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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Indonesia, Lesson 4 - The Birth of Buddha
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Indonesia Series at IndonesianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Indonesian holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 4, The Birth of Buddha. In Indonesian, it’s called Waisak.
Waisak is a Buddhist holiday celebrated on the full moon in May. In celebration of the Birth of Buddha, people gather to listen to advice on how to best love their fellow man and to recite prayers.
In this lesson, we’ll discuss the sequence of The Birth of Buddha celebrations in Indonesia.
Now, before we go into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
Do you know the name of the largest Buddhist temple in the world?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. So, keep listening.
The Birth of Buddha is celebrated every May, during the full moon, or bulan purnama. In Indonesia, celebrations are concentrated around the Borobudur Temple, attracting both tourists and Buddhists from Indonesia and abroad. Leading up to this day, social services and medication, or obat-obatan, are provided for free in the courtyard of the temple. The next day, the monks carry out Pindapata processions, in which they walk through the streets accepting alms from the people. Later, they will again walk in a procession to the main altar of the Borobudur Temple, carrying torches, holy water, and the Buddhist symbols that, during the rest of the year, are stored at the Mendut Temple.
From the Mendut Temple, the monks walk with the people distributings offerings such as vegetables, or sayur-sayuran and fruits, or buah-buahan. Once they arrive at the Borobudur Temple, the monks and the people perform the Pradaksina ritual, in which they walk around the temple clockwise three times. This ritual is the said to be the highest homage to the Buddha.
After the Pradaksina, 1,000 lanterns are released into the sky. Tourists who attend can also fly lanterns by paying a donation of 100,000 rupiah per lantern, or lampion. The release of the lanterns represents the carrying of the people’s prayers and hopes into space, as well as symbolizing the release of the anger, envy, and lust from within themselves. This also marks the conclusion of the celebration of Waisak.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know the name of the largest Buddhist temple in the world?
Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and is now listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you know of any other traditions that celebrate The Birth of Buddha?
Please leave us a comment telling us at IndonesianPod101.com. And we'll see you in the next lesson.