Beams of white sunlight like cryolite crystals slice
through charcoal, sienna, lemon chiffon, and hunyadi tinted stones
into squares, rectangles, and right angles,
that frame elements of negative and positive space,
as transitions through engraved stories.
Traded with cotton and spices,
the spread of Buddhism,
from India to China and down to Java,
was the first unifying agent of the Asian continent,
Chiseled into the volcanic rock, with exquisite workmanship of the Silendra, lords of the mountain,
during the most advanced civilization of its time,
the Salinger Dynasty aimed to bring
understanding of this Buddha's journey.
Unlike any other religious building in the world,
and revived from jungle growth, only two hundred years ago,
Three hundred and seventy feet long on each side
and seven levels high; the square walls are decorated with forms of
weight, stability, consequence, movement and action,
laced with impulse of the sacral chakra, desire and creativity.
Depicting ordinary people doing ordinary things,
followed by the consequences of these actions.
Basic impulse surfaces through pottery made by artisans;
Boats ride waves of personality and growth;
Houses are depicted with many windows
representing the multitude of senses seeping in through our bodies;
We desire to connect with tastes, textures, smells, sights, and sounds of the earth.
The voices of those who came before us
call out the repeating struggles,
of our human condition, through fourteen-hundred-sixty reliefs:
all life is suffering, all suffering is a result of lust and desire,
the removal of desire leads to the removal of suffering,
the way to deliverance is through releasing
attachment to this cycle of reincarnation;
If it were only this simple!
Avoid wrong and keep to the right:
Righteous thinking, belief, intention, meditation,
word, conduct, effort and living.
These cycles match the natural fire from the earth's center,
Funnels of hot spring heat rising from the jungle floor,
as clouds rise to the sky,
in the midst of a fresh vibrant tropical flora backdrop.
Each leave, flower, fruit, and tree has a limited time
to rise towards the sun, bloom, and become soil once again.
For twelve hundred years, birds have been echoing the message,
"Come from the East, West, North, and South."
This holy pyramid calls for pilgrimage!
Recognize how the spirit can overcome earthly desires,
through awakening, sacrifice, control of ego
integrating the personality and soul,
climbing the levels of consciousness.
Each physical body, born of mother earth,
ascends towards father sun.
The spirit dwells at the top of the mountain!
Likewise, awakened beings from around the world are pulled
to the radial symmetry of this sacred mandala.
Evolving from the angular physical world into three levels of circles.
From exterior to interior, three zones of consciousness
are represented: darkness as suffering,
awakening as control of desires,
and the central sphere as nirvana, free from all suffering.
From bird's eye view, this center holds
the universe together like a bindi.
Aerial View of Borobudur
Photo Credit: Fotolia.com
The purpose for awakening is to become a savior,
a teacher of fullness, completeness, enlightenment.
Rising above the four levels of squares,
in purity of circular form, sixty-two stupas,
Bell structures, leave perforated windows
to let the light shine on the bright one, buddha,
presented with six different hand positions, mudras
repeated in 504 sculptures throughout this temple.
Passing through the angular levels with scurrying lizards accentuating the contrasts,
I'm reminded of the ways that I choose to follow desires,
like the fleeting pleasure of a sweet dessert.
In the same way I'm choosing the consequence of
centimeters added to my figure's circumference.
Why do I often choose the path of more, more, more...
Suffering, struggle, separateness?
The pain of fermenting sugars, in my gut, dulls my mind.
I could be bathing in gratitude for day, my functional body,
beauty, nature, health, and peaceful stillness.
As I approach the upper floors of circles,
I'm surprised to be welcomed with lines of Javanese tourists.
These beautiful faces want to unite with me...
the outsider, westerner, who has traversed from the far west
to bring the message back to the land of the wanna be free.
Communicating through gestures and hand motions,
Asking to snap a photo or selfie with me, I feel blessed
Together with their smiles and hugs.
Even though their heads are covered and mine is not,
The color of our skin does not divide us, nor do politics.
We are choosing unity over difference.
With a lingering scent of the damp rock, the recent rain,
I wonder when the next storm will pass;
We hurry and suffer towards goals;
Every goal reached is followed by a new one;
Like the rain that flows to a river, lake or sea
then evaporates back into the clouds,
and becomes heavy into rain again.
The voice of longing and joy, good and bad,
when we neither listen to the suffering nor the laughter,
when we do not tie our soul to any particular voice,
but instead submerge our soul into it.
We come together as a thousand voices
to create the perfection of sacred sound, Om.
Equivalently, the central stupa is solid, yet empty.
Pictures become illusory.
Our divine within melts with the Universal consciousness.