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The Balinese People, Meditation and Nyepi

Do you like meditation?

If so, Bali is the perfect place to spend your vacation. Bali, beside being rich in arts and culture, is also famous for its beautiful natural panorama and tropical climate that warms and braces. Social-religious nuance of the Balinese people that never stops in performing ritual processions certainly supports your motivation to perform meditation.

You only need to choose the location that you like, such as a hotel, at the villa, or the wide-open nature like at the mountain foot, at the beach, nearby the ravine, and at the river border.

Today, many tourism agents in Bali offers holiday packages plus meditation activity with the guidance of experienced meditation instructors. Things that need to be considered, if you want to meditate in the open, make sure that the guide who takes you asks permission to the surrounding society, so that your meditation will undisturbed, because Balinese people often performs ritual activities in open spaces.

Meditation activity amongst Balinese ancestors is known with the term tapa, brata, yoga, samadi. In ancient times, this activity was much performed by pendeta, pemangku, balian, and the people who were fond of literature. This activity is performed as self-control effort from the temptation of earthy things, self-purifying spiritually, health protection. Usually they choose the special day for meditation such as Kajeng KliwonPurnamaTilem, or the sacred day of Nyepi.

Usually, before starting the meditation, they offer the sesaji (offering) with certain prayers. Beside sitting in enchantment regulating the respiration and concentration, the Balinese meditation style is also followed with prohibition not eating and drinking. For they who are unable, they only sit and concentrating the mind while doing the breath arranging, and they can eat if they are hungry.

Now, many Balinese people performs the meditation, especially the teenager who merge within certain spiritual communities or company groups that in certain times perform the meditation activity to keep the employee’s health in order to improve work productivity. Moreover, in the last evolution, meditation activity is managed professionally and sold as “meditation tourism package” without any payment for the participant who follows it.

A special meditation activity that is performed by Balinese people in Nyepi is called brata penyepian. The Balinese enters the sipeng (quiet) day, in perfect tranquility. Just as described in Lontar Sundarigama; during Nyepi, the Balinese performs for brata penyepian in the form of amati geni (not to light the fire), amati karya (not working), amati lelungan (not traveling), amati lelanguan (not enjoying any entertainments). This makes the surround environments becomes quiet and free from air-pollution. Bali becomes a sterile island that free from any kind of pollutions and greedy humans that edaciously dig the natural resource.

Intrinsically, amati geni is a guidance to clear our mind by controlling api nafsu indria (the sense-organ passion). Bhagawan Wararuci in the Holy Book Sarasamuccaya describes indria is just like heaven and hell, whereas when you can control them it’s called heaven, and if you unable to control them then it will be like hell. Duryodana and his ally who unable to control their sense-organ passion, intoxicated in power, and behave arbitrary to Pandawa, finally trapped into a brother-conflict until they found their own death in the story of Bharatayudha. And, amati karya or not doing any kind activities will invite us to mulat sarira (self introspection), muse over the entire behaviors during days with the theory of wiweka (intelligent behavior).

Each person should able to consider, to classify or decide good or bad deeds. Arrogant behavior and pretending attitude within our nation leaders should be deleted, because we could pretend to be good to someone else but not to ourselves. The cause is that each step of the leader can cause society imbalance, because the leader’s mind, heart, and deeds are not collated. As result, people will also confuse and vacillate in the middle of uncertain conflict.

Amati lelungan and amati lelanguan also revive the human being not tempted at ease with hedonism life styles. Extravagant life, being wasteful, jealousy of someone’s progress and being satisfied should avoided, because it really opposite with human’s life today. Amati lelungan probably able to become a mirror for world leaders, not traveling abroad frequently, because the problem of each nation needs to gain serious attention. People will feel comfortable with the attention-full leader.

That was the meditation reality that is performed by the Balinese, especially related with Nyepi. However, before Nyepi is celebrated, the Balinese will perform the melasti ritual to the sea and tawur kesanga at the crossroad. These ritual processions are really interesting to watch because this event is also significant as the effort of self-purifying before doing the meditation or brata penyepian. The happy Sacred Day of Nyepi, Içaka 1926, asks for forgiveness, both with regard to the world, as well as those beneath it.

Author: Ketut Sumadi.

Bali Travel Newspaper.


NOTE: First time Published online in BLOG – Tri Hita Karana Products on date 14 Jan 2015. Author: Ketut Sumadi