Handprints Displayed to Support Borobudur Preservation

Youth activists displayed more than 10,000 handprints at Borobudur in Magelang, Central Java, on Sunday, as part of a campaign to help preserve the temple. As many as 140 banners with the handprints were carried in a procession by the young activists around the temple ahead of Waisak Day (Buddha’s Day of Enlightenment) on Tuesday. Indonesia World Heritage Youth Network (IndoWYN) coordinator Lenny Hidayat said the handprints were collected by 16 university students in Jakarta, Medan, Bandung, Yogyakarta and Bogor between May 5 and 15.

“Young people should act as agents for change, otherwise they will become a part of the problem itself,” Lenny said.

He said younger generations in the country had been bombarded by a constant flow of foreign cultures and consumerism according to Suherdjoko and Hyginus Hardoyo.

“If this condition is left unattended, it is feared that the younger generations will become alienated from their own cultural base,” he said at a press conference attended by the Culture and
Tourism Ministry’s heritage director, Soeroso, and Unesco program specialist Himachuli Gurung.

The campaign aims to promote awareness of and to develop information of national heritage, Lenny said.

Lenny said he was concerned that people currently living near Borobudur Temple and younger generations were not well-informed about Borobudur.

Lenny, on behalf of the young activists, urged the government and the management of Borobudur to put more emphasis on the quality of visitors to the temple rather than the quantity.

The call was made to revive public participation in the preservation and management of the cultural heritage site, he said.

Ten Buddhist monks led a religious ritual to collect holy water from Jumprit spring in Temanggung, Central Java, on Sunday.
Attended by more than 100 Buddhists, the ritual is one of the various events commemorating Waisak Day.

Solechun Sangha Phala, who was in charge of getting the holy water, said that this year’s ritual was unique as more than 300 people from various religious backgrounds gathered to perform asceticism the night before.

The event commemorated Waisak Day and the 100th anniversary of National Awakening Day, he said.

“It was also held to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the awakening of Buddhists in Temanggung,” he said.

Siswanto and Suroso, two Buddhists from Conkrang, Temanggung, took part in Sunday’s ritual from early in the morning until the finish.

“We take part in this ritual every year,” Suroso said.

After the monks took the holy water in earthen jars, other Buddhists collected water from the same source using earthen and plastic jars.

After being blessed in front of the Buddha statue at Jumprit spring, the water was brought to Mendut Temple near Borobudur.