Sunday, November 20, 2016

Going To Borobudur?



Some years ago while on a visit to Borobudur I was looking at books about the place that were for sale at the site itself. They ranged from large coffee-table tomes to small booklets giving a brief overview of the temple. Most gave details about when it was built, how many tons of stone had been used to build it, it’s alignment with two other temples nearby, the usual speculation about what the structure of the temple might symbolize, etc.  But strangely, not one of them explained what each of the 120 panels depicting the life of the Buddha mean. So I decided to write a book doing just that. As I finished  about  two years ago an Indonesian friend sent me a copy of a just released book doing what I had done – Titus Leber’s Lalitavistara: The Life of the Buddha as Told on the Borobudur. I was a bit peeved that someone had ‘beaten me to it’ but had to admit that the book’s photos are excellent and its production top notch. Anyway, after many delays my A Pilgrim’s Guide to Borobudur finally came out last month. While Leber’s Lalitavistara describes each panel in only a few lines, mine does so in detail, sometime as much as a full page. My hope is that  the book will help the visitor to Borobudur learn all about the life of the person who was the inspiration behind this amazing monument, i.e. the Buddha. The book is published by Karaniya, it’s in English and Bahasa Indonesia, and an English-Bahasa Indonesia-Chinese edition is due out soon. If you are visiting Borobudur you can purchase the book on site.     

3 comments:

Ken and Visakha said...

Excellent! We thoroughly enjoyed patiently photographing each section then deciphering the stories. What a good idea to put everything in a neat, multi-lingual book! How can we get a copy either in Sri Lanka or India? Sadhu! Sadhu!! Sadhu!!!

In the Dhamma,

brahmavihara said...

I must say I was surprised to hear that there are now two publications dedicated to the explanation of the symbolism of Borobudur's many panels and other symbolism. I was also surprised to hear that there had not been much information about it previously. Thanks to yourself and the other author for making these available.

puaykim said...

Hi Bhante,

Is your book on Borobudur available in Singapore? Thanks!