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    Borobudur Temple, Magelang - Indonesia

    Borobudur temple is built to represent many layers of Buddhist theory. From a birds eye view, the temple is in the shape of a traditional Buddhist mandala. A mandala is central to a great deal of Buddhist and Hindu art, the basic form of most Hindu and Buddhist mandalas is a square with four entry points, and a circular centre point. Working from the exterior to the interior, three zones of consciousness are represented, with the central sphere representing unconsciousness or Nirvana.

    Zone 1 Kamadhatu
    The phenomenal world, the world inhabited by common people.

    This base level of Borobudur has been covered by a supporting foundation, so is hidden from view. During an investigation by JW Yzerman in 1885 the original foot was discovered. Borobudurís hidden Kamadhatu level consists of 160 reliefs depicting scenes of Karmawibhangga Sutra, the law of cause and effect. Illustrating the human behaviour of desire, the reliefs depict robbing, killing, rape, torture and defamation.

    Evidence suggests that the additional base was added during the original construction of the temple. The reason for adding the base is not 100% certain, but likely to be either for stability of the structure, to prevent the base from moving, or for religious reasons - to cover up the more salacious content. The added base is 3.6m in height and 6.5m wide.

    borobudur_exposed_footA corner of the covering base has been permanently removed to allow visitors to see the hidden foot, and some of the reliefs. See image to the right.

    Photography of the entire collection of 160 reliefs is displayed at the Borobudur Museum which is within the Borobudur Archeological Park.

    Zone 2 Rapadhatu
    The transitional sphere, in which humans are released from worldly matters.

    The four square levels of Rapadhatu contain galleries of carved stone reliefs, as well as a chain of niches containing statues of Buddha. In total there are 328 Buddhas on these balustraded levels which also have a great deal of purely ornate reliefs .

    The Sanskrit manuscripts that are depicted on this level over 1 300 reliefs are Gandhawyuha, Lalitawistara, Jataka and Awadana. They stretch for 2.5km. In addition there are 1 212 decorative panels.

    Zone 3 Arupadhatu
    The highest sphere, the abode of the gods.

    The three circular terraces leading to a central dome or stupa represent the rising above the world, and these terraces are a great deal less ornate, the purity of form is paramount.

    The terraces contain circles of perforated stupas, an inverted bell shape, containing sculptures of Buddha, who face outward from the temple. There are 72 of these stupas in total. The impressive central stupa is currently not as high as the original version, which rose 42m above ground level, the base is 9.9m in diameter. Unlike the stupas surrounding it, the central stupa is empty and conflicting reports suggest that the central void contained relics, and other reports suggest it has always been empty.


    Source: borobudurpark.com

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    Last edited by indonesia; 23-09-2011 at 12:13.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    76
    Borobudur from Wikipedia :
    Borobudur, or Barabudur, is an 8th-century Mahayana Buddhist monument near Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The monument comprises six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. A main dome, located at the center of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupa.

    The monument is both a shrine to the Lord Buddha and a place for Buddhist pilgrimage. The journey for pilgrims begins at the base of the monument and follows a path circumambulating the monument while ascending to the top through the three levels of Buddhist cosmology, namely Kāmadhātu (the world of desire), Rupadhatu (the world of forms) and Arupadhatu (the world of formlessness). During the journey, the monument guides the pilgrims through a system of stairways and corridors with 1,460 narrative relief panels on the walls and the balustrades.

    Evidence suggests Borobudur was abandoned following the 14th-century decline of Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms in Java, and the Javanese conversion to Islam.Worldwide knowledge of its existence was sparked in 1814 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, then the British ruler of Java, who was advised of its location by native Indonesians. Borobudur has since been preserved through several restorations. The largest restoration project was undertaken between 1975 and 1982 by the Indonesian government and UNESCO, following which the monument was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Borobudur is still used for pilgrimage; once a year Buddhists in Indonesia celebrate Vesak at the monument, and Borobudur is Indonesia's single most visited tourist attraction.


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