Balinese Hinduism

Balinese Hinduism

At its core, the hindu people of Bali are following exactly the same religion as the masses in India. But at their absolute core, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism all are pretty much the same as well. It could be due to the relative isolation that being an island came along with in years gone by but on the surface these Hindu rituals are unlike those in the religions motherland, India.

Picture yourself walking down the street and all of a sudden your standing in front of a beautiful temple built with traditional Balinese architecture. You want to go in but a local tells you that you’re not welcome, maybe not in those exact words but through some shmorgasberg of Bahasa, hand gestures and off putting facial expressions that cut to the chase in conveying the message of ‘you are not welcome here’. Fret not, its nothing person. Bali is steeped in beautiful traditions that are worth getting to know. One of the most obvious is the temple dress code.

It starts with an Udang on the head, the guy below has one on, as does every other male in the temple.  Then you’ll want to go find yourself a white shit. Get a sarong while you’re at it. And another sarong to go over your first sarong, the second one keeps the good energy, the stuff above the waist, from moving to the lower part of the body and dare I assume out through the Muladhara. For women, just find yourself a colorful sarong and a lace shirt. Ok. Now your ready. Head on into the temple, and make sure to wave to the Hello Kitty balloon floating around inside. I think there may be a story in the bible about the homeboy Jesus becoming angry at some folks for setting up a marketplace outside of a church – but that story is from a different religion so it doesn’t apply here…

 

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Another big part of temple goings that is more Balinese tradition than Hindu religion is the Gamelan. It’s a pretty general phrase meaning something along the lines of ‘orchestra’. Like an orchestra these Gamelan’s can incorporate many different instruments and their sizes can fluctuate almost as much as the weather in New England.

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One of the many instruments of the Gamelan

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Sure, maybe this little guy isn’t playing a form role in the Gamelan but the Balinese has a remarkably strong sense of culture and many children study traditional instruments all the way through university.

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Drums, Gongs, and such

 

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It’s not just the music that is an art, but the wood holding the instruments together is crafted with beautifully elaborate carvings

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Surely it’s a cultural thing, and traditions are great, but seeing this much makeup on anyone, especially a child, makes me a little uncomfortable.

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