One of the many anomalies in Jakarta culture – a Catholic church in a Muslim country. This is what makes my environment so interesting.
I’ve already posted a photo of this temple, Tanah Lot, but I found this photo hiding amongst others and I really like the wider angle on this shot than the other that I’ve already posted.
What do you think?
Oh, and this is my 900th post…whoa…that’s a lot of photos.
As you can see, there is no temple in this photo. The people standing knee-deep in water are carrying offerings from the mainland of Bali (Bali is an island…does it have a “mainland”?) to the Tanah Lot temple, which is located on a small, but considerable, rock just slightly offshore.
Their numbers are due in large part to the full moon that was occurring that night…and being a religious people who put great stock in the lunar cycle, there were many, many people all around Bali bringing offerings to their temples at this time.
I love the temples in Bali. There are hundreds (thousands?) of mosques here in Jakarta, but in Bali, over 90% of the population identifies itself with Hinduism. Hindu temples all have such interesting repetition, interesting patterns in their construction. This temple, the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan water temple, shows a great example of the repetition in construction.
Yes, I’ve posted a photo of this temple before, but this was shot with my DSLR – the other was shot with my iPad. I like this one better.
It’s not really fair. Buddha, above, has an advantage in the meditation game: he’s a statue.
I’ve tried it. I’ve tried finding a still, small, quiet space in the world to sit still, quietly, and make myself small in the grand scheme of the world. I’ve tried praying, meditating, contemplating, but I have a great deal of difficulty. I can’t shut off me. If I were concrete, if I had been formed somewhere by an artisan or a concrete mold and there were no thoughts going on inside my head, I might be better at sitting still and finding a quiet place to think about life, about the things that really matter.
Either way, Buddha always has the advantage.
This is one of the many temples we saw while vacationing in Bali for Christmas. It’s quite beautiful in real life…I hope that this photo captures its beauty.
I was walking home two days ago and I noticed the Masjid on Kemang Jalan Barat. I snapped a photo. Here it is.
I must be really tired.
There is a story going on here, and it extends around the entire temple at Borobudur. What is most fascinating is that the reliefs shown above are incredibly well rendered and seem to include characters from global cultures. There are Europeans, Classical Greeks, Chinese, African, and Indonesian characters, all carved into rocks that are well over one thousand years old. They all reflect the story of Buddha, his birth, life, and transcendence.
What you see above is the Prambanan Temple…or temples, to be more accurate. The Prambanan and Borobudur Temple complexes are both set up as mandalas, which can be seen from above. But what is so impressive is seeing how, from the right angles, the main temple is enhanced with each of the smaller temples in front of it. The line up perfectly.
We hired a guide to take us up the Borobudur temple. He give us some interesting insights, along with some local folklore and some personal interpretations. The reason I titled this post “almost enlightened” is because of some information he shared when we got to the top of the temple.
I asked, “Why are these stupas (bell structures that house statues of Buddha) fitted with blocks that create a diamond shape, when the stupas on the last level, the top level, make square shapes?”
“The architect wanted to show how a person may be enlightened, but still not be entirely stable. The diamond shape can be tipped on its side, whereas the square is stable. Nothing can move it on its side, nothing can upend it,” was his reply.
Because we are still human, even though we may achieve enlightenment, we may still be upended, knocked over. I think there’s a good lesson in that.
This is a shot of the Prambanan Temple complex near Yogyakarta. It is part of my (adopted) country, but being both Hindu and over 1000 years old, it is foreign to me.
My family and I were away for four days this week. Our school gives us a week off in conjunction with the Indonesian observance of Idul Adha, a day of significance for Muslims. We chose to head to another part of the island of Java, to Yogyakarta. Yogyakarta is in Central Java and it’s famous for its batik, its nearness to Mt. Merapi (the volcano that blows its top every couple of years), and two important historical and religious sites.
Borobudur and Prambanan, Buddhist and Hindu temples, respectively, are both located very nearby the city of Yogyakarta. We stayed in a villa in the shadow of Mt. Sumbing, another volcano, and traveled between the two temple sites before returning home. The villa is decidedly rustic and offered beautiful vistas of surrounding rice fields and farms, as shown above, and is surrounded by masjids (mosques) that open the day with prayer at 4:00 am. There is nothing like waking up to someone praying/singing in Arabic before the sun even rises.
On Tuesday, our last day at the villa, I woke up with the call to prayer and snapped some photos as the sun came up. The light was great and the proximity to Mt. Sumbing meant that the air was actually cool. A beautiful experience, to say the least.
I shot this from the window of the bus as I traveled from Jakarta to Bandung. We, my family and friends, went to Bandung for three reasons: outlet shopping, viewing a live volcano, and watching an angklung performance. On the way up, we passed a number of rest stops, but this one came with its own masjid, or mosque. Very beautiful, for a rest stop.
This is a Catholic church that is in Jakarta, directly across the street from the Masjid Istiqlal (the mosque from my photo a few days ago). Before moving here, I was given the impression that there was tension between Islam and Christianity in Jakarta, but I’ve not found that yet. There seems, from the people with whom I’ve spoken, to be a mutual respect.
Also, is it just me, or is the ceiling a little tribute to Darth Vader? I am a huge fan of all things Star Wars, and sometimes I think I see Star Wars everywhere, but the ceiling really does look a little Vader-ish, right?
Today was an awesome day. I was in awe quite a number of times. My friends Ian and Karl put together an adventurous day of places to visit and things to learn. Here’s a few of the highlights:
1. The Jakarta Port (the area in which boats are moored that move cargo around the islands of Jakarta).
2. Old Batavia/Jakarta Kota Tua (the old city, built largely by the Dutch).
3. Gereja Katedral Jakarta (a Roman Catholic church built over 100 years ago).
4. The Wayang Museum (wayang are the shadow puppets that are an iconic Indonesia art and drama form).
5. The Misjad Istiqlal (a mosque that holds 200000 worshippers).
I was really excited to get to see all of these places. If I had to be honest, the Istiqlal Mosque was the place I was most looking forward to seeing, and I didn’t even know we were going to see it until halfway through the day. A totally amazing surprise. The place is massive.
The photo above doesn’t do it any justice at all, but I hope that it conveys some of the wonder that I felt standing in that huge place of worship. I should probably point out that the words in Arabic that surround the dome are a prayer that Muslims pray daily (according to our guide). Oh, and the dome you see above is 45 meters in diameter (that’s about 150 feet for my American friends).
Electricity is power. Without it, we’d have no lights, televisions, movies, lcd projectors, cameras, computers, internet, cell phones, iPods, cars…um…the list goes on in a long, long mile.
(Please feel free to send me comments about how things like these can run in some manual, un-powered way. I know. My Pentax K1000 is completely manual, but still relies on a battery for the light meter and a whole crap-load of power to convert the film into photos, as an example.)
Religion, however, has started wars and brought peace. It has ended lives by transporting the dying into another realm, while started lives through dedications and christenings. It has started and ended civilizations. It has inspired creation and destruction.
I know which one I think is more powerful. What about you?
Apparently my imagination is fairly…uh…stumped today. I’ll save you the pain of trying to read my discombobulated thoughts and just post a photo for you.
…and I’ll show you some cool old buildings.
Actually, I’ve never found a cool way to shoot the insides of these kind of buildings, but the outsides are always so nice.
What I particularly liked about this one was the sign hanging over the Community Center door. You can only see the tail end of the banner, but here’s what it said: ”God invented Chocolate – and other potential myths.” I thought that was particularly funny.
To be truthful, I liked the juxtaposition between the old church building and the new condominium building to its right. That’s why I shot this.
We did not go to the Buddhist Temple this summer and I kind of miss these guys. The face above belongs to one of many statues depicting the “Lohans” of Buddhism. My kids love going to the temple and it’s a cool way to experience a culture outside our own. But there are lessons to be learned in a temple that go far beyond culture.
A couple of summers ago, when we took the kids to the temple in Steveston, BC for the first time, my son was doing his best to exercise self-control. He walked instead of running. He spoke quietly instead of excitedly shouting. He kept his hands behind his back. To this day, when I need him to exercise that same restraint, I say to him: “Ben. Buddhist Temple.” And that’s all he needs. Buddhist Temple.
Oh, and this week’s photo challenge is “Faces“.
…makes you a believer as much as standing in your garage makes you a car.
This analogy works for a lot of buildings – going to school makes you a students as much as…going in to work makes you a worker as much as…working in a school makes you a teacher as much as…
But the appeal in this analogy to me is that who you are is a choice, not a geographical position. I think a great number of people I know believe that being in a place makes you something related to the place. This is not true. Not that being in a certain place is not inspirational, but there is a long way from inspiration to change.
…as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Boy, are those words ingrained in my head. When I was a kid, we used to say the Lord’s Prayer in school every morning. We had to recite it in the King James Version as well, so Shakespeare came quite easily to me (thanks, King James). As I said yesterday, repetition holds importance for me, so I’ve had this locked away in the back of my brain since a very young age. When I said it 180 times a year, for the first five years of school, it stuck in my memory.
So when I trespassed on BC Rail property on Monday afternoon, this phrase came ringing to the forefront of my consciousness. I had already crossed one set of tracks, then a makeshift bridge over a small creek, but as I gained ground I was met with this at eye-level. NO TRESPASSING. The Lord’s Prayer rang through, but then another thought jumped in right afterward. Someone had to paint that on the rail. It was someone’s job to get down on hands and knees and spray-paint that message right there, where hundreds, maybe thousands, of people have walked. I believe that it’s the railway company’s way of saying that, “If you get hit by a train here, we tried to warn you.”
Still, that still, small voice in my conscience, the one born of repetition of a King James phrased memorization regimen, spoke to me.
When I was little, like seven or eight years old, I would go to my Grandma’s house to be watched while my parents would go out with their friends. We would play Chinese Checkers and Snakes and Ladders and UNO. My grandma would take out a giant plate of cookies that were partially frozen – frozen because grandma would make ten or twelve dozen cookies in a mad Mennonite grandma moment and then freeze them all just in case visitors came over and then she’d have something to serve – jam jams, sour cream cookies, sugar cookies, ginger snaps, you name it she made it.
Then grandma would get all serious. She would pour a few glasses of milk for my sisters and me and we’d be eating cookies and she’d pull out this postcard sized picture. On it was a picture of the apocalypse. Cars were crashed into each other, buildings were on fire, the world was in destruction mode. The souls of the saved were floating up to the sky and the sun was shooting through the clouds in very defined rays. Every time I see rays of sunshine coming through the clouds I think of grandma’s “scare’em into heaven” postcard of the apocalypse. So, even though this is a shot of the Oregon Coast from a beautiful summer vacation, the sun’s rays bring me back to my grandma’s kitchen and her attempts to save my soul.
I’m posting this on Photo Friday for this week’s challenge: Liquid. Feel free to check out the other entries to this week’s photo challenge.