Day 9, Day 10: Religion of love and compassion

I am feeling peaceful. Our first stop yesterday was Ganjuran church. It was my second time to visit this place and I adore it just like the first time. The church was built by a German rich family called the Schmutzer. They had a sugar factory that used to be across the church and was destroyed during World War II. The Schmutzer was a huge admirer of Javanese culture, so he wanted his church to be in Javanese architecture. The church building was in Joglo, with its roof tapers up, apparently there is a Javanese belief that if you pray under this roof, under Joglo, your prayers will be listened right away by God. The main building is supported by crafted pillars, so are the roof and walls. But the most interesting thing is the way they picture Jesus and Mary. Both are wearing the traditional Javanese custom. Instead  of having his hair down, Jesus wears crown over his tied up hair. So does Mary, she wears Javanese dress and she is titled Dyah Maria, which is a common Javanese name. Ganjuran keeps two sets of gamelan that they sound in services. But Javanese influences cannot be separated from Hindu influence, that is why, beside these uniqueness, Ganjuran is probably the only church in the world that has a temple in the area. According to the church officials, the temple is not a form of a new practice in Catholicism. The temple was built by Schmutzer to express his gratitude because his factory could survive the financial crisis, so it was very personal at the moment. Now the temple becomes one of the main worship sites in the church. We can do the prayer either inside the church or chapel, or in front of the temple, under the shades of big trees, listen to the birds chirping, enjoy the wind blowing. The peacefulness is not only existed in the building, but also within the church’s relations to its community. The members of Ganjuran dedicated themselves for social services, they provide health facilities, education, and aid toward the refugees of Merapi eruption, regardless the religious background of the targeted people. Ironically, they still have to face intolerance for certain group of people, mainly the Islamic hardliners. The church officials were telling us that their activities have been interfered with the hardliners several times: marriage procession inside the church which involved Moslem bride and Catholic groom, the outdoor prayer which was accused for planning the establishment of new church, propaganda banner in every new semester that forbid Muslim children to go to Catholic school, and so on. It is not rare that these hardliners were interfered while bringing sharp arms. The church had been reported one of the action toward the Governor. But mostly, they let these interferences go, because they don’t want to sharpen the conflict between them and the hardliners. The church members still focus themselves to serve the society, genuinely.

Today, after taking a walk in Borobudur (we hardly move without people circling my American friends and asking them for pictures) we went to Mendut Buddhist Monastery. This is the first time that I actually went inside a monastery, and learn a little about Buddhism from the real Buddhist. It was impressive! The monastery, first of all, was beautiful. The statues of Buddha are very comforting, and just like Ganjuran church, you could feel the wind blowing, and listened to the bird songs. And Buddhism is just awesome. I know I’m still very far from understanding the complete concept of this religion, but by far, I would say that this is the religion that makes me feel good. Buddhism believes in good deeds, this deed plays very important roles in human life. If you do something kind, the kindness will comes back to you. The other concept which is very interesting is the way they see human. Human was born with the condition of sufferings. Why are we suffered? Because we are so attach with everything worldly. We are afraid of losing our boyfriend, not doing good in our job, worried by people’s perception toward us, and so on. Ironically, most of the things that we’re afraid of are going to happen. Because worldly things are not eternal, they are all temporarily and will someday be gone. Meanwhile, everyone (or even everything) deserves to be happy, instead of sufferings. So what we have to do in order to achieve this happiness, and to reveal ourselves from sufferings, is to detach ourselves from desires. Desires here could be interpreted in many ways, Pak Llyod said that in the west, desire usually is interpreted with the word craving.

Buddhism is one of the loveliest religions. It doesn’t undermine any other religions or human beings. I am sure that they don’t have the concept of infidels. When our resource was asked about what does Buddhism think about other believers, he basically answered that we all can go to heaven if we do good deeds. And to be able to do good deeds, you don’t have to be Buddhist, you can be Moslem, Christian, Atheist, or anything else as long as you don’t hurt anyone or anything. They even have this special meditation, called the meditation of love and compassion, in where the monks will pray for the happiness of all the life creatures. I think this is really sweet. I know that all religions claimed that they promoted love and compassion. But this is the first religion that I found very specific and not bias toward human beings, and the love that they deserved. What still confuses me is probably the concept of reborn. Although I like the idea of life as a cycle, but like, I can’t tell what was I in the past. Which means, I was born without feeling tired with my previous life. Which is I think is important because then I can’t feel the essence of avoiding the reborn process. And I think, I was born with a pure mind and heart, ready to start my life, instead of start over. But anyway, I really plan to go over the monastery sometimes and have a meditation. And probly learn more about Buddhism.

Other interesting activity within these 2 days is meeting with Jogja Hip Hip Foundation. Knowing them through my brother, I’ve been one of their fans ever since. We met Juki a.k.a Kill the DJ, Ki Ageng Gantas, Balance, and this guy from Rotra. They were fun, and idealist, and smart. I always adore and respect them for re-introducing Javanese ancient poem thorugh a very cool way which is hiphoping.

This is what I can write at the moment. I’m thinking about posting some pictures too to make my blog more colorful. Cheers!

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