Celebrating SILENCE – Balinese New Year NYEPI

We normally associate celebrations with noise, loud music, singing, partying and of course crowds of people.

Not so with the Balinese; not always.

Here, on this isle of gods, silence and solitude are celebrated too. Indeed, the most important celebration here is that of silence.

Yes, I am speaking about Nyepi – the day of silence. Following the traditions and wisdom of the ancients of the archipelago, to this day Balinese celebrate their New Year in silence. What a way to celebrate the New Year!

Nyepi is a day to reflect, and to do self-introspection. Nyepi is a day for contemplation, and meditation. On this day, newyear resolutions are made in silence, in deep, deep silence.


Heroes never die: A tribute to A. Buyung Nasution

Are we shocked when we hear about someone’s demise? Has the news of someone’s death ever inspired us to think about our own impending death?

Adnan Buyung Nasution, a legend, passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 23. His death brings to an end an important era of our republic, an important part of our modern history.

When the Republic was still very young, he was himself a young activist — more a peoples’ hero than a lawyer. As the Republic grew, he too grew with the Republic, with all of us.

Sometimes within the government, at other times outside the government, the man lived and served the nation, and the peoples of this country, in many ways.

During one of our meetings in Bali he told me, “You know, to serve the nation and the people of the nation, you don’t have to have any position. You don’t have to be in government.” But of course. Yes, Sir.


CHRISTMAS MEDITATION – Carrying the Cross with Jesus

It is easy to quote someone famous, and elaborate upon their words. It is easy to quote Jesus, Muhammad, Siddhartha, or Krishna, and then comment on them.

It is not easy to be original. Jesus was original, genuine.
When the scholars, the men of letters asked him what was the first commandment, he took no time thinking. “Love God with all your mind, heart, and soul.” The questioners were smart, They did not ask Jesus about his teachings. Theirs was a generic question, “what is the first commandment”. And, Jesus answered in the same generic language too! (more…)

Indonesia, the Ahmadiyya and radical Islam

Radical Islam in Indonesia is on the march, and the religious pluralism enshrined in the doctrine of Pancasila is coming under direct attack. Last week the Indonesian government has issued a joint ministerial decree telling the heretical Muslim Ahmadiyya movement to ‘stop spreading interpretations and activities’ which deviate from orthodox Islam. That decree has implications for other minorities as well, including liberal and reformist Muslims, and the moderate Wahid Institute (named for former president Abdurrahman Wahid) says the country is on the brink of becoming an Islamic state.


The National Resurgence: Reasserting Our Commitment

Sunday, the 20th of May, 1908:

A handful of our youth, led by Dr. Wahidin Sudirohusodo, and supported by Dr. Soetomo, Gunawan and Suradji – declared the formation of “Boedi Oetomo”. They laid the foundation for our Independence. The movement would awake the Indonesians to Indonesia – to its rich cultural heritage, and age old values.