The temperature was around 35 degrees and I was just sitting under the shade around the Kalasan Temple complex when I spotted a bunch of Singaporean tourists getting off the bus. But this group looked different; they wore all-white uniforms and were accompanied by a Buddhist monk. Could they be pilgrims?
It soon became obvious why they were there. Unlike several other temples in Java which were built to accommodate the syncretic blend of Hinduism and Buddhism, Kalasan was constructed exclusively in the 8th century as a Buddhist temple to worship one of the Buddhist deities called Tara. It is said to be the oldest temple built in the Prambanan plain of Yogyakarta in Java, Indonesia. Along with the mighty Borobudur, this site has been frequented by pilgrims especially during the Vesak celebration.
They walked almost silently in unison around the temple while holding lit candles. The monk radiated love and peace out of his chants of worship. I was standing in awe at the bottom of the stairs when they finally finished the walk and stood in front of the gate. The candles were then laid on a stone and as they were preparing to pray, the monk suddenly realized my presence and walked over.
“May I invite you to join us in a prayer for world peace?”
I smiled and thanked his hospitality but had to respectfully decline. However I stayed behind them while they were praying. I couldn’t understand a single word they were chanting but the energy touched my heart nonetheless.
A group of Buddhist pilgrims with a beaming monk, a Muslim tour guide, and a Christian watcher; we were all standing before the gracious Tara. Our mouths recited verses from different scriptures but our hearts were united in the same dream: let there be peace on earth.
More posts on this weekly photo challenge can be found here.