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Borobudur

Pyramid of the Cosmic Buddha by: Caesar Voute

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ISBN: 9788124604038
Year Of Publication: 2008
Edition: 1st Edition
Pages : xxiv, 327 p.
Bibliographic Details : 2 folded mandalas; 8 architectural drawings; 163 coloured photographs; 20 B/w figures; Appendix; Glossary; Bibliography; Index
Language : English
Binding : Hardcover
Publisher: D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Size: 30
Weight: 3250

Overview

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.

Contents

Foreword      

Lokesh Chandra

Preface          

Mark Long and Lokesh Chandra

Acknowledgement   

List of Illustrations  

List of Tables

Introduction

Part  I :  HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENTS

  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

  1. 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

  1. 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

Part II: BOROBUDUR AND ITS ENVIRONS

  1. 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

  1. 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

  1. 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

Part III:  AN ARCHITECTURAL REAPPRAISAL

  1. 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

  1. 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

  1. 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

Part IV:  DECODING THE MESSAGE

  1. 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

  1. 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

Appendices

Appendix A: Architectural Drawings

Appendix B: Glossary

Appendix C: Bibliography

Terms Index

Meet the Author
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Dr Caesar Voute -- Professor Emeritus of the International Institute for Aerospace Surveys and Earth Sciences in The Netherlands -- is a specialist in the fields of hydrogeology and engineering geology. Dr Voute joined Dr Bernard Groslier -- the director of the Conservation and Restoration works at Angkor Wat -- on a UNESCO-sponsored expert mission conducted in 1968 to study the conservation and restoration problems at Borobudur. Born in the city of Magelang nearby, the Dutch geologist had literally grown up in Borobudur’s general vicinity. From 1971 until 1975, Dr Voute served as the resident UNESCO/UNDP coordinator for the Borobudur Reconstruction Project.
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