The village Community
The Mount Agung
The Cosmic Force and Spiritual Harmony
The Temple Ceremony
Nyepi and Galungan
The Cockfight and Toothfiling
The Popular Tours
The Balinese Food
The Books on Bali
The Public Holidays
The Tourist Areas
|Some people are puzzled by the intense feeling of Pope John Paul II for his native Poland. Didn't he and his churchmen suffer enough there, and didn't he almost lose his life there in World War II? Remembering those days of hunger and hiding from the Nazi's, he once said,|
"To die for one's country is an art, but a still greater art is knowing how to live for her."
By John M. Szostak with Frances Spatz Leighton. In the Footsteps of Pope John Paul II (Prentice-hall).
The Religious Heritage
What is that gives meaning and impetus to the lives of these islanders? The answer lies in their deep-seated religious beliefs, which are so much a part of the Balinese way of life as to be inseparable from any one aspect. It is this strong faith which has always lent unity to their lives, even from the earliest beginings, and which cotinues to unite past with present, life with death, man with his gods and with his fellow men.
Whereas their faith demands strict observance and ritual, the secret of its survival over the centuries lies in the fact that it is not rigidly dogmatic. It is capable of assimilating new ideas without displacing old ones and has thus been allowed to gradually evolve into its present form. It is a unique religion, being a complex blend of succsessive layers of animism, ancestor worship, Hiduism and Buddhism, preserved by historical accident when the rest of the archipelago turned to Islam. The poets, priests, aristocrats and intelegentsia who took refuge in Bali brought with them a fascinating faith which has grown into the Bali-Hinduism of today.
The Balinese are still very strongly animistic in that a special god or spirit is considered responsible for every aspect of life from wishdom and knowlegde to kitchen utensils and tools. These spirit are known by name and must each be approriately worshiped in order to ensure a harmonious existence. Individual temples are therefore constructed in their honour and special day set aside when beautifully prepared offerings are made to please the particular spirits concerned, thus ensuring their co-operation in everyday life.
The Hindu Trinity
Whereas such beliefs have continued from the very dawn of Balinese civilisation, since the advent of Hinduism, which later became tinged with Buddhism elements, these spirits have been acknowledged, not as good in themselves, but rather as manifestation of one powerful God known as Sang Hyang Widi. Sang Hyang Widi is not generally worshiped directly as, to the average Balinese, He is unimaginable in his perfection. He is worshipped, therefore, through his various aspect; for example in his capacity as creator he is known as Hyang Brahma; as the protector of life he is Hyang Wisnu; as desolver, Hyang Siwa. Brahma, Wisnu and Siwa thus represent the Hindu Trinity, or Trimurti, through which the OneSupremeGod is worshiped. The various other aspects of Sang Hyang Widi are personified in the numerous spirits, which have always been familiar to the islanders, acting as vehicle through which to praise God in much the same way as the Christian trinity and saints help Christians to visualise their creator.
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