Here are some beautiful photos of one of the wonders of the world - Indonesia's Borobudur, built by the original Buddhists of Indonesia, before the Arabs brought their religion here.
It's a testament to the strength and genuine diversity of Indonesia that 16 May is a public holiday - to celebrate the life, death, and enlightenment of Buddha.
The holiday is significant for Indonesia’s 1.7 million Buddhists (out of around 250 million total population), while the majority of the population enjoy a Buddha-inspired day-off from their usual work or school activities.
I admire the moral strength and character of those Indonesian communities who've resisted the imports and remained true to their original cultures - like the Hindus of Bali and the very strong and loving Buddhists.
Selamat Hari Waisak!
Here's some background:
Buddhists in Indonesia honor Buddha and his enlightenment through various celebrations. The holiday is associated with flowers, bright colours, and many beautiful sights.
Just before dawn on Waisak Day, Indonesian Buddhists will gather at temples for ceremonies that honor Buddha and his teachings. Once the ceremony concludes, Buddhist flags are often hoisted. Indonesian Buddhists will also sing Buddhist hymns.
It is also a common practice for people to present an offering of flowers to a temple’s statue of Buddha. The flower is a symbol of life. Just like life, flowers are beautiful, but they will eventually wither and die. The flower offerings serve as a reminder to people that life is precious and fleeting.
The most popular place to celebrate Waisak Day is Borbudur. Borbudur is a large Buddhist temple that hosts an elaborate Waisak Day festival. Each year, many Buddhists from across Indonesia make a pilgrimage to Borbudur. People can visit Borbudur to encounter all of the temple’s monks gather for a large ceremony of meditation.
During this ceremony, the monks gather in a large circle and chant mantras. It is considered polite to leave a small donation of food or money for the monks during Waisak Day. Borbudur is also open to non-Buddhist visitors.