Author Topic: Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java  (Read 12786 times)


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Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java
« on: June 24, 2012, 03:42:40 PM »
I came across a History Channel video call "The Lost Temple of Java", talking about Borobodur (, one of the biggest temple found on earth today.

It is said that this temple is made known to the world because of Thomas Stamford Raffles, the ruler of Java at that time. It is considered to have one of the highest technology advancement and highest achievement of arts at that time.

It seems like Borobodur is like the Egypt's pyramid of the east..

I was wondering if Atisha came to this actual temple when He travel to Indonesia at that time...


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Re: Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2012, 05:54:29 PM »
I WOULD LOVE TO GO!!! It looks amazing! Anyone knows how much it is to go? Anywhere good to recommend to stay? Imagine watching the sunrise there, the rays illuminating the contours of the temple, gradually lighting up to put in the limelight, revealing the magnificence in architecture of the entire temple. Wow breathtaking! I cannot imagine how it would be like to be there in person.

Anyways, I did some research on the history of Borobodur, here's what I found:

"The temple was built during the golden age of Syailendra Dynasty, sometime in the beginning of the 8th century.The word BOROBUDUR is believed to mean monastery on a hill. It is derived from the words baram and buduhur. Bara is from Sangskrit word Vihara meaning a complex of temples monasteries or dormitories, Beduhur is a old Javanese word meaning above.

The Borobudur Temple was built on a small hill in the Kedu Basin, a rich, fertile valley sourrounded by the spectacular volcanoes. To the East lies Merapi and Merbabu and to the North lies Sumbing and Sindoro.The unsual jagged Menoreh Hills encircle the temple to South and West. The temple is also located near the meeting place of two rivers, the Elo and the Progo, these rivers are believed to be symbolic of Gangga and Yamuna, two rivers feeding the Indus valley in India. We get a sense of the grandness of the landscape when we rise to final terrace of the monument wich opens up into 360 degrees view of the magnificent valley.

The Borobudur Temple building is divided into three worlds according to Buddhist cosmology:

1. Kamadhatu (The bottom level)

2. Rupadhatu (The Second Level)

3. Arupadhatu (The third level)

To read more about each level and its meaning, visit here:

Positive Change

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Re: Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2012, 06:10:06 PM »
Thank you Kris... What a wonderful bird's eye view of Borobodur... I don't think I have ever seen it in it's totality like this before. Beautiful! I have to visit one day...

I am not surprised that such an incredibly complex and detailed building was found in Indonesia. Indonesia has a rich tapestry of cultures and religion. Here is a brief look at the history of the Indonesian Archipelago:

Buddhism is the second oldest religion in Indonesia after Hinduism, arriving around the sixth century. The history of Buddhism in Indonesia is closely related to the history of Hinduism, as a number of empires based on Dharmic culture were established around the same period. Indonesian archipelago has witnessed the rise and fall of powerful Buddhist empires such as Sailendra dynasty, Mataram and Srivijaya empires. The arrival of Buddhism in the Indonesian archipelago was started with the trading activity that began in the early of first century on the maritime Silk Road between Indonesia and India.

According to some Chinese source, a Chinese Buddhist monk I-tsing on his pilgrim journey to India, witnessed the powerful maritime empire of Srivijaya based on Sumatra in the 7th century. The empire served as a Buddhist learning center in the region. A notable Srivijayan revered Buddhist scholar is Dharmakirti, born around the turn of the 7th century in Sumatra, Dharmakirti was a Srivijayan prince of Sailendra dynasty. He became a revered scholar monk in Srivijaya and moved to India to became a teacher at the famed Nalanda University, as well as a poet. He built on and reinterpreted the work of Dignaga, the pioneer of Buddhist Logic, and was very influential among Brahman logicians as well as Buddhists. His theories became normative in Tibet and are studied to this day as a part of the basic monastic curriculum. Other Buddhist monks that visited Indonesia were Atisha, Dharmapala, a professor of Nalanda, and the South Indian Buddhist Vajrabodhi. Srivijaya was the largest Buddhist empire ever formed in Indonesian history.

A number of Buddhist historical heritages can be found in Indonesia, including the 8th century Borobudur mandala monument and Sewu temple in Central Java, Batujaya in West Java, Muaro Jambi, Muara Takus and Bahal temple in Sumatra, and numerous of statues or inscriptions from the earlier history of Indonesian Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms. During the era of Kediri, Singhasari and Majapahit empire, buddhism — identified as Dharma ri Kasogatan — was acknowledged as one of kingdom's official religions alongside with Hinduism. Although some of kings might favour Hinduism over another, nevertheless the harmony, toleration, and even syncretism were promoted as manifested in Bhinneka Tunggal Ika national motto, coined from Kakawin Sutasoma, written by Mpu Tantular to promotes tolerance between Hindus (Shivaites) and Buddhists. The classical era of ancient Java also had produces some of the exquisite examples of Buddhist arts, such as the statue of Prajnaparamita and the statue of Buddha Vairochana and Boddhisttva Padmapani and Vajrapani in Mendut temple.

In 13th century Islam entered the archipelago, and by the end of the 16th century had replaced Hinduism and Buddhism as the dominant religion of Java and Sumatra.

Following the downfall of President Sukarno in the mid-1960s, Pancasila was reasserted as the official Indonesian policy on religion to only recognise monotheism. As a result, founder of Perbuddhi (Indonesian Buddhists Organisation), Bhikku Ashin Jinarakkhita, proposed that there was a single supreme deity, Sang Hyang Adi Buddha. He was also backed up with the history behind the Indonesian version of Buddhism in ancient Javanese texts, and the shape of the Borobudur Temple.

During the New Order era, the state ideology of Pancasila listed Buddhism among the five official religions of Indonesia. The national leader of the time, Suharto, had considered Buddhism and Hinduism as Indonesian classical religions.

Today, in reference to the principle of Pancasila, a Buddhist monk representing the Buddhist Sangha, along with priest, Brahmin, pastor or representative of other recognized religions, would participate in nearly all state-sponsored ceremonies. The ceremony would always include a prayer (led by a Muslim imam with representatives of other faiths standing in a row behind him). It is noteworthy that, although the majority of Indonesian Buddhists are of the Chinese Mahayana school, more often than not the representative of Buddhism as selected by the Government would happen to be a Theravada monk.


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Re: Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2012, 06:42:01 PM »

The temple of Borubudur lies eastern Java on the Kedu Plain.It is surrounded by an idyllic landscape of incomparable beauty of rice terraced hillsand overlooked by four Sailendra volcanos.The industrious subjects of the dynasty built it over period of 80 years in the 9th century.
Borubudur can truly be called one of the wonders of the world.One of those places where the compassionate aesthetic beauty of mankind's nature can be glimpsed,a place where that centre of peace and stillness within us all can be felt,and a symbol of the industriousness of the human race.

Dolce Vita

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Re: Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2012, 07:04:08 PM »
Borobudur is a sacred power place for Tantric Buddhists, 2500 years ago, Lord Buddha gave the Kalachakra tantric teachings here. The Kalachakra teachings were then taken from Borobudur by King Suchandra to his Kingdom of Shambala in Central Asia, (now possibly in a region of the Gobi desert in Mongolia). The people of Shambala practiced these teachings purely and, as a result, raised their collective consciousness to such a high degree that the entire kingdom dematerialized into a subtler and purer astral dimension. As Shambala is no longer visible to ordinary people, many now think it is just a legend.

Gangchen Rinpoche seems to have a special affinity with Borobudur, he has visited Borobudur more than 20 times, taking students from all over the world for a pilgrimage trip here.


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Re: Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2012, 07:15:20 PM »
It is very meritorious to build stupas. The benefits are vast.  According to Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche in Chenrezig Institute, Australia, in September 1994, "The Stupa represents Buddha's holy mind, Dharmakaya, and each part of the Stupa shows the path to Enlightenment. Building a Stupa is a very powerful way to purify negative karma and obscurations, and to accumulate extensive merit. In this way you can have realizations of the path to Enlightenment and be able to do perfect work to liberate suffering beings, who equal the sky, leading them to the peerless happiness of Enlightenment, which is the ultimate goal of our life.

1. If you make 1,000 Stupas, you will become a great 'Wheel-turning Holder of the Wisdom Teachings' (Mahayana Secret Mantra) and have clairvoyance knowing all the Buddhadharma.
2. After death, without being born in the lower realms, you will be born as a King.
3. You will become like a sun, rising in the world, with perfect senses and a beautiful body.
4. You will be able to remember past lives and see future lives.
5. You will be able to extensively listen to the Dharma without forgetfulness.
6. The "Stainless Beam" sutra states - 'All negative karma and obscurations, including the five uninterrupted negative karmas, are purified even by dreaming of a Stupa, seeing a Stupa hearing the sound of the bell of a Stupa and even for birds and flies etc, by being touched by the shadow of a Stupa.
7. The sentient beings will always be protected by the Buddhas, who always pay attention to guiding them to achieve complete pure Enlightenment. They abide in the irreversible stage.
8. It is explained by Shakyamuni Buddha in the Sutras, that it is extremely powerful to build a Stupa for those who have passed away, as it immediately changes a suffering rebirth into a fortunate rebirth with the opportunity to meet the Dharma.
9. It can also heal those with serious diseases.
10. There is no question that it accumulates extensive merit and brings success and happiness. Therefore, dedicate for your ancestors, family members and friends who have passed away or who are sick, and for the happiness of yourself and your family in this and future lives."

Borobodur was one of the great examples of how stupas can be built. Another splendid wonder of the ancient world is Bagan, Burma. There were more than 10,000 stupas and temple built between 11th to 13th Century. However, only around 2,000 are left.


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Re: Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2012, 11:17:17 PM »
Wow, this is certainly a place I want to visit before I die !

Here is what I found out :

Borobudur, a name deriving from an expression meaning 'Mountain of accumulation of merits of the ten states of Bodhisattva' is commonly thought of as a Buddhist structure, yet its initial construction was planned and conducted by Hindu builders sometime around 775 AD. The enormous first and second terraces were completed by a declining Hindu dynasty, construction was then halted for some years, and later, from 790 to 835 AD, the Buddhist Sailendra dynasty continued and finally completed the great stupa.

The huge stone mass might have then been permanently abandoned, for it was difficult to adapt to the needs of Buddhism. However, leaving in evidence such an obvious manifestation of Hinduism was probably not deemed politically correct and thus the unfinished Shiva temple was transformed into the world's largest Buddhist stupa.

It is interesting to note that the great stupa continues to bring in tourists till this day and thereby support the livelihood of the people in that area.

Big Uncle

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Re: Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2012, 05:38:46 AM »
Wow! The sheer size of the whole structure is incredible. Although it so old, it is the largest Buddhist structure in the whole world. That is incredible because it was built in ancient times with ancient methods of building unless there were some lost construction technology. I am not an expert on Indonesian history but I wonder what led to its abandonment? It appears to be mystery and forever shrouded by the myst of time.

The other thing I heard was that Kyabje Gangchen Rinpoche frequents Borobudur and leads pujas and retreats there with a group of students. I heard from a friend of mine that he often hears the sacred and mystical song of the Dakinis that reside at Borobodor. And it was generally known by his students that one of Gangchen Rinpoche's previous life was the architect of Borobodor. We know very little because there doesn't seem to be any inscription on this matter. Today, we know the name of the architect as Gunadharma and very little is known aside from Javanese folk tales.


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Re: Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2012, 06:03:18 AM »
Wow! Such a beautiful sight! I have only been to Swayambunath and Boudhanath stupas so far. Must go visit more. They are really beautiful and magnificent.

The answer to you question Kris.
Yes, Atisha is said to have visited Borobudur as stated in his biography.

"According to research in Indonesia, Atisha also seems to have visited the island of Java where Serlingpa ancestors have built shrines such magnificent stupa in the world famous Borobudur, Prambanan temple complex, temple and palace of Tara Kalasan Boko."

And another here :

Atisha, a Buddhist from India in the tenth century once visited this temple that was built 3 centuries before Angkor Wat in Cambodia and 4 centuries before the Grand Cathedrals in Europe.

There are many great Stupas around the world that were build centuries ago and all of them are magnificent!

This is what I found in more details about Borobudur:

"It has ten terraces. The first six terraces are square and the two upper terraces are circular. Right on top is the terrace on which the statue of the Buddha had been seated facing westward. The statue has been removed and is now to be found in the museum. Each terrace symbolizes one of the stages of human life.  The aspirant who wants to reach the stage of the Buddha has to go through each of these stages. The base is known as Kamadhatu. There is a very similar square in the Sree Yantra which is supposed to be that state of life in which the human being is still bound by desires ‘Kama’ and passions. From here we climb up to the second, third and fourth terraces and these are known as Rupadhatu. This is the stage when the human being is still bound to ‘rupa’ or form that is to the world of shapes and forms – the world of the senses as we experience it. On these four terraces the effigies of the Buddha are placed in open space. The next three terraces are known as Arupadhatu and here the effigies of the Buddha are confined inside domes with holes in them. Only those who have freed themselves from lust and passion for forms, can reach this stage. The final part is known as Arupa and is the state of nirvana, or liberation which is the state of the Buddha."

Jessie Fong

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Re: Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2012, 06:06:46 AM »
Borobudur has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monument is a shrine to Buddha and a place of worship and pilgrimage for Buddhists worldwide. A Must-go-visit on the itinerary of all.

The mere size itself is already mind-boggling, not to mention how they managed to get this structure up.  We are talking about building this circa 9th century, when engineering feat was not accomplished with the technoogy thaqt we have today.

Yes, Kris ... it's like Egypt pyramids of the East.


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Re: Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2012, 12:56:41 PM »
Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java was constructed around 750 A.D. by a powerful and wealthy ruler of the Cailendra Dynasty in honour of Buddha. Due to the decline of the empire and the termination of the construction work at Borobodur, it was abandoned and the sactuary had existed unnoticed, overgrown in the tropical climate of Central Java. Almost one thousand years later, a Javanese nobleman took the first step towards the temple's rediscovery.  Borobodur means "Accumulation of Virtue in the Ten Stages of the Bodhisattvas". It consists of nine superimposed terraces, symbol of the nine levels of the Holy Mount Meru.

The enormous dimensions as well as a very differentiated symbolism have made Borobodur one of the largest temple constructions outside India. This great holy site is now under extensive restoration programme with international technical and financial aid. It is now declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is attracting a lot of tourists.


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Re: Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2012, 02:34:28 PM »
I have heard some where that the physical structure of the Borobudur stupa is a mandala that offers us a detailed map of the human consciousness. Its particular quality lies in its ability to allow practitioners to physically traverse the stages and paths of the Tantric practices, which are materially illustrated on the actual structure.

The pilgrimage to Borobudur with Lama Gangchen has become a fixed appointment for many people over the years. Something in each one of these journeys will make it an unforgettable experience. During these twenty-two years, over one thousand people have benefited from the sacred and magical opportunity to practice NgalSo Tantric Self Healing within the three-dimensional mandala, an initiatory path, a labyrinth of open air galleries completely covered in bas-reliefs that illustrate the lives of the Buddha, Bodhisattvas, Mahasiddhas, and scenes of daily life with real banquets and imaginary animals.

Enjoy this beautiful self healing video of Lama Gangchen in Borobudur´s self healing
Autocura de Borobudur - Borobudur´s self healing Small | Large


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Re: Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2012, 03:36:09 PM »
Borobudur is the biggest Buddhist temple in the ninth century measuring 123 x 123 meters. It was completed centuries before Angkor Wat in Kamboja.

Atisha, a Buddhist from India in the tenth century once visited this temple that was built 3 centuries before Angkor Wat in Cambodia and 4 centuries before the Grand Cathedrals in Europe.

The above information are from which you can find more information.

i have never been to Borobudur, it is one of the place i would like to visit in this life time. I have been to nepal and visit boudhanath stupa and swayambhunath stupa in nepal which also very beautiful and have significant on the structure.


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Re: Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2012, 11:38:04 AM »
I have visited Borobudur several times and it was always an enjoyable visit.  It was unfortunate that the last time I visited some of heads of Buddha statues were missing.  I remember that there is one particular stupa with a Buddha inside.  It is said that if you are able to touch the hand, your wish will come true.  I did touched the hand, but I do not think that my wish at the time come true hehe...

BTW, it is the same with Fontana di Trevi in Italy where there is a saying that if you toss a coin, your wish will come true.  That is not true as well.

The only thing that I tried but still have not been proven is the one step at the Cathedral of Notre Dame.  They said if you step on that particular step, you will come back to Paris.  It was 12 years ago and I still have not come back.

I think it is all come down to the law of karma and cause and effect.


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Re: Borobodur, The Lost Temple of Java
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2012, 02:32:59 PM »
Other than Buddhists, many yogis also consider Borobodur a great place to visit and do their vinaya.. I strongly believe Borobodur is one of many sacred places for powerful deities. Much like Kathmandu in Nepal.

Imagine highly charged by holy energy, these places would be filled with invisible 'pot holes' that enable instant transportation to another, no physically travelling required. so super cool..Well, just my fantasy.
Down with the BAN!!!