Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 1:17 pm Post subject: Borobudur - A Magnificent Buddhist Temple
Borobudur is a fascinating Buddhist temple with 1460 relief panels and 504 Buddha effigies in its complex. Borobudur was built by King Samaratungga, one of the kings of Old Mataram Kingdom, the descendant of Sailendra dynasty, and was completed on 26 May 824, almost one hundred years from the time the construction was begun. The name of Borobudur means a mountain having terraces (budhara), while other says that Borobudur means monastery on the high place.
Borobudur is constructed as a ten-terraces building. The height before being renovated was 42 meters and 34.5 meters after the renovation because the lowest level was used as supporting base. The first six terraces are in square form, two upper terraces are in circular form, and on top of them is the terrace where Buddha statue is located facing westward. Each terrace symbolizes the stage of human life. In line with of Buddha Mahayana, anyone who intends to reach the level of Buddha's must go through each of those life stages.
The base of Borobudur, called Kamadhatu, symbolizes human being that are still bound by lust. The upper four stories are called Rupadhatu symbolizing human beings that have set themselves free from lust but are still bound to appearance and shape. On this terrace, Buddha effigies are placed in open space; while the other upper three terraces where Buddha effigies are confined in domes with wholes are called Arupadhatu, symbolizing human beings that have been free from lust, appearance and shape. The top part that is called Arupa symbolizes nirvana, where Buddha is residing.
Each terrace has beautiful relief panels showing how skillful the sculptors were. In order to understand the sequence of the stories on the relief panels, you have to walk clockwise from the entrance of the temple. The relief panels tell the legendary story of Ramayana. Besides, there are relief panels describing the condition of the society by that time; for example, relief of farmers' activity reflecting the advance of agriculture system and relief of sailing boat representing the advance of navigation in Bergotta (Semarang). All relief panels in Borobudur temple reflect Buddha's teachings. For the reason, this temple functions as educating medium for those who want to learn Buddhism.
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