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Pyramid of the Cosmic Buddha

Borobudur was constructed during the eighth century as a guide to the Noble Path of the Buddha. Born from silence and unfolding into the serenity of the other shore, it expresses the glory of Indonesia's awareness and creat below

About This Book

Borobudur was constructed during the eighth century as a guide to the Noble Path of the Buddha. Born from silence and unfolding into the serenity of the other shore, it expresses the glory of Indonesia's awareness and creativity, the smile of her plastic forms over the centuries as well as her travels along the edge of thoughts that cross the endless corridors of memory.

Though the Western world rediscovered this magnificent structure almost 200 years ago, this sacred place nonetheless remains seated in its enigmatic depth, engulfed in vaporous illusions, waiting for someone to find the base simplicity of its Truth. This book is a catalyst and invites adventurous minds to find new directionJs by bringing into focus the vast universe of the Borobudur in order to cultivate the Way to weeding out error. The questions posed or solutions offered herein are like water and waves: different yet identical in essence. They stir discussion.

One of the special contributions of this book lies in its correlating the cyclical movements of the Sun and Moon with the numerical symbolism of Borobudur. The authors cite the magical effect of the Sun suddenly appearing out of the volcano Merapi and empowering the Borobudur-mountain with its radiant energy in poetic imagery. This magic moment of satori or enlightenment echoes the experiences of the unknown Shailendra monarch who had commissioned the monument's construction and the inspiration that made the architect envision this Buddhist wonder.

  • Foreword By : Lokesh Chandra
  • Binding: : Hardbound
  • 13 Digit ISBN : 9788124604038
  • 10 Digit ISBN : 8124604037
  • Edition : 1st edition
  • Year : 2008
  • Pages : xxiv, 327 p.
  • Size : 30
  • Weight (approx.) : 3250
  • Bibliographic Details : 2 folded mandalas; 8 architectural drawings; 163 coloured photographs; 20 B/w figures; Appendix; Glossary; Bibliography; Index


-- Lokesh Chandra


-- Mark Long and Lokesh Chandra

List of Illustrations 
List of Tables


1. Distant Beginnings

The EL Dorado of the Asian World
An Eclectic Approach to Cultural Borrowing
Early Inscriptional Evidence
The Javanese Kingdom of Taruma
A Cataclysmic Event
Java's Book of Ancient Kings 
A Devastating Impact
The Emergence of Shrivijaya 

2. The Rise and Fall of Java's "Classic Age" Civilization 

The Illustrious King Sanjaya 
Lord of the Mountain 
The Maharaja of Zabag 
An Ambitious Temple-Building Programme 
Candi Sewu, Lumbung and Bubrah 
The Abhayagiri Monastery 
Candi Plaosan, Sari and Sajiwan 
The Venuvana Monastery 
Candi Mendut, Ngawen, Pawon and Sajiwan 
The Shailendra Decline 
Kamulan I Bhumisambhara 
The Maharaja of the Land of Gold 
The Shailendra beyond Java's Shores 
A Calamity of Horrific Proportions 
Merapi during Pre-Historic Periods 
Other Hypotheses for the Migration to East Java 
The Vartanyan Theory 

3. A Buddhist Foundation 

The One Thus Come 
Challenging the Hindu World-view 
Enduring Symbols of the Buddha's Continuing Presence 
The Elder School 
The Greater Vehicle 
The Development of Mahayana Buddhism 
Tantric Buddhism 
An Initiation into the Mandala


4. The Magic of Location 

In Harmony with the Local Surroundings 
The Descent of the Cosmic River 
Local Legends and Indigenous Practices 
The Axis of the Universe 
The Mount Merapi Sunrise 
King, Kraton, Kingdom and Cosmos 
Candi Pawon and Candi Mendut 
The Lotus Throne on the Lake 
The Search in Borobudur's Vicinity 
In Search of the Shailendra Kraton

5. An Approach from the East

The Bas-Reliefs on the Monument's "Hidden Foot" 
Ascending the Eastern Staircase 
Entering the Bas-Relief Galleries 
The Jatakamala 
Jataka and Avadanas 
The Lalitavisara-sutra 
The Gandavyuha 
The Bhadracari 
Borobudur's Jina Images 
The 72 Jinas at the Summit 
At the Apex of the Pyramid 
The Name Borobudur 

6. Building and Restoration Activities 

The Ground Plan 
Phases of Construction 
Bringing the Temple to Life 
Ancient Building Techniques 
Modern Restoration Ethics and Techniques 
Conservation Efforts at Borobudur 
The Never-Ending Battle


7. The Residence of the Divinity 

Borobudur's Foot, Body and Head 
Like Demi-Gods Rushing Along the Ways of the Firmament
Borobudur and the Structure of the Vedic Fire Altar 
The First Layer of the Fire Altar 
The Second Layer 
The Third Layer 
The Fourth Layer 
The Fifth Layer 
The Covering Layers of Soil 
The Shailendra Cakravartin 
Rites of Kingship 
The Vastupurusha Mandala at the Summit 
On the Road to Kushinagara 

8. Numerical, Astronomical and Dimensional Symbolism  

The Numerical Symbolism of the Jina Images 
A "Day" of the Gods on Mount Meru 
Temporal Symbolism on the Lower Levels 
Solar Symbolism in the Lalitavistara Reliefs 
The Numerical Symbolism of the Summit 
A Time without Shadows
The Legend of King "Mountain Stone" 
Mirroring the Celestial Realm 
Dimensional Symbolism 

9. Candi Mendut 

The Images Inside the Main Cella 
The Vestibule Reliefs 
The Bas-Reliefs on the Cella Partition Walls 
The Footer Reliefs of the 2nd Ambulatory Path 
The Bas-Reliefs on the Staircase Wings 
The Ground-Level Ambulatory Path 
A Rooftop Mandala? 
A Lighthouse of Buddhism 


10. The Ghost in the Machine

The Matrix and the Diamond World Mandalas 
Eight Great Objections
The Resemblance is Overly Superficial and Vague
The Lack of Numerical Conformity 
Borobudur Uniquely Portrays Six Jina Types
The Unexplained Presence of Narrative Bas-Reliefs
The Lack of Symbols that are Specifically Tantric
The Jina Images are too Physically Remote 
The Absence of Evidence Pointing to an Esoteric Ritual Intent 
The Absence of Image Diversity 
A Sinhalese Connection? 
A Javanese Master of the Garbhadatu Mandala 
The Influence of Nalanda 

11. The Unfolding of Divinity 

Pacing the Void 
The Stages of the "Revelation-Enlightenment" 
The Akanishtha Heaven at Borobudur 
The Awakening of the Complete, Manifest Buddha 
The Production of a Four-Faced Vairocana at Borobudur?
The Tathagata's Three Mystery Bodies 
Suggestions for Further Research


Appendix A: Architectural Drawings
Appendix B: Glossary 
Appendix C: Bibliography 

Terms Index

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