2007-07-25

Borobudur is a ninth century Buddhist Mahayana

Borobudur is a ninth century Buddhist Mahayana monument in 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.[1] A main dome is located at the center of the top platform. It is surrounded by seventy-two perforated stupas, each containing one sitting Buddha statue.


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, Kamadhatu (the world of desire); Rupadhatu (the world of forms); and Arupadhatu (the world of formless). During the journey, the monument guides the pilgrims through a system of stairways and corridors with 1,460 narrative relief panels on the wall and the balustrades.


Evidence suggests Borobudur was abandoned following the fourteenth century decline of Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms in Java, and the Javanese conversion to Islam.[2] It was rediscovered in 1814 by Sir Thomas Raffles, the British ruler of Java. Since then, Borobudur has been preserved through several restorations. The largest restoration project was undertaken between 1975 and 1982 by the Indonesian government and UNESCO. Since 1991, Borobudur has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[3] Borobudur is still used for pilgrimage and is Indonesia's single most visited tourist attraction.[4][5][6]


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