-kata “cak . . cak . .cak . .”. Konon ini menirukan suara pasukan kera yang membantu Rama mengalahkan Rahwana dalam epos Ramayana.

the performer are bare-chested and sit in circle

the performer are bare-chested and sit in circle

Di Ubud, khususnya di Sanggar Sahadewa, pementasan tari Kecak dibagi menjadi tiga babak.

Babak pertama adalah Tari Kecak itu sendiri yang menampilkan kisah sejak Dewi Sita digoda kijang emas, kemudian diculik oleh Rahwana yang terpesona dengan kecantikannya, usaha Rama dan Laksmana yang dibantu oleh Sugriwa dan Hanoman beserta pasukan keranya dalam merebut kembali Dewi Sita, sampai kemenangan pasukan Rama dalam pertempuran dengan pasukan Rahwana sehingga Rama dan Sita dapat berkumpul kembali dalam kebahagiaan.

Babak kedua merupakan suatu tarian sakral yang disebut Sanghyang Dedari. Tarian ini ditarikan oleh dua orang gadis kecil yang masih suci dalam keadaan tidak sadar. Selama menari, kedua gadis cilik ini selalu memejamkan matanya. Diyakini pada saat menari, badan kedua gadis tersebut diambil alih oleh Dewi Supraba dan Dewi Tilutama. Kedua bidadari tersebut berkenan turun ke dunia untuk membersihkan daerah sekitarnya dari unsur-unsur jahat. Pada akhir tarian, seorang pendeta akan menyadarkan kembali kedua gadis cilik tersebut.

Babak terakhir yang sekaligus merupakan penutup berupa tarian Sanghyang Jaran, yang seperti halnya tari Sanghyang Dedari, juga bukan merupakan tarian sembarangan. Pada bagian ini, seorang pria yang menunggang kuda-kudaan yang terbuat dari janur (daun kelapa muda) akan dimanterai oleh seorang pendeta sehingga berada dalam kondisi kerawuhan. Sementara itu beberapa orang membawa sekeranjang batok dan sabut kelapa yang kemudian dibakar di atas panggung. Ketika api sudah membara dan alunan mantra mulai mengambang di udara, si penari yang sudah dalam keadaan kerawuhan mulai menari-nari dan bermain-main di atas api tanpa mengenakan alas kaki. Hebatnya si penari seolah-olah tidak merasakan panasnya api dan bara yang diinjaknya, sementara para penonton di barisan terdepan banyak yang bergeser karena merasakan panasnya api. Di akhir tarian, beberapa orang akan memegang si penari yang gerakannya semakin liar dan membawanya kepada si pendeta untuk disadarkan kembali.

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A day before the Lunar New Year

First of all, allow me to say Happy Lunar New Year to you who celebrate the event. May the year of the snake brings you health, happiness, and prosperity.

Below are pictures that show the festive atmosphere in some of the old Chinese temples in Tangerang a day before the Lunar New Year. Nowadays, the temples conditions are not old anymore, since they underwent major renovations and also are painted beautifully. According to the historians, however, the temples existence has already been more than 300 years.

Before I continue with the Chinese Temples things, let me give you a brief description about Tangerang, so at least you know the condition of the city. Well, Tangerang is a small city located at the west of Jakarta. As one of Jakarta’s satellite city, many of Tangerang’s residents commute to Jakarta for work. The city is also known to be inhabited by many descendants of the first Chinese that entered Indonesia in the 15th century. These people, now known as the Chinese Indonesian community, like that in other parts of the country.

In Tangerang, many community members assimilated with the locals through marriage, so their appearance are no longer like other Chinese, but they are still maintaining their ancestor’s cultural practices, including their habit to pray to the God in Chinese Temples and also celebrating the Lunar New Year.

A day before the Lunar New Year, I visited three Chinese Temples that are considered as the oldest Chinese Temples in Tangerang. Among the three, Boen Tek Bio is considered to be the main temple, although it is not the oldest. As the main temple, Boen Tek Bio should stand on the best place, which usually face the ocean and be backed by a mountain. Boen Tek Bio, however, was not erected close to the beach or to the mountain. In this case, there is a temple that can be considered as the ocean while another can be considered as the mountain for Boen Tek Bio. The one that can be considered as the ocean is called Boen Hay Bio (the word “hay” can be translated as ocean) and the other temple called Boen San Bio reflects the mountain (the word “san” can be translated as mountain).

 

boen tek bio's main altar room

boen tek bio’s main altar room

Boen Tek Bio, or now better known as Vihara Padumuttara, has been existed since 1771. It is said that the temple was built by workers who came directly from China, so the architecture of the temple reflects the architecture of China at that time. At the top of the temple, there are statues depicting water dragons.

Vihara Padumuttara is located in the middle of a traditional market known as Pasar Lama Tangerang, and close to Cisadane River. In the past, Pasar Lama was the centre of activities of the area.

 

the gate of boen san bio

the gate of boen san bio

Boen San Bio, which is also known as Vihara Nimmala, has been existed since 1689. The building, however, is a new one. The original temple is no longer existed. It has been renovated totally after its main altar was burned in the year 2000. At the backyard of the beautiful temple lays an old tomb which is known as Pasarean Mbah Raden Suryakencana, a Chinese style pavilion called Pendopo Pehcun, and the Dhammasala Room. At the top of the building, people cannot find the usual dragon statues, but phoenix statues instead.

Vihara Nimmala is located not too far from Vihara Padumuttara. It is the biggest temple among the three. Aside of that, the unique but pretty architecture of the temple make the temple as one of Tangerang’s places of interest.

 

boen hay bio's front gate

boen hay bio’s front gate

Boen Hay Bio or Vihara Karunayala is located quite far from Vihara Nimmala and vihara Padumuttara. The smallest temple among the three has been existed for more than 300 years. It is said that at the first time, there was only a simple wooden house which was used to pray to the gods by the Chinese community in the area. Now, the wooden house has transformed into a temple. At the top of the building, there are dragon statues as also in other usual Chinese Temples. In addition of the dragons, there is a giant crab statue at the top of the main gate to the temple.

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