borobudur is older than wat?!
After immersing myself in the majestic Hindu culture, my guide and I hopped on the motorcycle and went directly to Borobudur to bathe under Buddhist awesomeness. I had to revert back to my old deaf character as soon as I entered the complex. Like the temple I saw earlier, Borobudur was towering among the clouds and was bathing in the afternoon sunlight.
Yes, you read that right. Borobudur, the most impressive Buddhist monument and complex I’ve ever seen, predates the famous Angkor Wat of Cambodia by nearly 300 years. Unfortunately, a few years after it was completed, Mt. Merapi went PMSing and much of Central Java was abandoned.
There is a guide on how to go about this mandala-shaped monument that imitates the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
I entered the east gate and walked every level three times on my right side. This tradition of circumambulating the monument is known as Pradaksina and has been the practice of pilgrims visiting this place 10 centuries ago.
The gradual ascension to each level shows the transition from the khamadhatu, the world of desires, to rupadhatu, the sphere of form, and arupadhatu or nirvana, the ultimate perfection.
The first series of reliefs that are found at the base of the monument shows the transitory pleasures of worldly existence. As I moved upward, the life of Buddha unfolded and his journey from the confines of his palace to Ganges to enlightenment and finally to his nirvana, is a testament of greatness. And there is a lesson for all of us as we find ourselves walking through the corridors and past the 72 stupas of Borobudur, we are capable of greatness too…